Snap Happy

 

 

Never has it been so easy to take photos. Most of us have mobile phones with inbuilt cameras. Digital cameras are becoming quite sophisticated and small enough to carry in a purse or top pocket. There are also many ways to instantly copy, crop and enhance and then send your snaps to family or friends or upload them to your Facebook page, Instagram, Flickr or a website. It is no wonder that photo competitions are becoming more and more popular by the day.

Once it was only professional photographers who entered competitions. Now they are open to just about anyone. They can be fun, creative and as many other compers don’t want to go to the bother of entering them, there may be a better chance of winning a prize for your efforts.

Since January I have won three prizes for photographs. My husband is a keen amateur photographer and out computer is jam-packed with photos from all kinds of family occasions and holidays around the country. So many I certainly have plenty to choose from whenever I need a photo and my husband doesn’t mind as I always acknowledge that they are his creation. This partnership seems to be working well!

Photo competitions can be based on just about any theme but some of the most popular ones seem to include:-

(1)   Babies and children. These are always popular, especially in parenting magazines and websites. Often the prizes are very attractive too. If you are a proud parent or grandparent you probably already have plenty of these or are more than willing to take some that might be suitable.

(2)   People having fun. Those with lots of happy, smiling faces and can be useful depending of course on the theme of the competition.

(3)   Landscapes and interesting tourist or historical sites. It is always a good policy to take as many as you can while on holidays. They could come in handy at any time and you can always crop or change the view to make them even more interesting.

(4)   Unusual objects or events or scenes taken from an atypical perspective or cropped in tight to reveal something different. Again, it should meet the criteria of the competition theme. And, you never know when you might need them and this exercise can be a bit of fun too.

Pretty much the same rules apply to photo competitions as with other competitions. These include – always stick to the theme and answer the question – make sure your entry is in before the closing date – take care when filling out the entry form – and always read the terms and conditions and any other fine print. However with photo competitions it is also vital you’re your images will impress the judges. Make sure they are unique, sharp with good contrast and the colours are natural (unless you have opted for black and white, which could be interesting). Many photo competitions are just after something fun that goes with their theme. Always make sure you are authorised to share the photos whether published in a magazine or online. Copyright laws are strict and apply to photos as well as written works therefore they must be your own work and not taken from another source.

I have one more tip from my personal experience. If you are not sure about uploading photos to Instagram from your mobile phone or you don’t have one, you can download bluestacks (www.bluestacks.com) onto your PC or Mac and use that instead. It will install a program where you can access android or iphone apps through your computer. That is what I do.

Finally anyone really keen on the idea of photo competitions might like to take a wander around www.photocompetitions.com.au.

 

Everyone needs a getaway by Kenny Louie

Attribution-NonCommercial License

Scam Spotting

 

 

Scams of all kinds have probably been around since time immemorial. Now with the ever-present internet in our daily lives, scams are becoming more common and sophisticated from Nigerian inheritance notifications arriving in our inboxes to fake charities looking for donations to potential love interests on dating websites asking for financial assistance from desperate singles in search of romance. Competitions can also be scams with fake organisers luring willing participants with promises of big prizes then collecting personal data that they then pass on or banking details they can then access.

I haven’t been targeted for too many scams yet although I do have the occasional email informing me that I have won something. When I look a little further into it I know I haven’t won because I also know that I haven’t even entered it. Most of these come from overseas and I never enter international competitions because I am rarely eligible. Mostly these come into my spam box so these are fairly easy to detect and delete.

What I do find irritating is the phone calls I get from businesses and charities after filling out an entry form with a questionnaire. I assume the information and contact details are passed on without my awareness. They aren’t exactly scams though and I can handle them. Thank heavens for caller ID!

Here are some clues I have picked up during the last few months to spot scammers:-

  1. Check that the competitions you are entering are legitimate by looking to their websites. Do a Google search or contact then my email or phone if you are not sure.
  2. Only provide as much personal information in an entry form that you are comfortable with. If you think they ask for too much, give it a miss.
  3. Don’t fall into a trap of handing over money or providing your banking details in order to claim a big prize (or any prize for that matter). Legitimate competitions don’t require this.
  4. If you get an email saying you are a winner or have won a prize, do not reply straight away or click on any links, even ‘unsubscribe’ until you have checked that you have actually entered it and it is legitimate.
  5. Be wary of filling our long detailed questionnaires attached to of following an entry form. The organisers are most probably compiling the information to sell on to third parties who will definitely contact you in the near future.
  6. Compare notes with other compers in Forums or chat rooms or with your comping friends. Others have probably been scammed (or at least approached by scammers) before and will often have good advice on these and other matters.

