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Should I Enter Sweepstakes Online and by Mail?

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Question: Should I Enter Sweepstakes Online and by Mail?
Some sweepstakes offer entrants the chance to enter both online and by mail. Some even offer many more entrants to people who submit through the postal service. The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway in 2008, for example, offered one entry a day online but unlimited mail-in entries so long as each was mailed in a separate envelope. Does it make sense to enter both online and through the mail?
Answer: I highly recommend entering as often as the rules allow in order to increase your chances of winning. If you just look at the odds, sure it makes sense to send in a large number of mail-in entries as well as online entries.

However, there is one important thing to consider before flooding your post office with entries: unlike online entries, mail-in entries cost money to send. That means that you are taking more of a risk when you send entries through the mail.

Is the Additional Risk Worth the Cost?

Before sending a lot of mail-in entries, you might want to evaluate two factors:
  1. How much do you want the prize?
  2. Are the additional entries going to make a substantial difference?
If you consider the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes, the prize is definitely desirable, but tens of millions of entries are going to be received. By the time you pay for envelope, paper for the entry form, and a stamp, each mail-in entry will cost you nearly a dollar to send. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth spending $100 to get 100 extra entries when my chances will still be so long?

Avoiding Disqualification

Before you enter both online and through the mail, make sure that the sweepstakes rules allow it. Some will have restrictions like "one entry per person per day, no matter which entry method you use." If you see terminology like that, you run the risk of disqualification if you use both entry methods. Be sure to read the rules carefully before wasting postage on mail-in entries.

Mail-in and Online Entries - Right for You?

A good middle ground might be to dedicate a certain amount of money every month to use for mail-in sweepstakes entries. The mail-in sweepstakes with the best odds are those that have no online element, but those are getting more and more rare these days. So some of that budget could go toward large sweepstakes with an unlimited mail-in component. Some sweepers have a lot of success with this method.

Personally, I don't like to take a monetary risk while entering sweepstakes. I stick to online entries, which are free. Stephanie Dee, the winner of the HGTV 2008 Dream Home, seemed to agree with me. She said in an interview that she had entered only online when she won the $2.1 million home. What about you? Tell me how you enter sweepstakes by clicking the appropriate link below.

Poll:How Do You Enter Sweepstakes?
  1. Online Sweepstakes Only
  2. Mail-In Sweepstakes Only
  3. Both Online and By Mail
  4. View Results

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