Spring Has Arrived!

 

 

A pinch and a punch it’s the first day of the month! Happy Spring Everyone. Winter is officially gone! No more sneaking under the covers trying to comp on the phone because it’s just too cold to get on the computer. No more cold fingers typing and clicking away. Throw away your jacket and umbrellas…OK wait maybe that’s too far. If you live in Melbourne like me you will know the weather is unpredictable at best but I can’t tell you how happy I was when I heard the birds chirping this morning.

 

That is until I thought about……….All those comping kilos that seem to have crept up on me. You know the ones. The ones where you sat at your desk mindlessly eating chips while you feverishly entered as many comps as you could before you had to go back to work. And lets not forget all the useless food we bought to enter even more competitions. Which got me thinking…

 

Comping Kilos + Winter Kilos = A busy Spring

 

Spring now has another meaning. My winning list is dismally low. There has been the Book Pack and Movie tickets, all very nice. And I know Christmas Competitions are coming but then that’s at the end of the year and I need to have more wins by the end of the year! Then there is getting rid of those excess kilo’s. Lucky my dog likes her walks. I am determined to have a spring in my step (literally) and I have to spring up my wins too. Basically it’s going to be a busy spring.

 

But the warm breezes seem to pose even more comping risks. There will now be more social outings, shopping, eating out, exercising outdoors and sitting in the sun procrastinating the days away. These are all things that get in the way of winning things. Someone needs to win mum her dream cruise and I need a new wardrobe once excess kilos have vanished into thin air. Sometimes I wonder how can I possibly win?

 

Anybody else feeling overwhelmed by Spring?

8 Ways you can attract prizes to you

 

As a competition fanatic I’m open to anything that can give me an edge. I’m also a big believer in your mindset playing a big role in what you attract in life. Have you ever met one of those happy go lucky people where everything just falls into place for them? Or what about when you expect the worse and it actually happens? Or when you think of an old friend and a week later you run into them?

There seems to be a law at work where what you think seems to affect your surroundings and their outcomes. So let’s start attracting some winning vibes to us! Here are 8 Ways to attract Prizes to you now:

 

  1. Decide you’re worth it. Feeling guilty or greedy will only block your prize. Decide you’re worthy to win and worthy of being lucky. Believe there is enough prizes and luck for everyone and watch them roll in.
  2. Visualise. Write down all the prizes you want to win. Read your list everyday and spend a few minutes everyday visualising yourself enjoying your prizes and the postie delivering them to you. Alternatively you could create a vision board with pictures of all the things and experiences you want to win. Close your eyes and spend a few minutes each day visualising and recapping your list or board.
  3. Use positive affirmations like ‘I’m driving my new car I won in the …..’ and ‘I am full of luck.’ Record them as a voice memo on your phone and listen to your personal affirmations commuting to work or exercising.
  4. Help someone. Connect with people in the forum or answer a question about a competition. When a fellow comper is down offer some positive encouragement. Be as helpful as possible and you will be rewarded.
  5. Meditate. Meditation has been shown to cultivate a more positive outlook on life and the universe likes people who have a positive outlook on life. Negative is ugly and nobody likes ugly.
  6. Declutter. If I were a prize I would want to go to a home that was well organised and free of clutter! Freeing space and getting organised clears the mind, which reduces anxiety, which helps you focus on the real things in life like……….winning competitions of course.
  7. Enter more competitions. The more you enter the more chances you have!
  8. Enter then forget. Don’t hold on to the past. If you miss out be happy for whoever won. The universe doesn’t like sore losers.

 

The law of attraction is working all around us. Think you’re not going to win? Guess what? You probably won’t. Think it’s all too hard and you don’t enter? Yep you’re not going to win either. If you want to win you have to think and act like a winner.

Why You Should Always Keep Your 25 Word or Less Answers

 

 

This is a Guest Post by Nicole Cappelleri.

Recently I was doing some housekeeping on my computer.  I had been getting that horrible pop up ‘Disk is Full’.  Looking at my desktop it was a sea of folder’s. It looks tidy but looks can be deceiving. I have folders for blogging, books I’m writing, graphic design stuff, templates and of course Competitions.

I decided to look through the competition folder. I started comping 6 years ago so I thought there’s got to be something I can delete in there?

