Sweepaholics learn to look for contests and sweepstakes everywhere and at any time. It's like a sweepstakes switch that goes off in our brain and we develop hawk eyes. If you're a new sweeper, here are some tips to develop this habit and increase your chances of winning.
Keep your eyes open on shopping trips no matter where you go. Entry forms for product-related sweeps may be postcard size or placed prominently next to the item. The stores themselves may have contests. The grocery store I frequent recently held drawings for $50 gift cards. A greeter at the front of the store asked shoppers to fill out entries right there. Be sure to check weekly fliers. All that mail you consider junk may have an opportunity for a local contest. If you miss in-store promotions, check the products you bought when you get home. Cereal boxes are notorious for having contests or other offers somewhere on the box including those that require UPC codes found on product packaging.
The recreational activities and other hobbies of everyone in your household are another source for sweeps. Do you have a sports fans in the family? I recently found an ongoing giveaway for hockey training gear for kids. I thought of looking for hockey contests after buying a gift for sports fan.
Making lists helps you keep track of seasonal sweeps. Remember that in the case of sports sweeps and depending on the prize, they may end months before the season begins. For instance, if the grand prize is opening day tickets, then the sweepstakes may start several months before the season begins and end a few weeks before. Lists for every member of your family may seem obsessive but the avid sweeper knows the importance of being organized.
With timing in mind when you make your lists for things like sports and hobbies, you may want to also note important dates throughout the season. For hobbies like arts, crafts and outdoor activities, list not only the places you shop for supplies but all of the top suppliers you can think of nationwide. They may have ongoing sweeps but also holiday themed contests.
Instead of straight lists, you might prefer to start with a simple brainstorming technique. Draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper. In the circle place the name of a person in your family (or your name). Draw five or more lines extending from the circle and write a different hobby or like on each line (i.e. cats, knitting, yoga, fishing, camping). Draw more lines extending from each line and list companies to check online or in person for giveaways. This technique is called a mind map which helps you quickly jot down information that you want to organize more formally later.
This may seem like a tedious task at first but you'll get to the point where it becomes second nature. Once you get a system down, you'll know automatically when to look for certain giveaways. If you feel like you're taking it too seriously, relax and take a break from sweeping and go back when you have a clear head. If you aren't interested in local giveaways, you can also just rely solely on sites like Sweepstakes Advantage to keep you up on the latest sweeps. Good luck!