Christmas and a New Year

 

 

Christmas will soon be upon us and I hope everyone is looking forward to a few days surrounded by family and friends and are taking some well earned rest from the frantic lead up to it. I certainly am and have all the Christmas presents sorted from my wins throughout the year as well as a good spate of them in the past week! As soon as Christmas celebrations are over suddenly it’s New Year’s Eve accompanied by spectacular light shows of fireworks and the popping of champagne corks heralding in 2015.

It is almost a year since I began this blog after I made a 2014 New Year’s Resolution to pursue comping seriously for the year, enter as many competitions as I could manage, write about the journey and see what I could learn from the experience. 2014 was a tough year in my personal life with an equal share of family tragedy, financial and health issues alongside many moment of joy: pretty much the stuff of life.

However, I kept to my resolution and kept comping. Over the nearly twelve months I have made some great friends, won heaps of prizes (both small and some reasonably substantial), and realised it’s pretty hard to win a car or overseas holiday. I have learned more about comping than I probably really need to know and have tried to pass on as many hints, tips and leads to anyone interested enough to listen or take heed of my hard-learned advice.

I was going to stop after the year but I have now decided to keep going (perhaps at a slower pace next year) because, apart from the fact that I think I have become rather addicted (see earlier blog – Prize Pigs and Competition Junkies), I still enjoy comping immensely. My heat beats a little faster every time I find a winning email in my inbox or hear my doorbell ring and see a courier standing there with a box in his hand or find a thick unexpected envelope in my mailbox. I also get quite a buzz when others I have got to know win and I find it irresistible hearing stories of their comping adventures. I’d love to put it all together in a book one day, if I ever get the time to work on it. I have started but for the moment I’m a little distracted by all the comping!

In 2015 I will be a little savvier with my comping and I am looking forward to hearing about more and more wins from my new-found friends. I am also going to be working on some spreadsheets with my dear hubbie to help track competitions and wins and perhaps develop them into a comprehensive CompTracker.

Early January may be a little quiet on the comping front with so many businesses shutting down for holidays but could be an ideal time for everyone to brush up on WOL skills. Test yourself by setting yourself some common questions like – ‘why do you want to win this prize…?’ Also it might be a good idea to find time in the holidays to take some great photos that can be used in future competitions. For example – familys having fun, lots of smiling children, quirky offbeat moments in the sun….you know the stuff. It might also pay to get ready for competitions that will start appearing everywhere in early or mid January with an Australia Day theme. It happens each year. One I have found already is at Australian Made Campaign (australianmade.com.au) for an Aussie Day Flag worth $150. I already have my entry in.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a joyful Christmas Day, safe and happy holidaying and New Year celebrations that don’t break the bank. And don’t forget to take a good rest, ready to take on heaps more competitions in 2015.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Comping

 

 

As 2014 draws to a hectic close, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on the things that compers often do wrong (including me!) in their quest for the ultimate prize. So this week I have put together a list of what I regard as The Seven Deadly Sins of Comping. Feel free to add any others you think are appropriate or comment below or in the Forum.

  1. Not Reading the Terms and Conditions. I wonder how many of us actually read the (sometimes long and boring I must admit) list of Ts & Cs attached to a competition before ticking the ‘I have read and accepted the Ts & Cs’box? Not many I would suspect. However, if you deliberately or inadvertently don’t adhere to some clause in the Ts and Cs, you may not be eligible for the prize, no matter how good your entry was. Most Ts and Cs are fairly straightforward and often fairly similar, so it is possible to just flip through them and take note of the main points. These are (a) closing date (b) number of entries permitted (c) whether the competition is valid in your state (d) a list of the prizes and their values and (e) who the sponsors are (in case you need to contact them!). So always read them.
  2. Missing the Closing Date. Don’t miss the closing dates – mark them on your calendar if you are going to enter them at a later time. How disappointing, to say the least, if you have just created the perfect answer and it doesn’t count and you missed out on the prize!
  3. Going Over the Word Count in a WOL Competition. If the rules of the competition says 25 WOL or even 50 WOL or 100 WOL, make sure you stick to the word count (and always spell check as well) before you hit the ‘enter’ Even if an entry is only one word over the count it is more than likely it will be disqualified. Simple as that – and who wants the same disappointment as above.
  4. Not Making Enough Effort or Taking Enough Time in a Skills-based Competition. Skills-based competitions like WOL or photo or interactive game or question and answer require much more effort than the random draw lotteries or sweepstakes and it is generally worth the effort if you win. So take your time when coming up with the answers or looking for the right photograph or that captures the theme best. There is usually some time between when you find the competition and when it closes so use the time wisely and don’t rush it.
  5. Pestering your Family and Friends for Votes until they No Longer Speak to You. Big mistake! You will need your friends and family long after the competitions close and unless you are really sure you are likely to win, this will only cause bad vibes. If you can’t get enough votes easily, give these competitions a miss. There are plenty of others out there…
  6. Spreading yourself Too Thin. If the competitions are random draws, it doesn’t matter how many you enter as long as you get them entered in time and don’t mind all the emails that will follow chasing you to buy something. However, if the competitions are skills-based it is not  worth spreading yourself too thinly as it will be the quality of the entry that will get the prize not a whole lot of ones you enter quickly without too much thought.
  7. A big no-no. Competition promoters can see and track the names of cheaters easily – that is why they ask for so much detail in an entry and often have security codes for entering. Cheaters do come to their notice and are likely to be black-listed, so it’s not really worth it in the long run.