I found my old WOL (Word or Less) files where I kept my little one-liners and poems. As I suspected these files were jam-packed. They were endless pages of competitions and their corresponding answers I had entered. Also beneath them was where I brainstormed, words and ideas.

Now I tend to not keep them unless they are really good and I’ll often think of an answer on the spot. Even brainstorming I’ll hit delete. But reading through my old WOL files suddenly I found myself nostalgic. My comping journey lay bare in front of me. Years of hope when I was in a miserable job and all those prizes won and lost.

I remember sneakily comping in my cubicle at work when nobody was looking. I remember sending myself emails from work with ideas. Sitting on the train trying to rhyme my answers.

To my surprise I found the very first 25 word or less answer I came up with. It was at the top of the page of file WOL1. It was silly and stupid but I did really want a new car at the time. It didn’t really answer the question or use the promoter in any way. It was basic to say the least:

 

So all my enemies and friends see me!

This is for the Australian dream!

Where revenge is here for you and me!

 

And then there was a winning WOL for a Mothers Day Comp:

 

Mum understood our tears….

And calmed all our fears!

A reward, for all life has dealt her!

All grown up, its time we helped her!

 

And then there was the book. This was where it all began for me. My creative blockage became unplugged. My creative juices had started to flow with every 25 word or less I wrote. I started to think the unthinkable at the time. I can be creative! The story for a book was emerging and I was on a journey which I’m still on to this day, sitting at my computer writing this blog post for you.

I soon realised I couldn’t bare deleting any of these files. This was part of my own story. This was my history. I’ve kept them and they sit in a folder on my desktop. Reminding me of how far I’ve come.

Now I’m adding to the files again. Reworking old answers. Rejigging the rhymes. So I challenge you to keep all your 25 Word or Less answers. They are a window in the past. They will tell a story, your story.

A Day in the Life

 

 

Just before dawn I am wrestling with the idea of opening my eyes as I listen to the hum of early morning traffic in the street outside my bedroom window. Beside my bed is a small notebook packed with night-time scribbles – you know, those amazingly creative WOL answers that come to you at 2am but are totally indecipherable at 7 o’clock when you turn the light on.
Pre-breakfast rituals include checking emails just in case a winning email arrived into my inbox during the night (well, you never know!). By 8 o’clock it’s time for a quick scan of any new comps on the website, looking out especially for those that might require a little effort during the day, just to be prepared. I leave Facebook until after a hearty breakfast which is vital to give me the strength to an arduous day ahead. (This week is a better week than last week when most of it was dominated by computer and internet problems. Oh, how drastic that becomes when you are trying to keep ahead of the pack in the best competitions).
The rest of the morning involves some serious comping. First, I enter all the random draws, eliminating anything that looks a bit suspicious or want too much personal detail or don’t have prizes I want to win. Many of these are probably only destined to produce a lot of emails I am not interested in either. I also carefully eliminate any comps that are likely to attract huge numbers of entries as I can’t be bothered competing with thousands just to win a couple of movie tickets or a box of chocolates. I need ones where I have a reasonable chance of winning something. So I look for multiple draw comps; ones with more than one prize (the more the merrier as they say) and those that require a considered thoughtful answer. The WOL ones I jot down in my notepad and set aside to ponder at my leisure or while doing my housework (yuk).
If it is Thursday I stroll around to my local newsagent and stock up on copies of That’s Life, Take 5 and any other puzzle books offering prizes and cash, and any stationery or stamps I need for my mail-in comps.
Afternoons are my thinking and creating time and are spent horizontal on the lounge all the while keeping an ear peeled for the postman or that thrilling buzz at the door when a courier arrives with a parcel for me. On a good day a prize in the mail and perhaps a freebie or two keeps me motivated and makes all the effort worthwhile.
By late afternoon I have usually composed most of my WOL answers and checked out any photo competitions to see if I already have anything that is suitable or could take one before the comp closes. Any really tricky WOL answers will have to wait for another day! I then do a careful email check to see if there are any other comps worth entering that have come from websites I am registered with. While I am back online I ‘like’ and ‘share’ any interesting comps and update my Winning Ways page. If I can be bothered I might also do a bit of an internet search for any obscure comps, anything a bit different, out of the ordinary or some that not a lot of others will know about: entering those will often increase my chances of winning and if the prize is good, I don’t ‘share’ them. I keep them all to myself. A bit greedy I know but then….
At the end of the day, (and it actually hasn’t been a day all about comping, although it often feels like it) I have also somehow managed to also achieve the impossible – done a little work; a lot of housework; caught up with my mum, my kids and the grandkids; prepared the dinner and brushed the cat. Night time is for relaxing with the puzzles that hopefully will win me a few more prizes. Then it’s off to bed to dream about winning the car I really need (or a new iPad).