The best advice to follow is simply the old saying ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’. It is easy to get carried away by the mention of ‘win’ or ‘prize’ and don’t assume that the world is a safe place to spend time. It isn’t so take care because according to the government website ScamWatch (www.scamwatch.gov.au) Australians are handing over $7million a month to internet and telephone scammers. Unexpected prize scams can involve an email, phone call or SMS with the notification of a fake prize where you are encouraged to call a 190 number (which can be very expensive) in order to claim it. Scams hurt many people so if you think anyone you know is being targeted by a scammer, report it immediately through the scamwatch website or call 1300 795 995 to spread the word.

Having said all that about scams there are still hundreds, if not thousands of competitions operating at any given time for real run by reputable companies and organisers. What I have decided to do (for the next few months at least) is to make a list f my favourite products and brands and websites that I can trust and stick to those competitions for a while until I find my comping feet and keep a watchful eye out for scammers.

The scam truck by Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Inspiration

 

 

There is a lot resting on those ‘25 words or less’ answers to competitions. Just a quick survey of the myriad of awesome prizes that await a dedicated comper who can turn their words into something creative that will stand out from the rest, shows this. While a large number of entries submitted to a random draw are more likely to increase your chances of winning, in a skills-based competition it will be the quality of your entry that might make it one of the top ones for consideration by the judges.

With this in mind I have been doing a lot of thinking and a little bit of research to enable me to enter the most reputable competitions with the best entries I can create. Sometimes it’s hard to get inspired but I have recently come across an interesting site – www.winspiration.co.uk. It is full of all the words you might find useful in coming up with a catchy paragraph or rhyme. This site also gave me my first two pieces of good advice. That is to be prepared and think theme.

Christmas and New Year have already come and gone. So have Australia Day, Valentines Day and St Patricks Day. So many of the competitions over the last few months have had questions based on themes around these key dates. With Easter closing in fast and in order to get a head start on other compers, its time to think Easter. We’re talking Easter hat parades, chocolates, Easter eggs, Easter holidays. There is very likely to be questions such as ‘what is your favourite destination for your Easter holidays?’ or ‘your favourite chocolate recipe’ or the like. Any photos you have stored away with Easter themes might come in handy too. Mothers Day in May will be next but why not get even more prepared by thinking winter too. Such as winter sports, your favourite winter recipes, snow and skiing and how you love to spend your winter nights.

The third piece of advice that I have gained from personal experience is to be a little quirky. Easier for some than others, I must admit. It just takes a little time to think outside the square, play with some words and ideas and come up with something a little different. I find a walk around the block helps. Chatting with a friend or two can also start a new train of thought. But don’t be too worried if you can’t come up with something unusual, just give it your best shot.

It is always a good idea to mention the sponsor’s brand or product in your answer but only if it makes sense and doesn’t look too much like you are just trying to impress them and haven’t given much other thought to your answer. There needs to be a genuine feeling about it too as they want it to reflect their brand and may use it for further promotion. Those are my forth and fifth pieces of advice.

The sixth involves an ongoing conundrum – to rhyme or not to rhyme. As these skilled-based competitions are judged and all judges have different ideas about what entries will be entitled to win prizes, it is difficult to know in advance whether a rhyming answer will impress or not. If you can put in more than one entry you could try one rhyming one and one non-rhyming one. Otherwise you might just have to take a punt. I have won prizes with rhyming answers and I still do submit them but I try not to be too corny. If you don’t feel creative enough to rhyme your answers have a look at www.rhymer.com. That might help.

Finally it is vital to always keep to the word count. If it is 25 words they are after, then make sure you only write 25 words. Some entry forms count the words for you which is very useful if you are making it up on the spot, but I prefer to think about the answers for a while first, write them on a piece of paper and when I am completely sure I can do no better, enter them. But I am a little old school. For those who might like help with counting their words online I suggest trying www.wordcounter.net. It will count words and characters.

