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Sandra Grauschopf

Are Sweepstakes Worth the Time Spent Entering Them?

By January 24, 2014

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These are just some of the gift cards that I have won personally.

Today, I received an email from a reader, who asks a question that many of you might have as well:

I was really wondering, do real people enter and win the sweepstakes and what is the %? it seems like I could be earning money with the amount of time I spend on this. Do you enter and if so, have you ever won, and what and when did you win. I am just curious as I don't know that I should spend so much time on this. Please email me and let me know your thoughts."

My answer:

YES, people enter, and YES, people win, and NO, sweepstakes are not a reliable substitute for earning income through a job.

Do people really win sweepstakes?

When it comes to entering and winning sweepstakes, I know a lot of people who have won big prizes. When I enter regularly, I win prizes of various values every month. I've also interviewed real, regular people who have won the HGTV Dream Home (winner Don Cruz), a million dollars from PCH (SuperPrize winner Natalie Bostelman), and $100,000 from McDonald's Monopoly (Michele B.), among many others.

Some of my own exciting prizes include a $1,000 mall shopping spree, a shopping spree for Prada shoes in New York City, a $1,000 cash card, a big furniture shopping spree, and many others.

Plus, you can read good news from many other people who have won prizes from the sweepstakes forum, the photo album of winners and their prizes, and my collection of winners' stories.

So if so many people win, why can't you count on sweepstakes instead of a job?

Some of these prizes have been life-changing. Some have made things a little easier for a while, or helped their winners experience new things that they wouldn't have tried otherwise, or just been fun. But what they're not is reliable.

When you're trying to put food on your table or get the rent paid, winning a trip to the Bahamas would be nice, but it's not going to pay the bills. And when you hit a dry spell, and those wins don't roll in, you'll be in big trouble. I go into more depth on this subject in this article: Can I Make a Living Entering Sweepstakes?.

So what are sweepstakes good for?

OK, so the prizes you win will probably not be your way to get to true wealth (unless you are very, very lucky!). But they are a great way to spend your spare time.

If you're living on a tight budget, sweepstakes can be a huge help to you. You've got great chances of winning something that will help free up your budget, like a cash card, a grocery store shopping spree, or free movie tickets. And you *might* get a big prize that will let you replace that old beater car you've been driving with something new and fantastic, or give you enough money that you can live off the interest for the rest of your life. Those are longer shots, but people just like you do win prizes just like that. (And if you're in a situation like that, you might be interested in reading 4 Ways to Make Money with Contests.)

If you're watching television at the end of the day, there's not much chance of your life being changed. But if you are watching television while you enter some sweepstakes, you could be on your way to a fun prize, big or small. And there are other reasons to love entering sweepstakes as well.


It's important to remember that entering sweepstakes is a hobby, not a full-time job. If you're worried that you might be spending too much time entering, it's a good idea to cut back. Set up a sweepstakes routine, set a limit on how much time you're going to spend entering, and read my tips on entering sweepstakes faster to get the most entries possible during that time.

For me, the answer is that sweepstakes are absolutely worth entering. What do you think? Have you found the time you've spent to be worthwhile? Click on the "comments" link to leave your answer.

More Sweepstakes Articles You Might Like:

Stay up to date with Contests & Sweepstakes by signing up for my Sweepstakes Newsletter.
Get answers to your sweepstakes questions in the Sweepstakes Forum.
Download the free Sweepstakes Toolbar


January 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm
(1) Jerry says:

I have been entering sweepstakes daily for over seven months and at times as many as 100 per day, in the first month I won a $100 gift card and have not won anything since. I really do like entering though and it has become a sort of obsession because if I miss a day it does bother me. But I really do think it strange that I have not won anything at all after entering so many for so long. I do read the rules and try to make sure I enter correctly. Thanks for listening.

January 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm
(2) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

Thanks for sharing your experience, Jerry!

January 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm
(3) John says:

Jerry said: “But I really do think it strange that I have not won anything at all after entering so many for so long.”
One has to understand that literally millions of entries are being made for likely every sweepstake you enter, the odds are quite incredible, so it isn’t strange at all. It’s called luck.

January 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm
(4) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

@John For most sweepstakes, I’d say that the entries are in the thousands, not the millions. The really big ones, like the HGTV Dream Home, are exceptions. Nevertheless, the odds of thousands to one are still hard to beat.

