- Enter Cash Sweepstakes. The most direct way to earn money with sweepstakes is by winning it. There are always tons of contests and sweepstakes giving away cash, ranging from small prizes (though those $5 and $10 prizes can add up quickly!) to mega sweepstakes giving away $50,000 or more.
- Sell Unwanted Prizes. If you enter sweepstakes regularly, you'll probably win prizes that you don't really want. A handbag that's too fancy to ever use, a game that's not age-appropriate for your children, a laptop when you already have one you love. Selling unwanted prizes is a good way to earn money from contests.
- Donate Prizes for the Tax Break. Another way to earn money with contest prizes is to donate them to a recognized charity, and then take a deduction on your taxes. Money that you don't have to pay to the government is more money in your pocked. (About.com's Guide to Taxes shares some tips on claiming charitable deductions on taxes.)
- Save Money that You'd Otherwise Spend. A smart way to save money with contests is to put the cash that you'd usually spend on the prize into your savings account. If you win a pair of movie tickets, for example, save away the price you'd usually pay to treat someone to a night at the movies. Not only does the contest save money on buying the tickets, but you'll earn extra interest as well!
I don't advise anyone to put their family's well-being on their line by relying on making money through contests. Entering contests for a living is risky, and you'll probably be better off getting a part-time job than using contests as your sole source of money.
But if you have the time, contests can be a great way to add some extra money to your life. And if you are very lucky indeed, you could win enough money to put your financial burdens behind you forever!