*inspiration* by Cornelia Kopp
Attribution-ShareAlike License

Chance vs Skill

 

 

Does it often frustrate you when looking for an interesting competition that most require a 25 words or less answer to a question of some other task to complete as a requirement to enter? I used to feel that way but now I see these as a creative challenge and a bit of fun. The more challenging they are the less I think about not winning, like the Amaysim competitions I have been entering lately.

One of the main reasons that competitions require a task to enter, rather than just a random draw (like Lotto or a raffle) is that there are very tight legal requirements and permits to apply for to set up one if the winners are to be chosen by chance alone. Random draw competitions attract large numbers of entries as very little effort needs to be made and often the prize (usually only one, but not always) is very appealing. Have you ever seen the queues in newsagencies when the Lotto prize on offer that week is in the high millions? Although Lotto, Lucky Lottery tickets and Scratchies cost a few dollars or more, most random draw competitions are free, therefore the number of entries, if well promoted can be huge.

On the other hand competitions that require a little effort and perhaps a little skill attract proportionally less entries and even though it may at first seem a bit daunting to have a go, you actually have a better chance of winning something if you do. It just depends on how unique, engaging and creative you entry is and how much effort you have put into it.

Once I got the hang of creating 25 words or less answers, I began to see that it wasn’t as difficult as I first believed. Of course most of them don’t win prizes, but some do. Those I keep a record of my best and recycle them (with a few changes) for other competitions. The winning ones depend entirely on what the judges are looking for and what appeals to one might be quite different from what appeals to another.

It really is worth honing your writing skills. Consider aspects of writing like use of strong emotive words, some reference to the sponsor or their products, perhaps with a little rhyme. What is definitely required is the ability to ‘write tight’ and you need to develop a unique writing style that catches the judges’ attention. A friend of mine found http://www.wikihow.com/Win-a-25-Words-or-Less-Competition – with some excellent advice through WikiHow that might be worth checking out. An earlier post – How to Win a 25 Words or Less Competition is worth re-reading too.

Writing tight is a skill that can prove lucrative in other ways too. I have won prizes by writing ‘letters to the editor’ in magazines and Sunday papers commenting on articles written in earlier issues. Quite good prizes at that with a better chance of winning than with many competitions, I must admit. There are also writing opportunities and competitions for micro-fiction (that is stories written in less than 200 words, sometimes as little as 25 words or 140 characters). They can be quite entertaining to read too.

Some competitions are presented as games which do not require writing skills but will still require a little effort to enter. One extreme example of this is the Stock Market Game run by the Australian Stock Exchange. I have just registered. It will be a hard one to win but the main aim of the game which gives you $50,000 of virtual money to trade shares in three months is to learn about share trading not to necessarily win the $3,000 prize at the end.

The other skill worth developing is photography. Competitions requiring the uploading of a photo are becoming increasingly popular. In fact of the four prizes I won in January, three were for photographs. It is very easy to take photos in this digital age but it may take a little extra effort to make them especially appealing. I use Photoshop to crop and enhance contrast or colours but there are many other applications that can do the same available today. I guess I am a bit behind the times. I will take a more detailed look at photo competitions in the future but for now – just keep on snapping!

Buy to Win

 

 

A bulky unsolicited letter package arrived in the mail today. Inside was a mail order catalogue with WIN in big letters splashed across the front page followed by ‘one of these fabulous prizes’ which included $20,000 cash, a diamond bangle and a selection of ruby jewellery. Then, of course, came the catch – ‘order today to be eligible’. To buy or not to buy? That is the question I need to ask myself when confronted with the large variety of competitions that require a product purchase to enter

Obviously the main aim of competitions (or trade promotions as they are known in the corporate world) is to encourage more potential customers to try their products to ultimately increase sales and raise brand awareness in the marketplace so having to purchase a product to enter seems perfectly logical. But is it reasonable for me to buy everything I come across just to enter the competition? Will I be tempted? Will it be worth it?

I don’t usually buy through mail order catalogues but this time I thought ‘what the heck’, flipped through the pages and found a couple of things that might come in handy. So I filled out the order form and sent it off. I’ll wait and see but I won’t hold my breath.

