Remember the Publisher’s Clearing House commercials? A van pulls up to a modest home, people get out, ring the bell and hand the surprised home owner a huge check and shower her with balloons. It seems too good to be true, but the premise is that you, too, could enter and one day be a millionaire.
With the popularity of blogging and the Internet, there are now many giveaways and sweepstakes for any item you can imagine. The prizes might not be worth a million dollars, but they could earn you a nice amount of cash or an expensive item that you could sell.
If you are wondering if entering giveaways is worth your time, consider the story of Jon, the blogger behind Free Money Wisdom. He and his fiancée (now wife) won a 5 night, all expenses paid honeymoon to Puerta Vallarta, thanks to a sweepstakes they entered at the wedding site, The Knot. They were one of six thousand entries!
How to Make Money with Giveaways
Since winning a giveaway is a matter of chance, think of entering giveaways as a hobby. If you normally sit down at night to watch 30 minutes of television to relax, maybe spend that time entering giveaways and sweepstakes instead. It is important not to get obsessed with entering giveaways, or you could burn out quickly.
Where to Look If You Want to Enter Giveaways
There are plenty of places to enter giveaways. Many bloggers now offer giveaways to grow their readership, so there are many opportunities.
Search Online Sweepstakes. The best place to look, in my opinion, is Online Sweepstakes . There you will find giveaways from bloggers and corporations. Online Sweepstakes has been around since 1997, and they offer plenty of ways for people to find giveaways. You can look by the number of entries you are allowed, the ones that are ending soonest, the type of prize, or new sweepstakes. I love Starbucks, but I hate to pay for it, so I always look for those entries. Right now, there are 9 Starbucks gift card giveaways listed on Online Sweepstakes.
Search giveaway memes. Many bloggers list their giveaways on other bloggers’ sites. Find the sites that host giveaway links and enter. My favorite resource for this is SavingsLifestyle.com . They have a list of 15 to 30 blogs per day that host giveaway memes. Some sites have over 300 giveaways listed! However, be forewarned that this list is not as up to date as I would like and some of the blogs listed no longer host giveaway linkies.
Search low entry giveaways. Tightwad in Utah  keeps a running list of low entry giveaways that are expiring soon. The idea is that because less than 200 people have entered, you have a greater chance of winning. Since July, 2010 when she began keeping the list, over 700 people have notified her that they have won the prizes listed.
Be on the look out for giveaways. As you enter more giveaways, you will find that they are advertised everywhere—on your favorite website, at the grocery store, on the blogs you read. If you find an interesting one, enter it.
Keeping Track of Giveaways
Create a separate e-mail account. You could potential be bombarded with advertisements once you enter a giveaway, so create a separate e-mail just for your giveaway entries. This also helps to avoid losing a notification e-mail that lets you know you are the winner. Remember that giveaways often have a tight turnaround time; you may need to respond within 72 hours or forfeit your prize, so try to check this e-mail daily.
Keep track of what you enter. I only enter a handful of giveaways a day, so I just keep a simple list with the link to the giveaway and the day it ends. I do go back to the links because a few bloggers never e-mail the winners; they just assume you will check the giveaway announcement to see if you are the winner.
If this process sounds too time consuming, Online Sweepstakes has a simple way for you to track the giveaways you enter through the site. I have just recently started doing this, too.
Only enter those giveaways you truly want to win. If you enter for everything and anything, you won’t be as excited when you win, it will be more time consuming, and you will potentially clutter your house, especially if you can’t sell the items. After researching this post, I have begun entering giveaways myself, but I usually just focus on those with kids’ toys and clothes as prizes or those offering Pay Pal cash or gift cards.
Have you tried entering giveaways on a regular basis? If so, what have you won?