I’ve been entering competitions (also known as comping) for many years now, with varying levels of success. For the majority of the time, I’ve not followed a particularly proactive ‘plan of attack’ when it comes to finding competitions to enter online. I wrote a post a while back called The Easy Way To Enter Competitions Online. It demonstrates how I use an online comping forum (in my case, Money Saving Expert) to locate and enter competitions. I call it my favourite and easiest method. It’s still a good way to enter, and win, competitions. But I have since found a better way to spend my comping time. It’s one which has paid off in terms of increasing both the amount of prizes I’ve been winning, and the personal value of those prizes.
I read one book, and it completely changed the game for me.
Why I enter competitions
As far as hobbies go, I think entering online competitions is one of the most rewarding there is. I find myself dipping in and out of it when I have the time. In 2016, I went through periods of entering free competitions online every few months. The beauty of the hobby is that, not only is it free if you want it to be, but it’s also something you can fit in to your daily life easily (you can comp while watching TV, waiting for the dinner to cook, in the middle of the night if you can’t sleep…).
I’ve found that winning prizes is a brilliant way to boost my income and help me save money. Over the years I’ve won all sorts of random items which I’ve kept or given as gifts. It’s one of the ways I prepare for Christmas throughout the year. I win prizes to give as Christmas gifts. I’ve also been able to sell off a few items for some extra cash.
My winnings have been completely random, though. A caravan battery, for instance. Useful, but only if you have a caravan (I wish I did, but I don’t. When I first got the email I thought I had won a caravan – then I noticed the word ‘battery’ at the end!). Although there were certain things I wanted to win more than others, I didn’t know how to focus my efforts to go after what I really wanted. I just had my fingers crossed for the more elusive prizes like vouchers, cash and holidays.
Why my approach to comping changed
Last year I read a book which changed the way I comp forever. The book is SuperLucky Secrets by comping guru Di Coke.
SuperLucky Secrets contains Di’s 100 top tips for winning competitions. They are separated in to chapters, and Di starts with the basics of comping and moves on to more advanced methods. She covers how to start comping and get yourself organised, advice on social media competitions, and practical methods for finding low entry comps. Di also shares less well known entry methods, and precise ways to go out and find those prizes you want to win. All this and many other things I had never thought of, or heard of, despite having been entering competitions for many years.
I started following Di’s advice. The methods Di describes not only increased my frequency of winning prizes in 2016, but also led to me winning the exact kinds of prizes I wanted. Through targeted search methods, a bit of organisation and some patience, I started bringing in a bumper crop of prizes I had written down on my prize wishlist.
What did I win in 2016?
I record all of my winnings on a spreadsheet (as per Di’s advice!). It’s a good way to tot up the value of your prizes at the end of the month or year and see where you had your best winning sprees. You can also find out which entry methods were the most successful for generating wins.
I didn’t enter any competitions at all at the start of 2016. My first wins came in May 2016 when I picked up the hobby again. I comped from then until mid-July, had a break and then started again from September to mid-October. After that, I didn’t enter any competitions for the rest of 2016. We were in the process of moving house and finally moved on December 16th. It was smack bag in the middle of the comping Advents, so I only won a couple of those as I barely entered any.
Several of my prizes in 2016 were high value ones which I really wanted. They included an iPad Mini, £100 Argos voucher, £100 cash, £150 Ronseal voucher, webhosting for a year worth £120, a Tassimo coffee machine, and a family ticket to Countryfile worth £70. My biggest prize in that time was a two night stay at a 5 Star hotel on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, worth £900!!
Smaller prizes included a Links of London bracelet, a set of furniture paints, skincare worth £80, a bluetooth speaker, and two sets of Letts school books worth £50 each (given to two of my nephews). There were a few more vouchers, lots of other toiletries, some recipe books, clothes, a Bakebox subscription, and some gardening equipment.
Despite only comping for around five months out of the year, my prize total for 2016 was £3,075.97!
What difference did the book make?
It’s true that you get out of comping what you put in. The more competitions you enter, the more likely you are to win. However, in her book Di shares with us the precise methods she uses to really go after, and win, the prizes she wants. All the tips are usable, practical, easy to follow and accessible to everyone with an internet connection. And they really work! I used them all and had more competition wins than ever before.
I wanted an iPad, so I used Di’s tips to find a Rafflecopter competition online with relatively low entries. Then the email came saying I won! I also knew Letts were promoting their books through several competitions at the start of the school year. I hoped to win a set to share out between my nephews, and was so surprised to win two sets! This came from actively searching online for these competitions. As we were planning to move house, I also searched for vouchers from places we would need to buy things from, and for specific items I knew we would need. Hence the Argos vouchers, furniture paint set (from a company called Earthborn) and the gardening equipment and Ronseal voucher. The trip to Edinburgh also came about after searching for competitions for hotel stays.
Di’s tips on searching include how to effectively use Google to find what you want. As she says herself in the book, typing “win a holiday” is not enough. Di outlines Boolean search techniques and other adjustments you can make to hone your results, and shows you how to keep track of your searches to save time and boost efficiency.
Why you should buy it
I used the exact methods Di shares in SuperLucky Secrets to find these competitions. It helped to focus my efforts on those prizes I knew I could really use.
It’s the kind of book you don’t have to read all at once. You can pick and choose sections you want to focus on, be that organisation tips or creative competition advice. I also dip back in to it every now and then for inspiration and advice . I remind myself of the methods I should be using for efficient comping. You can see my copy is well-thumbed!
There are so many reasons why I recommend you pick up a copy of SuperLucky Secrets. You might be a complete newbie to comping, and looking for the best place to start. You could also be a seasoned comper like myself, looking to up your game. Perhaps you’ve become disillusioned with comping, or are going through a dry spell and not winning much. This book will inspire you to keep going and to evaluate the methods you’re using. It would also make a great gift for friends and family members. If you enter a lot of competitions, no doubt you’ve had requests from those around you to show them how it’s done!
You can buy SuperLucky Secrets on Amazon, in paperback or for Kindle.
If you need any more comping motivation, take a look at Di’s website and have a watch of her prize unboxing videos on YouTube. Di is an extremely successful comper and I love finding out what she’s won each month.
I’m yet to comp at all in 2017 but will be picking the hobby up again soon. I’ll be rewriting my wishlist and actively seeking out the prizes I hope to win. I’ll let you know how I get on!
Are you a comper? What kinds of prizes do you hope to win this year?