One of the most alluring competitions lately (it has ended now) was through McDonalds, the prizes being 28 Subaru’s in 28 days. To go into the draw you had to buy one o f their meals. As much as I would love a new car I’m not into fast food so I looked into my local IGA supermarket for some other ideas. I was lucky. There were a few competitions. All I had to buy was two Golden Circle products (I bought a tin of pineapple slices so pineapple upside down cake will definitely be on the menu this week) and a jar of Vegemite and one of peanut butter (we always need these). The last one was through Dairy Farmers – buy a litre of milk (always need this too). The instructions on the bottle were to enter through www.preferredmilk.com.au to go into a draw to win prizes including a number of coffee machines. All entries now in!

I am sure these ‘purchase to enter’ competitions work for businesses otherwise they wouldn’t keep running them. I have actually bought products in the past to enter competitions, come to like them and continue to buy them, for a while anyway.

There are some competitions that my way unexpectedly simply by buying something I actually wanted. Such as the other day when, along with my package of clothes ordered through Ezibuy came a leaflet offering $1000 spending spree as a prize by writing a review online. No worries. Easy. Done. Have I mentioned before that a couple of years ago I won a $100 voucher from them for doing absolutely nothing? I don’t buy from them for the competitions – I actually like their clothes.

I suppose the end result of all my musings on this topic has resulted in the idea that it is probably best to only buy products to enter competitions that you either:-

(1) need yourself

(2) can give to someone else as a gift

(3) would seriously like to try or

(4) is not too expensive or can be justified as part of your budget.

The most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS ask for a receipt and keep it somewhere safe. Nearly all ‘purchase to enter’ competitions will require you to provide a receipt as proof of purchase to claim a prize. There would be nothing worse than winning a prize but not being able to claim it as you didn’t ask for a receipt, keep it safe or you had lost it.

I will put together more on this next week when I take a close look at ‘the fine print’ – that is the terms and conditions you need to adhere to tightly when you enter competitions in order to win. I’m getting to figure all that out as I proceed slowly along my journey. I’m glad you are joining me.

The Fine Print

 

 

I searched my office high and low and dug through all the drawers in my house for at least fifteen minutes until I found it: my magnifying glass. This is fast becoming an essential tool for my competition journey. How else can I possibly read all the terms and conditions that accompany every competition (every legitimate one that is)? I am now trying to cautiously read the fine print for each one I think would be interesting enough to enter to make sure I am not wasting my time. Most people don’t read them at all (so I believe) which is a shame as here are a few more reasons I have learned to carefully read them:-

(1) Who’s Running It.

It makes sense to be fully aware of who is actually running the competition. Sometimes this is a bit vague. If you are unsure about the origins of a competition you can simply go directly to their website to get further information. Is there someone you can contact if you need to? It also helps when planning your entry to know as much as possible about the organiser as it is always a good policy to make a positive mention of the company, brand or products in any answers.

(2) Eligibility

It is also important to check your eligibility to enter. Most competitions require entrants to be over 18 years. Sometimes children over 13 can enter but they must have their parents consent. Is it being run in your state? Regulations vary from state to state to state but all this can be found in the fine print.

(3) The Closing Date

There is nothing more annoying than spending time putting together your wonderful entry and then discovering that the competition has actually expired. The opening and closing dates will be spelt out in detail often also with details of the dates of various draws if it is being run over a long period of time. This is essential information. Mark them on your calendar and don’t forget them!

(4) The Prize Pool

Details of the total prize pool and the value of the prizes (usually RRP not necessarily cost to the sponsors), the prize conditions (such as not transferable or able to be exchanged for cash) will be found here as well as how winners will be contacted and able to claim their prizes. I always want to know all this well in advance. Obviously I don’t sit by the phone on the day the entries are drawn. I just get on with entering the next one.

(5) The Method and Number of Entries Allowed

Are there a number of methods of entry? Can you enter by mail if you don’t want to put your contact and personal details online? The fine print will also spell out the number of entries allowed and the approximate cost of an entry is by phone or SMS. Be careful. These are bits of information that are more important than you might suppose.

(6) Proof of Purchase

Do you need to get and keep a receipt with a purchase? I tend to ask for a receipt just in case because it is usually too late once you leave a shop with the required product but without a receipt and then realise you need one. I have a safe place to keep them and I always follow my advice – and ask for a receipt.