January 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm
(5) Nikki C says:

I have been sweeping and entering giveaways for 18 to 20 hours a day since September. Haven’t won a dang thing. and it is like having a job, more like two full time jobs, without getting a paycheck. Very frustrating that I’m not winning anything. if anything, I’m losing a lot of money, because of the data usage to tether my phone to my laptop has increased an extra 20 gigs per month which translates to $150 extra. not sure at what point I will finally give up and get a life.

January 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm
(6) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

@Nikki C 18 to 20 hours a day is… really long. You might really want to think about cutting back some, and remembering that this is for fun, not for work.

Plus, remember that entering since September is really not a long time, with the way that sweepstakes run. Remember that it takes time for the giveaway to finish, for the winners to be drawn, and the winners to be verified before you ever get a win notice. I won one big prize (over $1,500 worth of toys) over a year after the sweepstakes ended! So don’t give up hope. Scale back maybe, and keep the fun in the hobby. :)

January 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm
(7) Carmen says:

My average wins have been around 1% per month. So if have to enter at least 100 giveaways if I want to win one prize. Some months are better, some are worse, but I’ve found the best odds are on blogs – not the big-name giveaways.

January 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm
(8) David says:

I agree that is it no substitute for a job. I spend about 3 hours a day,7 days a week so about 1,000 hours per year. Been doing that about 2 yrs and total winnings of about $2,200. So, about $1.00 per hour. If I hadn’t won a contest for $2012, it would be a few cents per hour. However, I try to maintain hope and plug away at it. It has become a hobby in my mostly retired life. I have a rather unique situation of becoming deaf in one ear and almost deaf in the other so it limits the socializing aspect of my life. I try to hit daily entry,weekly entry, and one time entry contests only for things I really would like to win and enter an average of 100-125 per day. While the odds are never good to win, try to improve them by entering as many times as the rules allow. Good luck!!

January 24, 2014 at 7:14 pm
(9) Pat says:

I spend probably 4-5 hours total a day though it’s broken up by household chores, errands etc. In good weather I also fit in outdoor time like walking and biking. I’ve won some great stuff—Super Bowl 2012, Vegas weekend, Nook, giant trampoline, expensive mountain bike, $800 cash in lieu of a prize–many more. Plus there’s the dozens of gift cards, free food coupons etc. Because I don’t work, I consider it to be my contribution to the household. If someone is discouraged or short of time and wants to devote less time, suggest prioritizing entries. For me it would be cars and large cash amounts first, then trips I’d really love taking, and so on.

January 25, 2014 at 11:15 am
(10) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

@Pat that’s great advice, thanks for the tips!

January 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm
(11) David says:

Pat, I agree on setting the priority for sure. I enter very few for less than $500, all but a couple a day are in the $500 to $100,000 range. Just haven’t had as much luck as you!!

January 25, 2014 at 12:06 am
(12) Melissa says:

I’ve had a lot if luck with local contests. I’ve probably won about $15,000 worth of cash and prizes in the past 8 years. I’ve been entering more national contests recently for approximately two hours a day for the past four months, but I haven’t won a national prize yet. I think that there is a lot competition, especially with all of the people that are unemployed; however, even with this said, I think that you make your own luck! If you feel like a winner and stay positive, you will be a winner! :) . Luck to all!

January 25, 2014 at 11:10 am
(13) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

@Melissa – Great advice, thank you! And congratulations on your wins, too!

January 25, 2014 at 1:19 am
(14) Spuk57 says:

Lately, the last year spent entering sweeps has been a big waste of time. I have never hit a good sweep-but little items make ya smile and think it’s wonderful to enter them.

Sometimes I think the time of day entering has a lot to do with winning or loosing because I have been entering late at night and gotten nothing- zero- nada!

So- I am gonna change my strategy to see if entering earlier in the day helps. Hey- it certainly cannot make it worse!! Optimism helps, I hope! LOL…..Here’s wishing BIG wins for everyone who enters sweeps!!

January 25, 2014 at 11:09 am
(15) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

@Spuk57 – Optimism will certainly make entering more fun. And the more fun it is, I think the more you stick with it, making your chances of winning better. So I love your attitude!

January 25, 2014 at 9:55 am
(16) Greg M. says:

I think everyone who wonders at the question “Is it worth the time?” should ask themselves: “Do I enjoy entering?”

I mean: do you enjoy the actual <b>process</b> of entering sweepstakes, independent of winning any prizes? It probably sounds weird to a lot of people, but I actually enjoy filling out sweepstakes forms. It’s not the greatest thing in my life. But then hobbies aren’t meant to be. Some people like model trains. Some like jigsaw puzzles. Some sew. It’s just something to do to relax and pass the time. It’s not my job. It’s not my life. If I don’t feel like doing it some day, I don’t do it. When thinking about “is it worth the time?”, thoughts about how much I might win don’t factor into the equation.

