7 tips to successfully winning competitions and prizes

7 tips to successfully winning competitions and prizes

I’ve always been a sucker for entering competitions, even as a child. At the time of writing, I have won over $35,000 in prizes.

Recently I won a West Elm arm chair worth $899. It was based on creativity so I wrote a poem about coffee (7 verses. I really like the stuff 😂).

A few years ago I won an OzPig in a caravanning tv show competition. There were about 25 prizes drawn out and I was so excited. However, they never contacted me about my prize and I was unable to contact them. It was a legit competition (as far as I know) and a real tv show but for some reason, they didn’t give me my prize. I contacted OzPig directly and they were fabulous. They weren’t sure what happened but immediately arranged for me to be sent one, and they even threw in hundreds of dollars of accessories. It was amazingly generous and I’m so grateful.

A few years back I was scrolling through Facebook and saw one for the Adelaide Crows. It was 25 words or less about what Claude the Crow would pack in his suitcase.

I wrote:

There once was a mascot called Claude,

a plane he was about to board,

he decided to pack

lozenges and snacks,

to cheer on the Crows as they scored!

Controversially it was 29 words. I spent ages making sure there was the correct amount of syllables for each line of the Limerick and forgot to go back and count the words. Miraculously I still won (mainly because there was only 150 entries).

The next stage was running around Adelaide Oval during half time to ‘race the plane’ (a pretend plane that moved around the edge of the stadium, where the ads normally are). I sprinted and dodged obstacles and won.

It was the best comp for me as I got to combine two of my most favourite things- writing and running. Even though mosh people weren’t watching, it was amazing to run at the oval.

The prize was two business class return tickets to London, Paris, NYC or LA. We chose New York!

I’ve won a $3000 Springfree Trampoline, $1000 feeding chair, a year’s supply of cereal and a trip to New Orleans. It’s been pretty unreal.

Here are some times I’ve had wins but missed out on the big ones:

• I once entered 400 times to try and win a car. I didn’t know how to use auto fill for my details so literally filled out the form 400 times. I didn’t win. (Hubby couldn’t believe I didn’t know how to autofill stuff. It’s since been a game changer.)

• I once won gold coins worth $500 through second chance draw on a pen packet, back in the days of having to physically send off an entry form in the mail. I had a one in ten chance of winning a $10,000 gold bullion but didn’t.

• I won $500 on Funniest Home Videos when my mum hit my brother in the head with a golf club (!). I had a one in four chance of winning $10,000 but didn’t (a man who caught his pants on fire won instead).

• I won movie tickets while at my part time job but missed out on winning a trip to Thailand (my average sale was a few cents lower than the winner).

• I won a romantic trip to the Dandegon Ranges but forgot I had a toddler and it was a child free place 🙈😆. I also didn’t realise how far away it was from where I live so had to forfeit the prize.

• I was in the running to win a car. I was a finalist for a radio station competition but didn’t win.

Here are seven tips to have success with competitions to give you a better chance of winning awesome prizes:

Tip 1- Find the small competitions.

I love reading comments on competition announcements, especially people who complain that they don’t win. ‘I never win anything.’ ‘It’s rigged.’ ‘I’m never lucky.’ ‘I’m contacting the ACCC.’ ‘My entry should have won. It was the best.’

Often these pages were entered by thousands of people. Are they really surprised that they didn’t win?

If you enter the lotto, you have a one in a million (or more) chance of winning. That’s not great odds. If you are one of ten thousand entering to win a prize, that’s also not great odds.

Look for the smaller pages and companies running competitions. Look for those where you actually have a chance to win. You never know, you might have success!

Tip 2: Enter often.

I hear lots of people whinge that they never win anything. When I ask if they ever enter, they sheepishly answer no.

You’ve got to be in it to win it! Enter 5 a day or 10 a week, or however much you like. Just know your odds go up the more you enter. I probably win one out of every 100 I enter, or at least feels like that. If you enter once a week one that 5,000 people have entered, you’re probably not going to have much success.

Tip 3: Look out for the themed ones.

There are often lots around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fathers Day, Easter, The Royal Show, Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas.. you get the idea! I often enter lots of these and then have a break for a few weeks.

This is a time that many companies use to advertise and try to attract new people to like their pages, follow them and subscribe to their emails. Make the most of it (and you can always unfollow and unsubscribe if it gets annoying).

Tip 4: Use some skill.

If you want to win more competitions, or perhaps just some bigger ones, this is my favourite one to do. Many people avoid the entries that require 25 words or less because it seems too much work.

This is great for people like me who can’t help but create a silly rhyme or somewhat clever answer.

Take time to figure out what the question is asking you. What do they want from your entry? Do they want to you talk about their company or product? Could you use humour? Could you write a Limerick or rhyme? Could you write an acrostic poem?

Some companies use the winning entry towards future marketing. Thinking about it from this angle can make entry count.

Tip 5: Save your entries.

This is a super easy way to enter more skilful comps. Simply copy and paste your entries into the notes section of your phone, under the category ‘competitions.’ Then when a similar comp comes up, you can search for an entry that you’ve already done (eg for Fathers Day). I did this with the coffee entry recently and simply had to tweak it to fit the new question. I have 332 saved notes in my competition category. 🙈

This saves you time, energy and creativity. Why start from scratch every time a competition comes up?

Tip 6: Enter at the last minute.

Some competitions that require you to comment on and share their posts can attract a lot of interest. I often avoid these but if there is less than a couple of hundred entries, I’ll comment and then put a reminder in my phone to enter it an hour before closing time. This might be a bit cheeky and selfish but I don’t always want everyone seeing the competition and then entering too! This way, you make sure you still have a chance to win big potentially reduce the amount of people who see the competition.

