Money saving for Mums: why buy it when you can win it?
I’ll never forget the morning I discovered I was expecting a baby. I excitedly told Rob my good news: “I’ve just won a tenner on the Magnum text comp …oh yeah, and I’m pregnant!”
From that moment I was a woman on a mission. Determined to spend as little as possible on Coke Junior, I collated a list of ‘must win’ prizes. Pushchair, car seat, nappies, clothes, bottles, toys… the list went on. And on.
My first stop was WHSmith, where I spent a small fortune on the entire shelf of baby magazines; I entered every competition and soon received a phone call to say I’d won a £500 Mamas and Papas travel system (it took us the next six months to work out how to use the damn thing!). I also won a freaky Lamaze singing flower, and a BabySense sling. Not a bad start!
After my first scan, I nervously ventured onto online forums. I joined the Mumsnet December 2009 birth club but soon realised I didn’t have the time or inclination to spend 4 hours a day chatting about my tender breasts or birth plan – although I did bag a Britax car seat in one of their comps. I’ve since joined Netmums, Made for Mums, Askamum and Mums like you, all of which run great giveaways – often you need to add a recipe or review, which means less entries and a better chance of winning.
I received several nice prizes from postcards I made featuring our baby scan, and penned a letter to Mother and Baby about maternity pay which won a Medela Electric Breast Pump (I’m sure I wouldn’t have survived without one of these – although the noise level proved embarrassing in the loo at weddings!)
Twitter is a great resource for comps – I won a Mamascarf, Bickiepegs, Born Free goodies and Baby Show tickets from various Tweeps. At the Baby Show I spent ages counting dummies in a jar (with an impatient Mum in tow) but my effort paid off when I received a Nuby starter set and steriliser.
After Ryland was born I was inseparable from my iPhone as I began breastfeeding round the clock, searching Twitter, Facebook and blogs for giveaways. I became a regular on the Babi Pur, VTech, Junior, Lactivist and Bambino Goodies Facebook pages and had a steady stream of prizes arriving, including toys, bibs, vouchers, a Mamaroo and even a bogey clearer! I won several Facebook referral competitions – a Happy Hopper, hamper of Earth Friendly Baby goodies and Weleda products – the trick with these is to recruit friends who love comping as much as you do.
Luckily, Ry isn’t camera shy – he won £100 vouchers in the Disney Store Magical Moments and washable nappies in the Baba Me photo competitions.
If you’re planning to venture into the evil world of voting contests like these (read this blog post before you do!), you will need skin as thick as a rhino. Personally, I prefer a judged, creative competition – my photo of Ry tickling Autumn berries won a Graco pushchair, and his homemade Halloween mummy costume won £400 of Plum Baby food. Yesterday I even took him to the Asda jetwash for this Spring Clean competition photoshoot!
When I won a Flip camcorder, I started entering video comps: ‘Baby’s first trip to the seaside‘, ‘Baby loves Cosatto‘ (you get the idea!) and we won another buggy and an iPhone. Even when my videos aren’t winners, my family and friends love them, and Ry can’t get enough of himself on telly.
I’ve won about £3000 of baby prizes so far, and that’s quite a saving! If this post has inspired you to take up comping, and you’re expecting or are already a mum, here’s what you can do:
- Make a list of everything you want, then find the company/product websites, register for emails, like their Facebook pages and follow on Twitter. Interact and chat with the promoter so they see you as a friendly fan!
- Change your avatar to a photo of your pregnant belly or you with your baby
- Check out my weekly SuperLucky blog comp round up, as the mum and baby competitions get few entries – and visit Playpennies as they post up some great comps on their moneysaving blog
- Concentrate your efforts on creative comps rather than easy prize draws
- Have fun. If you enjoy entering the competition it will be obvious and that should work in your favour – promoters always want a happy prizewinner!
And those are my moneysaving tips for mums! Just remember: why buy it, if you can win it?