I am on a mission to minimize our Christmas spending so more of our cash can go for debt repayment.  My first strategy is to use Swagbucks to win free gift cards.  Entering sweepstakes and giveaways is my next strategy.  Here is why:

There are many hobbies out there that have the potential to make you money such as writing and painting, for example.  Around the blogosphere, one hobby that many mom bloggers talk about is entering giveaways or sweepstakes.  Yet, is it worth the time?  Does anyone ever really win big?

Discipline and Commitment Lead to More Frequent Wins

Anna, the blogger behind Real Ways to Make Money Online, enters sweepstakes as a hobby.  She spends about two to three hours a week entering sweepstakes.  In return, she averages about $2,000 a year in winnings.  More recently, she won a giveaway from Anderson Cooper for Carrie Ann Inaba’s favorite things including makeup and candles.  One of her biggest wins was for $500 worth of Xbox 360 games.  She has also won several prizes in the $100 to $200 range.

Anna says of her interest in entering sweepstakes for a hobby, “I spend time on it because I know that if I don’t enter, there is no way to win at all.  Also, winning (when it does happen) is such a thrill and keeps me motivated to continue.  When I am spending time entering regularly, I usually manage to win a few small prizes each week.  And who knows, one of these days I may just win a really huge prize that could make a big difference in my life.”

One Lucky Entry Is Sometimes All It Takes

Jon, the blogger behind Free Money Wisdom and his fiancée (now wife), Hannah, didn’t enter sweepstakes.  However, when planning for their wedding, they saw a sweepstakes on the wedding site, The Knot, for an all inclusive 6 night stay in Puerta Vallarta and decided to enter.  Out of 6,000 entries, they were the lucky winners.  Not only did they have a gorgeous, free honeymoon, but they saved the $5,000 they were planning to spend on their honeymoon.

Not Everyone Is a Winner

Many people begin entering sweepstakes to win big, then when they don’t win, they quit, usually within a few weeks.  The important thing to remember is that there is usually no instant gratification in entering sweepstakes.  You sometimes must wait weeks to find out if you are the winner.

Anna encourages people to enter sweepstakes regularly because the more sweepstakes you enter, the more you increase your odds of winning.  However, she also emphasizes that it is important not to think of this as a “job” or you will burn out quickly.

How To Begin Entering Sweepstakes

By now, you may think you would like to try your hand at entering sweepstakes.  If so, the best place to go is Online Sweepstakes.  This site has been around since 1997, and they list many major giveaways from corporations as well as smaller giveaways from bloggers.  You can even search for specific products you would like to win.  Have a passion for Starbuck’s but don’t want to spend the money there?  Right now there are 8 Starbuck’s gift card giveaways listed on Online Sweepstakes.  You can also keep track of the giveaways you have already entered through the site.

If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of entering sweepstakes, Anna has an 8 part series explaining everything you need to know from how to organize your sweepstake entries, to your tax obligations on winning, to where to find the best giveaways.

You may not make a million dollars entering giveaways, but if normally do in the evening is watch a few television shows, perhaps try turning off the t.v. and entering a few sweepstakes.  You just might win, which is more than you will do watching television.

I am hoping to win at least a few prizes before Christmas.  I’ll keep you posted.

Have you entered sweepstakes before?  Did you ever win a big prize?

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