Luck, Chance and Probability

 

 

‘You know Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help’

Bill Waterson, Calvin and Hobbes 

What exactly is luck? Can we attract luck? Can we share luck? When an event in our life has been influenced by luck or we wish someone ‘good luck’ what do we mean? It is hard to really define. It probably depends on our cultural view of luck or fortune and how we personally believe some mysterious force it is involved in the unfolding of events in our daily lives. Most cultures have expressions or a word that describes what we know as luck or fortune although the ideas might be a little different.

One simple definition of luck is: ‘an unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favourably or unfavourably.’ This idea of luck has three distinct characteristics which are (1) luck can be good or bad (2) luck can be an accident or chance and (3) luck only applies to sentient beings.

So winning a random draw competition could be seen as good luck as against being caught in an unexpected rainstorm or fire (bad luck). If you were born into a wealthy family this might also be considered good luck as against being born during a depression in a poor country. The idea of being in the right place at the right time is often considered good luck. Winning a random draw competition can also include a lot of luck but there are also the elements of chance and probability at work too.

Luck is related to chance in that in order to believe in luck there must also be a reasonable chance of the event occurring – chance meaning that some degree of occurrence is possible. Probability is the mathematical way of measuring this.

If we are told or think to ourselves that there is a good chance of winning a competition – what do we believe? Essentially we believe that our odds of winning are favourable (and we might be feeling a little lucky too!). This is where it might be worth considering probability – the chance that something might happen. Or how likely it is that an event will happen. This can, of course range from impossible (not actually entering the competition) to unlikely (a large number of other entrants besides you) to an even chance to likely (only a few other entrants) then finally to certain (you are the only entrant).

Very few events can be predicted with total certainty. If we are into the idea of making predictions the best we can do is determine how likely something is to happen. One mathematical equation for determining this probability is:

the number of ways it can happen divided by the total number of outcomes

If, for example, there is only one prize in a competition and there are 100 entrants then the probability will be 1:100. Let’s say there are 100 small prizes and 500 entrants. This will then increase your chances because the probability changes to 1:5. All of this, of course, obviously meaning that competitions with more prizes and less entrants are the best to aim for. I think we all already know that!

Having covered all this logical, mathematical stuff I am going back to the concept of luck again. It has actually been found that people who believe in luck (good that is) are more likely to be optimistic and make better choices and by doing so seem to attract it. Those who are more pessimistic and concentrate on the negative things happen in their lives don’t seem to be able to.

I’ll leave all this pondering up to you and in the meantime….good luck!

Creative Comping

 

 

I just love creative competitions; they are my all-time favourites. So I was elated when I found a colouring-in competition in a recent That’s Life magazine: a colouring-in competition for adults! It was just my cup of tea, so I enthusiastically coloured away for an hour or so and sent it off with the required entry coupon just a few days before I found out I was a runner-up winner in the ‘Wild and Free, Sunshine Me’ competition run by MamaPajama with a drawing I had submitted months earlier.

I realised how much I love creative competitions last summer when I woke up one morning bored with all the usual WOL, Rafflecopter, Gleam, Facebook and Instagram competitions. I felt like trying something a little more engaging, something creative, something a little ‘crafty’ perhaps – and so I immediately sought to dig them out. It didn’t take long before I came across a model building competition being run by the Spirit of Tasmania. It looked interesting with a variety of prizes including iPads and packs of colouring pencils. The competitions was divided into age groups so at first I thought, ‘this is just for children’ but when I looked further into it I spotted the last age category which was simply 15+. ‘Well’, I thought ‘I am definitely 15+’ so I decided to give it a go.

