How To Win The Prizes You Want

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A few tips on getting the prizes you really, really want

Entering sweepstakes online is a pastime full of excitement, and some people are happy to win anything at all. If that sounds like you, read on. Entering for anything and everything isn’t a particularly good idea.

Entering for anything and everything is a common newbie error that almost everybody makes, including me. When I first began entering contests, I would get all kinds of surprise wins in the mail. It was exciting to receive a new and unexpected gift, but ultimately disappointing when the package contained something I didn’t want. I still tend to use a few not-nice words when this happens, and give the unwanted prizes away.

Sometimes you win, more often you don’t. If you’re new at this, winning things you don’t want can be most frustrating of all, a fact that you’ll learn about once you’ve been in the game for a while. Because winning stuff you don’t want is inevitable for a sweepstaker, especially for somebody who enters a lot of instant win sweepstakes, this column is meant to help guide you to not make it worse.

If you’re entering instant win sweepstakes, you already know that there are usually many prizes you can win in many prize levels. If you want at the game, you can’t control what prize you get. You may be playing for a second prize you want, but you win a fourth prize you don’t. Occasionally, you may be playing to win the smaller prizes, and wind up winning a grand prize you don’t want.

Weird, but this happens more often than you may believe. A perfect alignment of luck and strategy can get you exactly the prizes you want to win if you control what you enter for.

You could eliminate most of your unloved prizes by not playing instant win sweepstakes, but nobody’s about to do that. Yet there are ways to cut down on the wins you don’t want and make sweepstaking a more fun and useful hobby by being more sensible and ethical about what you choose to enter for.

First and foremost, if you see a prize begin given away that you’re sure you don’t want, don’t need, and don’t use — don’t enter for it. A lot of people enter for prizes they can give away or even sell. I am not going to judge the many sweepstaker/merchants out there, because I have sold prizes myself.

But do you really need to win the NASCAR trip giveaway if you’re a retired mom into knitting? Do you need to win another DVD player even though you have four of them? As time-sucking as this hobby is, entering to win prizes you don’t want makes it even worse, and could result in burnout over time. It’s just a useless thing to do when there are so many wonderful prizes out there that you can enter for and really use.

A really smart new sweeper will pass on entering for stuff that’s not for them, and be more successful in the long term.

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