(7) Privacy

A lot of competitions these days ask for quite a bit of information. It is usually when asked to register at a website to join as a prerequisite to entering. Or when you ‘like’ a Facebook page and then you agree to allow access to your personal information and contacts. Privacy is of utmost concern to all of us these days so the terms and conditions may alert you to what you may need to provide to the organisers and how they may use it. Watch out – before you inadvertently agree to something – you may regret it at a later date.

Now I am getting used to reading the fine print is seems to only take a few minutes to scan quickly though these points and then feel confident when I tick the ‘I have read to terms and conditions’ box that usually accompanies an entry form. I certainly don’t want to miss out on anything that could hinder getting hold of a prize that belongs to me by not following the rules. Oh, by the way I won a Yoghurt Making Kit and a Totem Tennis Set this week. So it’s still happening!

Help Me Write An Argumentative Essay

 

 

You realize the relationship isn’t likely to go anywhere, however, you don’t wish to harm him. Notify him help me write an argumentative essay that you really trust he detects somebody who will cherish help me write an argumentative essay him the way he warrants to be liked–then help me write an argumentative essay reiterate that it is just not you. Being the person who concludes the connection is horribly tough too, although being left is excruciating. Get right to the idea. Like, in the place of declaring “you do not make me happy,” you might say, ” I’m not unhappy.” Example: Ashley Riot/ Desire Advertising Step help me write an argumentative essay 6: Wish him the most effective. Be sure it is someplace you will manage to abandon easily and quickly, in the event he begins to make factors or a picture become not unheated. Do not add insult to damage by breaking-up on his birthday, perhaps the wedding of the day or Valentine’s with him his pet died. In the same time, be sensitive and pick your terms carefully.

Excuse # 9: i don’t realize basically have sufficient to state to produce a guide that is complete.

You never want him to experience humiliated or ashamed he gets blocked up or teary, if. This will give both time start to move on and for you to recover to you. Example: Ashley Riot/ Desire Media Stage 4: Be for wanting to separation, truthful help me write an argumentative essay along with your partner about your reasons. Nonetheless, also you are only not that into him, showing help me write an argumentative essay him and if he is a guy that is sweet, form, good help me write an argumentative essay it’s over is hard. A breakup may not be possible, however you may still let him down lightly. Have the conversation while seeking in a reflection, or ask a pal that is good to role play along with you.

As an example, if your essay is bound to 300 phrases, help me write an argumentative essay do not produce a 400- composition.

It’s a great idea to rehearse everything you will claim many times before you meet. (Example: Ashley Riot/Need Marketing) Phase 1: Select a day-to remove your sweetheart. Doing so could be completely insensitive, and undoubtedly help me write an argumentative essay completely help me write an argumentative essay ugly. Representation: Ashley Riot/ Demand Media Step 5: Meet with the queries your sweetheart will likely have with true replies and terms that are tactful. Example: Ashley Riot/ Demand Media Ideas & Alerts Try after breaking-up, to avoid connection with your ex lover for around two months. for breaking-up, when proclaiming your reasons, start your paragraphs with “I” instead http://bestessayonline.com/ of placing fault. Example: Ashley Demand Media Phase 3: Satisfy in a position the one that is not too packed with people, although where you are both cozy. Representation: help me write an argumentative essay Ashley Riot/ Desire Advertising 2: Keep your length for atleast per week prior to the date you have established.

Use strain on the handle of the plunger to force down it into the brain.

This gives you time to consider things to not be uncertain you actually desire to undergo with it and to claim. If you are called by him or ceases by, notify him you’re busy. Ensure it’s a completely trivial time. Your boyfriend can also be more help me write an argumentative essay likely to sense that something is up, and can (preferably) start to make himself emotionally. Do not contact, communication your sweetheart during this period. Never break up with somebody via text message, voicemail or e-mail.