The idea of making a model of the Spirit of Tasmania although fun looked a little daunting but luckily there was also the option of doing a drawing of it. So, a drawing it was going to be and after dabbling for a while with some coloured pencils, I scanned and uploaded it, had a cup of tea and forgot about it until the winners were announced (with my fingers crossed). No, I didn’t win but as they seem to have theses types of competitions fairly regularly I made a mental note, checked out the winning entries and resolved to do a better and more creative job next time.

While I was getting over not winning that one I came across another ‘crafty’ competition but this time it was the prizes that were ‘crafty’ – five large packs of scrapbooking supplies. As there was the option of mailing in the 25 WOL answer, I decided to try that for a change, rather than just rush to the website and fill in a form. I created a handmade personalised postcard and put my answer along with a sketch on the back. It went off into the nearest post box quick smart and because of my extra effort was duly rewarded with one of the prize packs.

The third one I entered around that time was a Facebook Back-to-School competition run by Scotch Tape. The idea was to use some of their ‘Expressions’ tape to decorate some back-to-school items. OK, I don’t often break my rule about not buying anything to enter a competition, but in this case, I did. As there was six weeks of prize draws and six iPads to be won, I thought my odds might be reasonably good if I could get my creative juices flowing. It was certainly worth a try, but even though I didn’t win this time around, there is always the next one! And I am a little more experienced now.

Crafty, creative competitions like these may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are enjoyable and on top of that can be easier to win than many of the others as most people are likely to give them a miss. Of course it does help if you have a little talent and are a little ‘crafty’ or creative yourself. So it these sort of competitions sound interesting – keep an eye out for them and at least give them a go. You may even surprise yourself!

Photo Attribution – Kotomi Creations

Some Interesting Facts, Figures and Statistics

 

 

If you, like so many others, continue with the dream to win Lotto, did you know you have more chance of being struck by lightning than winning Lotto?  Well, it’s true. According to the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing the odds of winning the NSW Lotto is about 1 in 8,145,060 with a single ticket. With Powerball, the chance of picking the six winning numbers and the Powerball number rises to 1 in 76,767,600.

The odds of winning a prize with an Instant Scratch-it is about 1:4 but that doesn’t mean that if you buy four tickets you will win with one of them, although if you are going to buy them, buying a few of one kind will certainly increase your chance of a small prize. The odds of winning one of the top prizes however can range from 1 in 700,000 to 1 in 1,500,000 or more depending on the size of prize, which means in broad terms, you are probably more likely to win an Olympic medal (1 in 662,000) or date a supermodel (1 in 88,000) or have your car stolen (1 in 340 cars) although I am not sure whether these statistics are accurate as I got these figures off the internet.

When it comes to competitions, on the other hand, the odds of winning the first or any prize can vary widely, depending on how well it is advertised and promoted; who it is being targeted at; the desirability of the prize and the method of entry. Well promoted large, national competitions with irresistible prizes will obviously attract the most entries making the chance of winning (especially the first prize) very difficult if not extremely remote. On the other hand, smaller competitions that involves writing a creative answer or uploading a photo will attract less entrants and therefore the chance of winning a prize (even if it is a runner-up prize) will be much better.

The number of competitions being run at any one time around the world is staggeringly huge. There are over 360 on this site at the moment and more are being put up every day. I haven’t found any statistics on the total number of competitions in Australia (the most registered ones are in NSW however) but it has been noted by some that around 20 percent are now being run through Facebook. I guess because just about any small business can have a go at it. I know – lots are not running by Facebook rules but there are more and more appearing every day. The number of competitions run through Instagram and Twitter are also growing in proportion to the rest.

The total value of prizes up for grabs at any one time is also staggeringly huge. A quick guess-timate of the vale of the prizes on just one page here is around $100,000. Take 5and That’s Life magazines (with a predominant female readership) advertise that they give away around $80,000 worth of prizes (including a car) each week.

With the increased take-up of smart-phones (2/3rds of the population in 2013 according to statistics), around 7.5 million people in Australia access the internet (and I presume enter competitions if they are into comping) through their mobile phone rather than their computer or laptop.

