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What with all the daily deal websites now live, a lot more attention is being brought upon coupon websites thanks to such shows as TLC’s Extreme Couponing.  There are definitely many, many ways to save money out there!  This hasn’t appeared too much in mainstream media yet but it definitely will… as it is just an extension of couponing and daily deals.  What the heck am I talking about, you ask?  I’m talking about contest websites.  You just enter in a contest and run the chance to win a great prize.  No need to buy anything!

I had a period of time where I was ADDICTED to entering contests.  I think I entered contests for about 30 minutes to 1 hour each day.  I even downloaded a toolbar where I could automatically enter my information (instead of typing out my name, address, phone, email etc.) with a click of a button.. I think it was called roboform.  I would go on the Red Flag Deals forums and enter the contests users on the forums post.  I didn’t enter the daily contests because I knew that the chances of me winning one of those was slim to none.  I did enter the “one time only entry” contests.  I’m not sure where the thrill was, I think it was knowing that there stood a chance for me to win something by paying nothing.  Except for spending my time….

After a few months of this addiction (yes, I have an addictive sort of personality), I didn’t win anything.  At the peak of my contest entering addiction, I even called into the local television station when they announced giveaways, but I never got through the phone line.  My friend (who shares the same interests as me, including admitting to entering contests overzealously a few years ago) actually was lucky enough to win something.  She won a getaway spa package for two to Toronto.  She got flown to Toronto, got to stay in a four star hotel, and got to have three days of spa time… for free.  Now that’s what I call BLISS… especially since it was FREE.

Back then (again at the peak of my contest entering addiction), my favourite Canadian contest website is Wannawin , which features both daily and weekly free contests .  Wannawin’s contests are simple: register, play and win.  All new prizes as well as winners are announced through Wannawin’s newsletter as well as on the website, which shows accountability.  I often wonder if the contests I enter have real “winners” since they never announce who wins…however, this website does which puts my little-contest-entering-heart at ease.

Wannawin has actually been on the market for about 10 years and has gained a very strong following.  They are apparently the largest contest entering website in Canada.  They showcase the traditional prizes, such as electronics and travel, but they also offer many gift cards. I find these to be the most interesting prizes as you can choose exactly what you want from the store. This is especially important for stores like clothes retailers.

I recently had a look again (haha, a relapse into my addiction?) and found out something very exciting about Wannawin.  That there’s going to be a new way soon to get those gift cards other than the contests. Wannawin will soon give you points every time you click on an email, participate in a contest or survey as well as send an invitation to a friend. Very soon, a boutique will be created within the site where you can exchange the points for gift cards.  What does this mean?  This means that it doubles the chance of winning because participation in contests fuels the points.  Can you say free gift cards?!

Readers, have you ever entered contests?  Better yet, have you ever entered contests and actually won?  What was your best prize?

Article comments

sumana says:

I was lucky last year….
One a Tiffany’s bracelet at Yorkdale (draw)
Then a photo contest from the Disney Store (100gift card)
Then a custom designed Lemonade Stand and TONS of toys from Breakfast Television for my kids – the best prize was having my kids on the show though!

I’m trying to stick to contest that require me to earn the prize…it’s a lot more rewarding to know you’ve earned it…but I’ll take freebies anytime!

young says:

@sumara- OMG I’m so jealous- a Tiffany’s bracelet!? I used to try calling Breakfast television all the time to win stuff but never got through- line was always busy. Congrats on all the good swag you got!

voucher codes uk
Wow, what a read! I must show your site to my sister…

I like this approach, it is like buying lottery tickets without having to spend the money. Chances are you end up empty handed, but also there is a chance where something great can fall into your hands. Your friend that made out with the spa weekend in Toronto seemed to have luck on their side! Personally, I have not won anything really, but then again, I haven’t entered too many contests. Thanks for sharing though, something to keep in mind down the road!

young says:

@OneCentsibleGuy- down the road if you have enough time on your hands to enter contests 😉 Yeah that’s true, it’s akin to gambling but without the “risk”. Just time spent, I suppose.

Bekki says:

Trying to reply to your comment but I don’t know if it’ll work.

I entered my Torch contest on twitter. I saw a trending topic and wondered what it was about — contest from Rogeres!

young says:

@Bekki- oh my goodness, that is awesome! maybe I need to start following rogers on twitter too 😉

Squirrelers says:

I’ve won a few very minor things, nothing comes to mind that’s too impressive as of now.

There are big time contest enterers out there. I had a large number of entrants to a giveaway I had last year, and I think many of them came from a sweepstakes site that picked up on my contest. Not sure how many of them cared about personal finance, but it was nice to get the traffic and get tons of entries into the contest. And hey, maybe a few new regular readers too!

young says:

@Squirrelers- Did you notice if the regular readers stayed? I sometimes wonder whether I should submit my giveaways on my blog on contest websites, but then I think that it may detract from regular readers because there will be more submissions.

Bekki says:

I’ve won a few things. Most recently, I won my phone: Blackberry Torch. I only found out about the contest 20 minutes before it closed, and 30 minutes later I won!!!

young says:

@Bekki- How did you win your phone? That’s a great prize!

Lindy Mint says:

I once went on an iPad contest entry spree (found the contests through Prizey.net). I got to answer all sorts of fun questions on blogs, but sadly, no iPad ever materialized for me.

