Budgeting for the Frugal Sweepstaker
Pennies add up. Use the correct postage for your envelope and postcard entries to save money. For instance, you need one first class stamp to mail a #10 envelope that weighs 1 ounce. The second ounce only costs 20 cents more so if for some reason your entry weighs 2 ounces, it's good to have some 20-cent stamps on hand instead of using two first class stamps. The USPS also sells Forever Stamps which can be used even when the rates go up. Buying envelopes, card stock and 3 x 5 cards in bulk will help you save money too.
One way to save cash is to make your own postcards out of card stock as many sponsors ask for specific card sizes. Until you become an avid sweepstaker, a pencil, ruler and pair of scissors will be fine for the task. Later on if you increase your activity in this hobby, then a paper cutter is a good investment. Those on the low end are relatively inexpensive—generally under $20. A higher end paper cutter is more expensive, but you can use it to make your own greeting cards and holiday ornaments as well as school projects so it will serve double duty to get your money's worth.
Accounting ledger books or spreadsheets can be used to keep an inventory of all your supplies unless you're already very organized. It can be easier to retrieve info this way rather than rifle through your supplies to see what needs updating.
Try your best to stick to a monthly budget and set a cap on how much postage you want to use. Subscribers to sweepstakes newsletters will learn of some ongoing sweeps they want to enter possibly for weeks or months to come. It's helpful to keep track of those in your ledger or spreadsheet to stay within your postage budget. A simple title such as "upcoming sweeps" would suffice. That way you can tally the postage that you'll be cutting into for each respective month. There will be times you go over budget, but like any diet, just get back on the wagon as soon as possible.
Learn more about what supplies you need with Mail-In Entry Supply Basics. Sweepstaking can be fun and frugal at the same time. As always, good luck.
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