10 ways to win with sweepstakes

Make the most of every entry and increase your odds of actually winning with these tips from the pros

Woman with money
  1. Set up a separate e-mail account Avoid filling your personal inbox with spam by opening a free account from Google (gmail.com), Yahoo (mail.yahoo.com) or AOL (webmail.aol.com).
  2. Use a sweepstakes aggregator Enter sweepstakes every day, even if you spend just five minutes doing so while you enjoy your morning coffee or tea. Start with sweepsgoat.com, prizey.net or winprizesonline.com.
  3. Prioritize Select contests with greater odds of winning, such as sweepstakes that feature multiple prizes (some have tens of thousands), are about to expire or restrict entrants (by age or location, for example). You can also create a Google alert for “second-chance drawing.”
  4. Invest a little time Most sweeps ask for only basic contact information to enter, so the more complicated the form, the fewer the participants. If you have to play a game, write an essay or provide a photo for your submission to be valid, the extra time might be worth the better odds.
  5. Optimize your chances Bookmark links to sweepstakes you are permitted to enter multiple times, noting the end date in the bookmark’s name. Then simply click on the links each day until the deadline to increase your likelihood of winning.
  6. Socialize “Like” your favorite brands on Facebook to hear about contests. Also, search for “win” or “sweepstakes” and the current month to find contests on Twitter.
  7. Be picky U.S. residents must pay taxes on winnings, so don’t enter unless you really want the prize.
  8. Think local Visit the website of your area newspaper and radio stations. Sweepstakes that aren’t advertised nationally are easier to win.
  9. Streamline the process Download an auto-fill program such as the ones at roboform.com and lastpass.com to complete entries quickly and accurately.
  10. Be ready to win Don’t forget to claim your prize! Check your sweepstakes e-mail account regularly, answer your phone (even when you don’t recognize the number) and open all mail.