Sometimes I’ll fill out the online survey requests I get at the bottom of Target or Home Depot receipts to try and win $500 gift cards. There’s always the hope of someday!

young says:

@Lindy Mint- I do those ones too! It’s nice to give feedback on service, and if you win $500, then that’s even better!

Yes, I won an ipad and an ipod touch.

young says:

@Super Frugalette- How? That’s amazing! I would love to win an iPad.

Whoa, Super Frugalette won some nice prizes!
I only entered blog give aways lately and I won around $20 Amazon gift cards for the last 3 months. 😉
These go straight to the diaper fund.

young says:

@retirebyforty- I won some books from blog giveaways. I think the odds for blog giveaways are pretty good 🙂 I didn’t know you can buy diapers on Amazon?

bluesauger says:

I’ve never really gotten into extreme contest entering or contest entering at all mostly because of the privacy issue and I’m the kind of person whose could very well be taken over by it.

young says:

@bluesauger- Yeah, that’s a good point. After a few years, i’m STILL paying for the spam emails I get in my inbox from entering contests.

leslie says:

I get too nervous about giving my information away like that!

young says:

@leslie- Yeah, I guess because you never know when they will use it right? Or when they will call you, spam you, or mail you…!

I watched a documentary on CBC a year or so ago about people who do this. One guy had won like 6 TVs. He stored them all in his garage, which I thought was pretty stupid. Why keep entering TV draws if you already had two?

I remember the big tip was to enter store contests. If you enter 200 times out of 2000 total entries, you’re bound to win sooner or later.

I just can’t remember the name of the documentary though. I’m sure you could find it with the aid of Google.

young says:

@Financial Uproar- That is pretty stupid! Is that like a combined hoarding/addiction/contest entering trait? Maybe they should make a new reality TV show on it- hoarding contest wins and “the day in the life of a contest ‘enterer’ “. I would have sold those TV’s on craigslist if I were lucky enough to be a winner of 6!

Store contests eh? Good to know! I usually do enter those without any hesitation, but never get contacted as the winner. Sounds like a cool documentary!

101 Centavos says:

I had a great-aunt that had spectacular luck with entering and winning mail-order contests — microwaves, vacations, books, gift certificates. No doubt if she were alive today she’d be in the thick of it with online contests.

young says:

@101 Centavos- Vacations! Awwe she sounds like a cool aunt! I’ve decided that’s what I’ll do when I retire on day. Enter contests all day 😉

Enjoyed your post. I’m always on the lookout for children’s contests (like Lego building, essay writing, etc.) for my 8 year old to enter. I find they are a great way to get kids to develop/practise their writing etc skills. He gets excited about the prize and has more motivation than usual.

young says:

@Larry Macdonald- I’m very glad you enjoyed my post, Larry! Means a lot to me coming from a well respected writer like you. I do like the childrens contests too for all the same reasons you have mentioned.

SavingMentor says:

The only thing I’ve really won from entering contests was a bread maker back when I was a teenager for entering a contest at a local convenience store. I can’t even win blog contests when I enter them and the odds of winning are over 10% 🙂

Some people are really impressive with their contest wins though. Sad to hear that you spent all that time and never won much of anything!

young says:

@SavingMentor- blog contests are so easy to win!! I think I’ve won two books so far. I haven’t won any gift cards yet. I guess we have similar luck when it comes to contest entering. I just entered another contest today for a Pressure Washer on the local TV channel haha, maybe blogging about winning contests will give me more luck??

MJ says:

I’ve won raffles, but never online contests.
I remember reading in the Toronto Star some years ago about a woman who lived (decently) off of winning contests. That was probably before captcha, but even today I suspect there are still lots of people enteringmany more times than I ever would. So I don’t really participate any more.
Also, you are giving personal information to the website holding the contest, you have to consider the privacy tradeoffs.

young says:

@MJ- That’s one of the reasons I don’t enter anymore, because I’m pretty sure those who are dedicated and serious about entering contests will probably have 10 email accounts they can use to enter the contests and I can’t compete with that.

Melissa says:

I have NEVER won anything from entering an online contest. I don’t really bother with them, because my track record is so bad. I do often enter blog giveaway type contests, though, because the prizes are usually really cool and I figure the odds are more in my favour than something hundreds of thousands of people will be entering.

I did, as a kid, have a lot of luck with mail-in contests, though! The kind where you’d save up three UPC codes and mail in an entry. I won a bunch of small stuff, and once even won a $200 gift certificate to HMV. I am also awesome at raffles. Many people try to tell me that it’s impossible to be “good” at raffles, but they can tell that to the massive pile of loot I have won from raffles!

young says:

@Melissa- Wow, a $200 GC to HMV! That’s awesome. That’s something you would never forget as a kid! Especially when CD’s were all the rage back then and we didn’t have iTunes. I wish I was good at raffles- I’m not good at them 😉 Have you won anything from blog giveaway contests?

No Debt MBA says:

I’ve never won anything. Ever. So I’ve never been tempted to spend my time entering contests. I can understand the appeal of getting something for nothing (time aside) though.

young says:

@No Debt MBA- Yeah, sometimes i think, if its meant to be, its meant to be, so I wouldn’t bother entering a contest multiple times (well that’s against the rules anyways). I’m glad I don’t waste my time entering contests, that would detract even more from my blogging time!