Free Entertainment

 

 

With the Christmas/Summer holidays fast approaching it would seem to be a good idea to try to get some free entertainment for you, your family and your friends organised for the coming months. Movie and concert ticket and heaps of DVDs and CDs are always available and in plentiful supply through competitions. One of my first wins earlier this year was movie tickets through an IGA Summer Fun promotion. All I had to do was upload a fun family photo to their FB page. Easy! Through the year I also went on to secure quite a number of DVDs (mostly Lego and Playschool ones for the grandkids) and a couple of CDs (for me). I won family tickets to a Playschool Concert(for the grandkids again, boy are they lucky) from Kidspot and just recently my daughter won a double pass to The Wizard of OZ through her local paper, The Illawarra Mercury. It wasn’t that long ago that she also won a whole collection of Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs through this paper as well. I am now waiting for my last lot of movie tickets for the year from a recent Bupa promotion.

Movie tickets, vouchers and DVDs appear to be some of the easiest prizes to win as there are so many promotions with new movies being released in cinemas and on DVD all the time. They are effortlessly obtained by businesses and websites to use as prizes for their promotions and inexpensive to post out to winners. There were actually 100 double movie passes in the Bupa competition, so they were not that hard to win, the odds therefore being extremely good. If movies are your thing, it is definitely worth subscribing to movie promotional websites and FB pages like Walt Disney Studios (for the kids) to keep ahead of the pack. And if you are interested in attending a premiere of a new release you just can’t wait to see, head over to their official website and check out any promotions there too.

As well as movie passes, there are always lots of special event and concert tickets up for grabs at any time too. Popular magazines like Mindfood, Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Style (Brisbane) are great places to find both movie and concert ticket giveaways. In fact Cosmopolitan is currently running a competition with two $400 Ticketek Vouchers as prizes. That way you can choose what you want to attend if you win.

In Queensland the Sit Down Comedy Club always has tickets and DVDs to giveaway. Warner Music (on FB) has regular competitions and free downloads as well. At the moment you could try to win a VIP Double ‘Scott Dooley’ Pass through them as there are four available.

Radio Stations are great places to find out about competitions promoting movies, music and concerts. You generally have to enter them through their websites and the concerts can range from the latest music, through rock to classical. It just depends on the radio station you are happy to listen to. For middle of the road music devotees in Sydney SmoothFM 95.3 have tickets to win to Wicked, Paddington (Premiere), Doctor Who – A Musical Invasion and a front row family pass to Live!

     Speaking of Sydney (where I am at) there is a new festival happening here next March –  Spectrum Now and there are tickets up for grabs at the moment for a Dinner and Show at The Theatre Royal as part of a promotion by Fairfax media for the festival. Watch out for more on this.

There are just way too may competitions with prizes like these to list here so I suggest you keep your eyes open (especially in your local area and local paper) if you are after free entertainment like I am. However, don’t forget that there is always plenty of free family entertainment in the summer at the beach and in local parks and at Christmas time with Christmas Carols in the Park and at New Year with light shows and fireworks displays. So sit back and enjoy!