So, why do I like <b>entering</b> sweepstakes? It’s fun to daydream for a few moments about taking that tropical vacation. It’s fun asking myself how I would spend that $1000 shopping spree at the mall. It’s fun to think about winning a prize that I would never splurge on myself.

Winning the occasional prize is just icing on the cake. It’s not the primary motivation. I’ve had long dry spells. But that doesn’t demotivate me in the slightest – because it isn’t about the prizes.

Like Sandra said, entering sweepstakes is a hobby. If it’s not fun, don’t do it.

January 25, 2014 at 11:09 am
(17) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

@Greg M., that’s just how I feel. I think there are a lot of benefits to sweeping, even apart from the prizes you get. I find it fun and relaxing, and I’ve learned about a lot of new things that I’ve come to love because of sweepstakes. I love to dream about winning the prizes. Then when I actually do win something, it’s a great bonus!

January 25, 2014 at 10:29 am
(18) James says:

When I wrote to the last 3 of 5 sponsors of sweeps I had entered for winners list and odds, all 3 were over 1 million entries (they were national sponsors) so I don’t know about the comment of “in the thousands”. Perhaps for a localized contest, but even then hundred thousands would be more accurate.

January 25, 2014 at 11:03 am
(19) Sarah A. says:

Entering is a pretty big hobby for me. I actually win quite a bit. Mostly small stuff. In the past 4 years though, I’ve won a $600 candle ware package, big green egg grill, 2 iPads, a higher end laptop, and $1000 gift certificate.

January 25, 2014 at 11:07 am
(20) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

Those sound like great prizes, Sarah A., congratulations!

January 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm
(21) Cecilia M. says:

I enter Sweepstakes because I love to do it. I remember when I was a kid and cut out entry forms in magazines and newspapers and sent them off to try and win something. Now it’s progressed to online, Twitter, Facebook and other social media entries. It’s only been in the last year that I have been winning and has really sparked my passion. I won some tickets to a local Food & Wine Festival through a social media sponsor giving, then I won several tickets to local events “flash” Twitter contests. From there, I won a couple of gift cards online and some sample products as well. Finally, I won a trip to LA last November through a twitter contest. Wow, this confirmed to me that one just has to keep entering contests. Helpful tips: Use Google alerts to search for new contests; enter local events; look for sponsor sites of events you want to enter (and their social media accounts). This is not a job for one who is passionate about it. On the other hand, one does get tire of entering and not wining and stops for a while. Just when you think you will not enter any more, life gives you a prize in the form of a win!

January 25, 2014 at 6:32 pm
(22) Kimberlee says:

I have been entering sweeps for over 10 years. I spend at least 2 hours per day entering but usually it’s more like 4-6 hours.
I have won countless vacations: London, NYC, Copenhagen, Miami, Disney World, Los Angeles, and Super Bowl XLI.
The largest cash prize was $10,000, and I have won $5,000 twice and $1,000 several times.
Even the iMac computer I use for entering sweeps was won as part of a Grand Prize!

January 25, 2014 at 9:45 pm
(23) croxton says:


January 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm
(24) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

@Croxton Unless it specifically states you have to sign up for offers to enter, you can usually feel free to skip them.

January 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm
(25) Derek says:

I’ve probably won about $8,000-$10,000 worth of $/items in my 3 years of sweeping. You could never live off of just that… but I probably only spend about 1.5 hours a day or so on it. Just what I do instead of watching TV (which doesn’t pay you anything…lol) However I do actually enjoy the entering process… and if it’s a chore to enter for (hypothetical) you I don’t see how you’ll keep up with it for any long-term length of time.

…and of course the $1+ million HGTV + PCH sweepstakes are a nicecontinuing daydream.

January 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm
(26) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

Thanks for sharing, Derek, I feel the same way! There are a lot of hobbies out there that people enjoy, which don’t even give a chance of winning a million bucks :D

January 26, 2014 at 10:33 pm
(27) Derek says:

Sandra: Definitely! And I must say that I’ve discovered a lot of great new music (to me) while sweeping. haha

January 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm
(28) Sandra Grauschopf, Guide to Contests says:

Derek: For me, it’s TV shows. I’ve discovered a lot of TV shows I love from sweepstakes that they’ve run :D

January 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm
(29) sharynn says:

I have been entering sweepstakes and everything else under the sun for approx. 4 years. The last 2 years I have been at it for 8 to 9 hours a day including Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes even 10 to 12 hours a day.
I am retired so I have plenty of time. To date I have won a child’s DVD movie and a coupon for $3.25 off donuts. when I started I had high hopes and big dreams and a whole lot of wishes in my head. I figured I would try sweeping for a while I was sure i would win something useful. So I think I will cut back now. The only thing I have gotten from sweeping is carpel tunnel.