Tip 7: Talk up the promoter or company.

I think that this is a big one! Someone is giving away a prize. They want to increase their publicity, gain more followers or likes. have more on their email list and in turn, make more profit. If it is a competition that requires you to write something, include the name or names of those involved. Make them smile or blush as they read your entry. Make them feel good.

Suck up to them and pretend if you need to that you think they are awesome. (I pretended that I love oat milk in my coffee to win a chair. I’m allergic to oats, minor detail 😆 I was sent out some milk which I’ll pass on to a grateful family member 😉.) Make them laugh with how witty you are. Make the entry so good that not only will they want to choose you as their winner, but they’ll want to use it in upcoming promotional material.

Final thoughts:

I’m closing, entering competitions can lead to some amazing opportunities and memory building experiences. They can help win you appliances and electronics, cars, tickets, trips and more.

Be prepared to enter far more than you win and be disappointed more than you are celebrating. Be prepared to put some time and energy into your entries, knowing that with some creativity and humour, yours might stand out from the crowd. Be picky and only enter the ones that you’d actually like to win. There’s no point getting a prize that you don’t want to keep, unless to plan to sell them later.

With a bit of hard work and luck, and giving these tips a go, you too might be able to have some success with competitions!

Have you ever won something? I’d love to find out more below!


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How to win competitions – tips from a keen enterer

How to win competitions

I’ve always loved entering competitions. Ever since I was a little girl, I couldn’t resist the thrill of winning.

I’ve won two overseas holidays, $500 cash, $500 in gold coins, vouchers, a $3000 trampoline, rocking chair, pool table, Oz pig fire, movie tickets, hampers and much more. It adds up to over $35,000 in prizes.

Here are a few tips from a keen enterer:

  1. Enter often.

If you want to win lots of competitions, you have to enter lots of them! I probably win one prize for every 100, maybe 200 that I enter. Some people say to me, ‘you’re so lucky… I never win anything…’ When I ask them if they enter competitions, they reply ‘no because I’ll never win!’ I will never win the lotto because I don’t buy a ticket (also it’s pretty unlikely!) if you never enter, chances are you will never win. 

Rather than scrolling aimlessly on your phone, be intentional. Aim to enter one competition a day, or five, or ten! Have favourite websites open on your phone. Join competition groups on Facebook (I run one called ‘Aussie Competitions’). Utilize free websites like ‘win free stuff’ and enter from there. Search paid websites for competitions that catch your eye and then find the same ones on google to enter for free. Use autofill for saving time on completing forms. I never pay to enter a competition unless I am already choosing to buy a product. 

2. Find the small competitions.

Find the small companies and the not well-known competitions to enter where you can. If you only enter the Facebook post that already has 5,000 comments on there, that’s not good odds for you. Utilise the local shopping centres, real estate agents, sports clubs, tv channels, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Find those that run regular competitions and giveaways. Look further abroad in your city to other suburbs that run competitions too. 

Follow them on social media and sign up to their emails. Download their apps and bookmark their websites. If they let you enter everyday, put a reminder in your phone to do so. As annoying as their advertising is, this is how you hear about their giveaways. Use a different email address if you want to avoid spam in your regular inbox, however you still need to check this regularly. I have been emailed about 4 of my major wins, and am so glad I didn’t miss those!

3. Be creative.

Check out the terms and conditions to see how they are selecting their winner. If it involves skill, spend some time coming up with a witty, creative, clever or original entry. Write something that will set you apart from the rest. I enjoy making up rhyming poems and limericks. I use the free app ‘Rhyme Zone’ as it helps me come up with various words I can use when I’m stuck. 

Many people I talk to complain that they can’t be bothered doing this. That’s fine with me! This narrows down the amount of entries that companies would receive. If you do enter, save these in your notes folder on your phone and use them for future competitions. I have about ten Mother’s Day / Father’s Day / Christmas / Easter / Royal Show / Valentine’s Day etc themed entries that I can tweak year to year. It’s nice to have a starting point which you can work from. If you can, mention the company’s name. They are generously giving away a prize and often like to use the winning entry in their marketing. If it makes them smile and  enlarges their ego a bit, they might just choose you!

4. Be persistent and don’t give up!

Please know that the only way that I have had success with winning is the sheer number I have entered. I have had some near misses too – I had a one in four chance of winning $10,000 cash in my Funniest Home Videos entry, and didn’t get it. I had a one in ten chance of winning a $10,000 gold bullion and I didn’t win. I was one of 100 vying for a brand new car and wasn’t the lucky winner. I have entered competitions 300 times before trying to win renovation prizes or new cars or cash, and wasn’t successful. Some poems I wrote I thought were brilliantly original and funny and definitely stood a chance, yet I never heard back about. I’ve often spent an hour or two mulling over the perfect entry and wasn’t the one they chose.

Some of the ones I’ve won have been quite simple entries, random competitions that I happened to stumble upon. I’m grateful but wouldn’t go as far to say that I’m any more lucky than most. I simply enter often and am creative much. I keep a record of my wins now so don’t lose track of them. 

I won a string of competitions when I had a small baby and toddler. While spending many hours feeding or lying with them to sleep, I would try and make the time count. I was still on my phone, but I was trying to be productive. 

Maybe for you, you are recovering from surgery or an illness. Perhaps you are in isolation. Maybe you have young children or have retired. Perhaps you are facing a relationship breakdown or your kids have left the nest. Whatever your reason, make it count. 

Remember – you’ve got to be in it to win it. 

If you don’t enter, you can’t win!

Good luck and happy entering.

money savvy mamma