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Top 8 Tips to Save Money with Mail-In Sweepstakes

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Stamps, envelopes, postcards, decorations... mail-in sweepstakes entries can really start to add up once you total the costs! But if you don't send out those entries, you won't bring in the big prizes, either. Here are some great ways to save money while still keeping your chances of winning high.

1. Set a Sweepstakes Budget

It's easy to let things get out of hand if you enter all of the sweepstakes with tempting prizes. A better idea is to set a monthly budget and not let yourself exceed it. In order to fall under your budget, concentrate your entries on the sweepstakes with the best chances and the ones offering the prizes you most want to win.

2. Don't Overspend on Postage

Some sweepstakes ask entrants to send in postcards, whereas others require an entry form in an envelope. Make sure you don't stick the same stamp on both types of entries. Postcards are less expensive to mail, so make sure that you use exact postage. Those cents you save could give you extra chances to win.

3. Concentrate on Postcard Entries

If you concentrate on postcard entries, you can make those cents you save on sending postcards go even farther. Enter envelope sweepstakes only when the prizes are absolutely irresistible.

4. Make Your Own Postcards

To save even more money on postcard sweepstakes, make the entry forms yourself. You can make postcards from cardboard boxes (especially boxes of the sponsor's product!), the fronts of greeting cards, photographs, collages cut out of magazines, etc. Simply take heavy paper that is decorated on one side and blank on the other, cut it to the proper postcard size (the U.S. Post Office allows post cards as small as 3.5 x 5 inches and as large as 4.25 x 6 inches without requiring extra postage), draw a line down the middle of the blank side, and address it like any other postcard.

5. Look for Free Envelopes

Keep an eye out for ways to recycle envelopes that come with bills, birthday or holiday cards, mail-in offers, etc, and use cheap address labels to cover any writing that is already on the envelope. If you travel, take the envelopes that the hotel leaves on the writing desk home for your entries. Don't overlook your local Freecycle group. You might be able to turn that free envelope into a prize-winning sweepstakes entry.

6. Ask for Samples and Freebies

Stationary or office supply stores might be able to offer you sample envelopes that you can use for your entries. Greeting card stores often have extra envelopes that they can give to you. Another possibility is to put an ad in your local classifieds saying that you are willing to buy discounted envelopes from companies that are going out of business. Simply asking around can often net you free sweepstakes supplies.

7. Buy in Bulk

If you do have to buy your sweepstakes supplies, buy in the largest quantities that you can. You can greatly reduce the per-envelope or per-index card cost this way. Stores like Costco and Sam's Club are great places to look for bulk discounts.

8. Cover Mistakes

If you make a mistake addressing an envelope or a postcard, don't throw it away. Simply cover the first attempt with a large address label and try again.

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