January 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm
(30) amy says:

I agree with the TV time as my entry time. I am just sitting there any way, so I might as well try to win something. The entering alone gives me a little hope that I might get a surprise in the mail in a few months. As far as dry spells go, we all get them. But I remember that it can some times take months to find out if you won. I once received a prize in November from a sweepstakes that ended in March. I had completely forgotten about it by the time my mini fridge got dropped off at my front door. Like I said, it was a surprise and may my day.

January 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm
(31) Adele says:

I have been entering sweepstakes for over 60 years. I use to subscribe to a contest news paper and enter by mail. Spent a lot of money on
stamps. Then the PC came along and I started entering on line. I have not won a thing. I follow all the rules. I am amazed at people who seem to win on a regular basis. Of all the millions of sweepers out there I suppose some can win but most wont. Why do I keep on trying? Hope springs eternal in the human heart.

January 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm
(32) a. witscher says:

I have been entering at least 15 contests a day for the last 2 years. I have NEVER won a thing or heard from them ever again. It’s just a habit with me now but I personally do not think I will ever win anything.

January 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm
(33) Francis Koziolek says:

I’ve been entering for about the past 3 – 4 years. i usually hit a decent prize every 6 – 8 months or so. For example, in June of 2011 i won a PS3, can’t remember what was after that but in July of 2012 I won an Xbox 360, in May of 2013, i won $1000 from a local jewelry store and the biggest i ever won I won as of Jan 3 2014, Hardy’s wine $18,00 trip to Australia!!

January 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm
(34) Francis Koziolek says:

Also, I only enter about 80 or so contests a day and usually spend about 45 minutes doing them. They are a hobby I enjoy and i end up winning $5 -$20 gift cards and things like that.

January 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm
(35) Susan says:

Where do you find that many contests to enter? I usually spend 1-2 hours a week. Have not won anything in 3 years. I am due. Take me away from this 50 degree below windchill day.

January 29, 2014 at 5:10 am
(36) Johanna says:

I’ve been a fan of contest since I was a kid, then I discovered online sweeps about five years ago , I try to enter every day but I don’t always have the time because I have two young kids, and I have won many stuff from gift cards, digital cameras, beauty products, food etc. I’m still waiting for a big one like a trip, a car or a large cash amount, it will happen soon. Keep on sweeping!

January 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm
(37) Jerry Stawls says:

I have been entering sweepstakes for many years. I do not believe in luck. I believe that when you win, it is a blessing from God. I have won $20 from Jack Daniels, $20 from Food Lion, $20 from Coca Cola, an electronic dictionary from Random House, a Nascar poster signed by Dale Earnhardt’s crew chief from Coca Cola, $500 from Fidelity Bank and $13,000 from Overstock. com. All of these things came along at a time, when I really needed them. I spend bout 3 hours a night, on 5 to 7 days a week entering sweepstakes. When the time is right, and I have learned what God is trying to teach me, There will be new wins to talk about. In the meantime, I am careful about picking the right ones to enter. I look for ones that have fewer qualified entrants. That means local when possible, or sweeps where there are a lot of possible prizes to be had. It is definitely worth the time used, if only for the joy of winning occasionally

March 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm
(38) latoya says:

Think about it like this: someone who spends their free time playing video games, knitting, sewing, painting etc could be using that time to make money, but they choose to use their free time doing those activities because they get some sort of pleasure out of it. Itís the same with sweepstakes, if you get some sort of pleasure or enjoyment out of it, I donít think itís a waste of time. I think anything that makes you happy is a phenomenal way to spend your time!

I love entering sweeps and for me, it is worth the time. I love dreaming about a big win, wins, talking to my family about my prizes, giving wins I donít need as gifts. Iíve also met some very cool people online through this hobby and found out about lots of new companies that I probably would never have found out about otherwise! I also love learning and I have learned a lot about sweepstakes, giveaways and marketing through this hobby.

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March 15, 2014 at 9:56 pm
(44) Gina Marie says:

Thank you Sandra for educating us on contest information. I’ve been entering contests on and off here and there in the last 2 years. I’ve won: a down comforter, down pillow, cosmetics and just today I received a cute leather junior drake purse. I think having a positive attitude towards contests can only bring you good energy. Good luck everybody

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