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McD Monopoly Game: Mail-In vs. Hash Browns Epic Challenge

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Hash Brown Challenge

Every year we write about how to win McDonald’s Monopoly Game, and we always reach the conclusion that the cheapest ways to play and get the most game stamps is by mailing in self-addressed stamped envelopes (SASE) or ordering the cheapest menu item: hashbrowns. So this year we thought we’d have a fun challenge to see which option nets the best prizes and best value for the money.

Last year, Brandon hand wrote 100 self-addressed stamped envelopes (so that’s two hundred envelopes for those of you keeping score at home) and mailed them into the McDonald’s Monopoly game. He documented the entire process in three posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). It was a fun little experiment, though Brandon couldn’t write for another two weeks, and we thought we’d up the stakes a little bit.

Brandon’s Challenge

This year, Brandon will be mailing in five hundred(!) self-addressed stamped envelopes. That’s a thousand addressed envelopes. That’s $460 on just postage alone. It’s a pretty big time and money investment from us but that’s all part of the fun. We couldn’t have just another hundred, that’s twenty-twelve thinking right there. I’m not sure what we’ll do with the 1000 game pieces, each of which will have two stamps (2000 total), but we’ll chronicle it here.

As you can see, Brandon is quite ecstatic about it…

Jim’s Challenge

I will also be buying two hundred hash browns. That’ll net another 200 game pieces, or 400 stamps. We considered buying 500 hash browns but, honestly, we nixed it on the grounds that it becomes ridiculously wasteful (and kind of gross).

If you’re curious as to what 200 greasy hashbrowns looks like, here ya go:
200 Hash Browns

It smells worse than it looks.

Overall, here’s what we plan to spend and what we plan to receive from our antics:


  • 1000 envelopes: $50 (plus tax)
  • Stamps: $460 (plus tax)
  • Dignity: 0
  • Total Cost: $510
  • Total expected amount of game stamps: 2000
  • Cost/game stamp: $.26


  • 200 hashbrowns: $200 (plus tax)
  • Sense of smell: Gone
  • Total cost: $200
  • Total expected amount of game stamps: 400
  • Cost/game stamp: $.50

While Brandon’s challenge costs much more, he actually has a much lower cost per stamp than me, which kinda evens things out (not really).

This idea started with a discussion we had about how good could the mail in pieces be? There’s no way McDonald’s would mail someone a winning Boardwalk piece and based on last year’s result, we didn’t get a single rare piece (which isn’t itself surprising because the rare pieces are really really rare). With even more mail in stamps (2000!) we hope to get a sniff of something rare!

Brandon’s spending more money, but I’m getting significantly less pieces. We’ll document every stamp we get and calculate a “return on investment” and time. You get the benefit from our ridiculousness.

Who do you think will win the challenge?

Follow both Jim and Brandon on Twitter for more updates.

Here’s !

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “McD Monopoly Game: Mail-In vs. Hash Browns Epic Challenge”

  1. Martha says:

    I can’t wait to see if you win anything!

  2. NateUVM says:

    While you can extrapolate anything you like here, a real test would be to spend as much on hash browns as you did on the mailing ($510), wasted hash browns, be darned.

    I mean, has anyone tried freezing and re-heating those puppies? Could be good for another article…

  3. Michael says:

    Love the picture at the top. 🙂

    To build on Nate’s suggestion, you should spend the same amount on hash browns as you did on mailing, but then… Wait for it… Here it comes… Turn around and sell the hash browns and reinvest the proceeds. Iterate to completion, or at least until you get arrested — for selling hash browns on the black market, of course.

  4. Matt says:

    Pathetic waste of time money and effort. Nothing more than playing the lottery.

    See if you can buy them frozen and the wrappers for your little experiment and donate the frozen food to a food bank.

    At least your efforts are not going to waste.

  5. NateUVM says:

    @ Matt – That’s actually a great idea, as long as the food bank takes them…

  6. rachel says:

    You know if you go to a us post office you can buy stamped envelopes. They cost less than 1 $.

  7. rachel says:

    I bought one not too long ago. I can’t remember exactly how much it cost but I think it was like 59 cents. That would save you over 200 $

  8. Brandon says:

    @ Rachel,

    They must be hand-stamped. McD is super specific in their terms.

  9. Dawnster says:

    So what was the result?

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