If you are reading this, you are more likely to be female and over 35, perhaps even over 40 as men are less likely to be interested (or have the time?) for comping. It appears that more people in their retirement years are getting into comping. As most prizes are aimed at females, which means that if you find a competition with a prize suitable for a male, it is worth entering it as the number of entries may be less than for other comps.

Photo attribution – Ken Whytock

The Travel Prize King

 

 

Are you constantly dreaming of winning that elusive overseas holiday or maybe just a free trip in Australia? Well, here is an inspiring story to keep you trying. Surferboy 83from the forum has won four amazing trips over the last four years.

The first one, he tells me, was through Billabong: a trip for two to Tahiti with all flights and five nights’ accommodation worth $8,000. He took his boss, a fellow surfer, and they got to surf the world famous Teahupoo Reef with pro surfers.

His second win was through a Bearded Lady Bourbon competition. This time he won a trip for two to Melbourne (not overseas but still a pretty good score, eh?) to watch Liverpool play Melbourne at the MDG. He and a mate even got to met Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler and be part of a YouTube video – Liverpool Crossbar Challenge 2013.

His third win was through a creative Facebook competition – five nights in Phuket, Thailand which he used as a second honeymoon with his wife. This one was worth about $5,000.

The last one, which he won only a month or so ago through a competition run by Bendon underwear, is his biggest win so far. “Worth a whopping $12,000” he tells me, “it includes eight night’s 5 star accommodation for two, all meals and return flights to San Francisco, USA.”

     So, what does it take to have so much success with travel prize competitions? Well, according to Surferboy, winning these amazing trips is not just about being lucky: he works hard at it. As he tells me “to win a travel prize, you have to be dedicated. It takes roughly 60-100 entries into different competitions, to win one”. It is just as well he loves entering competitions but he mainly only enters the travel ones. Surferboy’s best tip is to just have fun with the 25WOL answers (but he does find that rhyming ones don’t work for him). “If the answer makes you laugh,” he suggests, “it is likely to make the judges laugh too. This can often better your chances of winning.”  And he also reminds me that putting the product name into the answer can help too. “It takes skilland lots of time but when you get that winning call or email or you’re heading to the airport for a free trip…it keeps you coming back for more…”

     So now, how do you find those great travel prize competitions? There are always plenty of current travel prize competitions on this website at any one time (at the moment there are heaps!). Check in daily and then if you are looking for any that you think you might have missed, search the site by clicking on travel in the Category section or type ‘holiday’ or ‘cruise’ etc into the general search function on the site.

It also pays to keep an eye on the websites or Facebook pages of airline companies and travel booking agencies, not just for cheap flights and holidays but also for competition promotions. If you are a member of your state motorist association (like NRMA in NSW or RACV in Victoria etc) it is worth scanning their monthly magazines and websites for competitions and other offers. Then there are the motel and hotel chains, like Best Western and Hotel Club or camping and caravanning sites like BIG4 Holiday Parks and the major cruise companies that operate out of Australia. Finally it also makes sense to register with as many Tourist Organisations as possible. This might mean you will be bothered in your inbox from time to time but it could be worth it. I would subscribe to both Aussies ones and any overseas destinations that take your fancy.

So, good luck, don’t give up and happy travelling!

Photo attribution – Horizons2035

Zen and the Art of Day-to-Day Comping

 

 

It was roughly a year and a half ago that I came up with the bright, if not slightly insane, idea of writing this weekly blog. And so, it began and continues. Although I have been entering competitions (or ‘comping’) for most of my life, it has only been fairly recently that I decided to take it more seriously when I found I had more time on my hands. However as serious as it has been over this last year or so, it has also been heaps of fun and I still get a real buzz when the prizes arrive at my door. It keeps me going.

Some people think I am a little crazy but it does pay to be at least a little crazy especially when putting together those ubiquitous 25 words or less answers to some pretty weird questions. As crazy as I might seem to others, I can only say that it is not only the prizes that attract me (although they are always welcomed and often gifted on) it is also the creative challenges that keep me engaged.

