Guest Author - Sandy Lovern
Can you believe all of the sweepstakes out there? Do you often wonder how you passed them by for so many years? But now that you are aware of them, you have to make some decisions. I bet you are salivating as you scan over page after page of prizes. You are developing a tic in your eye as you rapidly enter contests, one after another on the web. “I want,” “I need,” “I can just see it.” Sound familiar? Well, calm down a little.
Yes, it is all possible, but it is not probable that you will win every contest you see. Let’s not forget that all-important thing called, your budget. When you are starting out, you may have to go to the clearance racks of the sweeps. What I mean by that is, you have to be very selective. Every entry you send in is going to cost you something, whether that be your time invested on the web or money for postage, so you need to assess which sweeps will give you the most bang for your bucks. Now, how do you determine that?
One way to evaluate how many entries to send in, is to ask yourself, if the prizes were available through a raffle ticket, how many would I buy? Let’s say the prize is a vehicle. If you would normally buy a $5 raffle ticket for a car, then that is about 11 stamps, or $4.62. Depending on the length of the contest, the exposure, etc. you could probably send in 11 entries.
Now all logic goes out of the window when you see a prize you really want, and that’s the fun of sweeping. I have sent in as many as 100 entries to a contest and as little as one. Many people have a “magic number” they use for sweeps. I will usually send in seven entries for my husband, three for myself, and two for each of my children. My husband gets more sent in under his name for only one reason- the wins seem to be coming in his name, so I go with the flow. That strategy will probably change within the next few months. I am always trying new techniques, new ideas and new theories. Always remember this is a hobby. When you lose your excitement and it is no longer fun, you need to take a break.
Now that you are flying high, dreaming and scheming, it’s time to bring you back down to earth. When you win, and you will if you are persistent, patient and committed, you need to prepare to share your winnings with the IRS. You will get a 1099 from the IRS for some prizes Always keep a running list of all your wins so you will have it when you file your income tax return. This is also a consideration when you are entering sweeps that have a high ARV, “actual retail value.” If you can’t afford to pay the taxes on the prize, then it probably is not a good idea for you to attempt to win that prize. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Well, enough of reality, let’s get back to sweeping!
I want to hear from you. Do you have some creative ideas for sweeping? Share your thoughts on the Contests and Sweepstakes forum.
Get the inside scoop on how people are winning all of those sweepstakes and contests, and here´s a clue, it´s not all luck! Sweepstakes Your Guide to Winning! will give you step-by-step instructions on how to be a winner. To learn more, go to Sweepstakes Your Guide to Winning!
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Sandy Lovern; and Sweepstakes Success