It’s a Digital World

 

 

February had been a bit quiet on the winning front until today when I received an email notifying me that I had won a $200 Visa card from my photographic entry in the Postcode Portraits competition. Thanks realestate.com.au! Not a lot happening otherwise, but I persist…

So…after scanning a wide variety of competitions for the past few weeks it has finally come to my attention (I can be a bit slow at times) that I need to get a little more techno-savvy. Very few competitions these days (apart from the Puzzles Pages – see last blog post) can be entered into only by mail. Nearly all require an entry via email, SMS, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (to name the most popular ones there are probably more). I have a desktop computer and a laptop. I recently acquired an android tablet from a friend who got it free through an NRMA promotion. I use it mainly to play Candy Crush, but I digress. Last year I won my Nokia smart-phone. So at least I have enough digital equipment. There are quite a few competitions at the moment offering tablets and smart-phones as prizes so if you don’t already have one of these you could certainly try to win one.

Email is not a problem for me but I have discovered that it is best to have a separate email account to enter competitions with. Mine is with Yahoo but other free servers such as Gmail or Hotmail would be just as suitable. That way you can weed out any spam that might come through (it probably will, as I have discovered also) and keep an eye on your progress.

More and more competitions are now appearing on Facebook (www.facebook.com) pages. So having your own personal Facebook page seems to be a must, it you are really serious. However be warned that most businesses promoting their competitions will require your to ‘like’ their page and perhaps then to ‘share’ it with all your friends as well. As there is likely to be lots of follow up posts it would be best to warn your family and friends in advance or set up a separate Facebook page for competitions only. Of course you can always ‘unlike’ the pages you don’t want feed from, after the competition has ended but then again you might miss out on another one at a later date. While you are on Facebook make sure you have ‘liked’ competitions.com.au to keep you up-to-date and it might also be worth checking out and ‘liking’ EnterComps to follow their listings as well.

I got myself into a bit of bother this morning when I realised that I had to upload my entry into the book Depository bookmark competition onto a Flickr (www.flickr.com) page. Then I discovered it wasn’t really all that hard. I logged in through my Yahoo account and off it went. Problem solved. Easy! Joining Instagram (www.instagram.com) was also relatively straightforward so I am now well and truly prepared now for any more photo competitions.

I’m not so sure about Twitter (www.twitter.com) but I have set up an account in case anything interesting comes my way. I still need to get my head around this one but you never know I might get to like it: I have always like things short and sweet.

As for SMS or phone-in competitions – I don’t usually enter these but if you do (and your fingers can nimbly get around your smart-phone keyboard – mine can’t) make sure you are fully aware of the cost of the call. They are often to 1900 numbers and the cost of the call can be more than you might expect if you have to leave a lot of details. And I don’t like sharing my mobile number to just about anyone.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when all you needed to do was to buy a raffle ticket or put your name and contact details on the back of an envelope. But those days are gone and it’s time to embrace the digital world in which we all now live. Of course the greatest advantage of the internet and the speed with which we can all now connect is being able to instantly access and review all the competitions available to us – like here at www.competitions.com.au.

Puzzles for Prizes

 

 

Who loves puzzles? I do and so does my husband. If you haven’t yet noticed it, more and more women’s magazines are offering a substantial list of prizes every week puzzles and sending in the answers in a coupon. Life was a bit chaotic at my house last week while we were dealing with a death in the family, so I headed off to my local newsagent and grabbed a few magazines to take my mind off things for short bursts.

The cover of the issue of That’s Life offered $80,045 worth of prizes and Take 5matched it with another $80,000. Both had a car as a main prize but also hundreds of smaller prizes from jewellery to kitchen aids, DVDs to scarves and a splattering of $50, $100 and even $2000 prizes in cash. New Idea had a smaller section of puzzles for prizes at the back. I scanned with interest a vast array of puzzles books offering prizes on the newsagent shelves as well. I grabbed one of these for my mum who is in a nursing home. I think it should keep her busy for a few weeks then plan to send the entry coupon in and see what happens.

As thrilling as the prospect of winning these prizes is at first, I am also aware that it is probably not worth getting too excited as the circulation of these popular magazines is very high – probably in the hundreds of thousands each week. Of course not every reader will send the coupons in but even if you get the puzzles right you are still competing with a lot of people and therefore there is still probably a rather large random draw involved. But sitting alongside the long list of winners in the magazines are photos of the smiling faces of some of the big winners so it is always worth being in the race. And doing the puzzles can be fun.