Comping can be additive but it is also immensely enjoyable, social and rewarding as long as you are not disappointed and put off too soon when you realise that it is actually quite difficult to win that overseas holiday you have always dreamed of winning or that new car (but many people do win theses so there is always hope and it pays to be persistent). If you read through the blogs and on the forum you will find it is quite possible and often easier than you might think to win all kinds of things, not to mention the occasional weekend away or restaurant voucher even if you don’t win your dream prize. Then there are all the freebies and the cash from doing regular surveys you can also get if you play your cards right.

I am by no means an expert although I can confess to winning the average of at least one prize a week. But comping is not always about the number of wins: it is about the fun and the challenge. Over the last year or so I have taken a good look at all the ins and outs of comping from various perspectives, had a go at analysing it as much as I could and have tried to come up with as many ideas, contacts, hints and tips as I could fit into my regular blog. I love helping others get started in this fabulous hobby (or lifestyle as some of my comping friends would call it).

If there were just a few things I could write here to sum up what I feel is the best  approach to comping it would be these:-

Be Patient but Persisitant. Approach your comping with patience but it will also be your persistence that will keep you going and in the end, lead to success (keeping in mind that what one person regards as success may be quite different to another).

Be Kind to Others. Just like any hobby, comping is more satisfying and stimulating when you can share your adventure with others – your wins and your disappointments. If you are seriously into comping you might be a little competitive but it will be your kindness and respect for other compers that will enable you to get the most out of it.

Always Thank the Sponsors. If you can get the opportunity this is not only a sign of courtesy but it can pay off in the long run (good karma?). 

Respect the Rules and Enjoy the Ride. Finally, there is no guarantee that you will win a prize no matter how many competitions you enter but the more you learn about comping the more chance you will have. Respecting the rules of competitions is vitally important but even more important, though, is to have fun, be brave, try something a little more creative each time and enjoy the ride….

Photo attribution – Timtak

Winter Comping…Brr…

 

 

It’s almost June and June heralds the start of winter and the start of many winter-themed competitions. Prizes such as holidays in the snow as well as gas heaters, slow cookers, winter recipe books, Ugg boots and the usual books, DVDs, movie and theatre tickets will probably continue to appear over the next few months.

The mid-year months are usually dominated in the media by winter sports and competitions with prizes of footy tee-shirts, scarves and those ubiquitous promotional stubby holders and key rings will probably be everywhere. As a form of relief from these, July might also bring with it promotions at restaurants for Christmas in July festivities otherwise the usual holiday cruises (for those wanting to escape the cold weather), cars and other high value prizes will all still be available if you are prepared to work at winning them. August is probably one of the quietest comping months of the comping year but that doesn’t mean there are still not hundreds if not thousands of competitions out there to find and enter. Maybe August is a good time to look about for competitions that you don’t usually enter; new websites and magazines you have never had the time to browse through before. Then take a little break and get ready for the roller coaster of competitions that are held during the last few months of the year.

Perhaps winter is a good time to win a book (if you still read them that is). It’s not that difficult to win a book or two these days. You know those fast disappearing packages of words made from paper and cardboard. Publishers and book retailers are desperate to promote their recent releases as the market for these paperbacks and hardbacks rapidly diminishes. I have won heaps of books over the years and continue to. They make great presents for my bookish friends. If you are a keen book reader like me and would be happy to win some for yourself or to give away to friends, it is definitely worth entering some of the many run by Publishing Houses through their regular newsletters or through their Facebook pages.

Three that instantly come to mind are Harlequin BooksRandom House and Hatchette Books. To win kids books keep an eye out on family websites as well as Kids Book Review. Websites of popular foodie magazines such as Taste or Gourmet Traveller are great places to find recipe book giveaways. Most of these are also found in the actual magazines as well.

If you have moved beyond books and are now into e-reading (is that a word?) why not keep your eyes peeled for competitions with e-readers as a prize then simply download your reading matter for free.

But how about a free trip to the movies on a cold winter’s day? Movie tickets and DVDs all appear to be some of the easiest prizes to win with new movies being released in cinemas and on DVD and Blu-Ray all the time. They are effortlessly obtained from movie promoters 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 last competition I entered, so those 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 Facebook pages like Icon Film Distribution Australia, Madman or 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 of the particular movie and check out any promotions there too. Websites like Fliks and Video Ezy and radio stations are also good places to keep an eye on for movie giveaways.

Photo Attribution – Climate Change Research