After searching around for a bit and keeping my eyes open I found a couple more less well known magazines with prizes for puzzles. A copy of Active Retirees that my husband brought back from his Probus meeting had a crossword competition with an Akubra hat as a prize (not very exciting but it could make a nice present for someone). I promptly sent that answer off in an email. Then while visiting my doctor I discovered a crossword competition in her monthly newsletter with a $50 voucher as a prize. So off that went too – quick smart. I can always do with a voucher or two.

My husband and I regularly vie with each other with puzzles. Usually this is with the crossword and Sudoku in our daily newspaper. He usually gets the crossword done first and I usually win the Sudoku challenge. Although most of the puzzles in the magazine competitions are fairly straightforward and not too challenging, there are a few that can stump both of us. So we searched on the internet and found a couple of websites to help. The one that my husband uses the most is www.the-crossword-solver.com. Of course a dictionary is the essential tool for doing crosswords. Because anagrams are not the easiest puzzles for me, the site that I use the most is www.anagram-solver.net  which I access on my phone (so I can just loll around in my pyjamas on the lounge in the morning while doing them).

These puzzle magazines do cost a few dollars each (and every week if you do intend to get serious – like me) but on the other hand if you don’t manage to win a prize at least doing the puzzles can keep your mind alive while having a little break from entering all the other competitions.

Could be worth a try – I’ll keep you posted!

Time to get Organised

 

 

Getting Organised

I always get such a buzz when I see my name among a list of competition winners. It is even more exciting when the prize arrives at my front door with a courier. The other day two packages arrived. The first was a Lego Pack (a perfect present for my 4 year old grandson) for a photo competition through Kidspot. The other was a recipe book (I’ll keep that one) I won after sending a recipe to Ageless magazine. I have also been notified through a Facebook message that movie tickets are on the way from the Summer Fun competition at IGA Supermarkets. “Not bad,” I said to myself as I looked back at my first few weeks but then again I did enter lots of competitions. However I must also admit that I am pretty disorganised!

Getting Organised

So I came to realise that I needed to get organised. My first stop was to my local newsagent. First I registered for a Players Card with the NSW Lotteries (a $5 investment). That way if I do win anything in Lotto or the $5 Lucky Lottery (my favourite – as there is, apparently, a 1 in 16 chance of winning something with this one) I won’t miss out.

Next I needed stationery.  So here is what I plucked from their shelves and gratefully bought:-

  1. A box of DL envelopes (to send out any entries by mail).
  2. A box of 60c stamps.
  3. Two small notebooks. One to keep a record of all the passwords etc when I register with websites in order to enter their competitions, e.g. Mindfood, Heart and Soul or The Huggies Club. The other one to write down some of my better WOL entries that could be recycled into another competition.
  4. A small box to put all my receipts in when I have to make a purchase to enter.
  5. A calender to record closing dates and other notes for future reference.

A Little Bit of Analysis

Then I decided to have a good look at the competitions I had actually won (or at least got a prize) in the past.  My first competition win was in my early 20s, not long after the excitement of my father’s lottery win began to fade, was six months supply of shampoo. I won it by creating a slogan for the shampoo brand and sending it off along with a coupon from a women’s magazine I was reading while on holiday. The prize was waiting for me when I got home a few months later. The shampoo had an apple fragrance and I can still recall the smell some forty-odd years on.

Very few prizes over the years since have been from random draws. Those that did came from competitions that were local and small: a huge hamper from my bank when I opened a new account and a $200 voucher after purchasing a lottery pack through my local newsagent. The rest required some effort. Two of my latest wins were from uploading photos of my grandchildren. Both photos had lots of smiles and fitted the criteria exactly. The other one required providing an old family favourite recipe which even though was more work than just filling out an entry form turned out to be a lot of fun putting together. So it seems it is a good idea to keep a stash of happy family photos on hand. I also made a mental note that if I cooked something interesting and a bit different and delicious I would jot down the recipe and take a picture of it. You never know when that might come in handy.

But at the end of the day it appears to win a few prizes you need to enter a lot of competitions. So I have now resolved to enter at least two competitions a day, one random draw and one requiring some work. Although I will probably enter a lot more.

I am often told – ‘you must be very lucky’ – but I have come to realise that it is not just luck that makes things happen. You also need to be organised and prepared. As the old saying goes:

Luck favours the well prepared. So get organised.Unknown

But good luck anyway.

Recipes! by Andy Melton

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License