This month you can find a little interview with me in Moneywise magazine, where I talk about the benefits of comping. My previous press features have been women’s weeklies and national newspapers, so it makes a change to feature in a completely different type of publication! Most of the articles I’ve featured in have been about the eccentricity of my hobby and the quirky prizes it brings in – but comping can be a great source of bonus income if you focus on the right type of prizes!
Unlike the USA, we don’t have to pay tax on prizes in the UK, which is great news. If you’re comping with the aim to save money on everyday living, then avoid entering for prizes like event tickets or glamorous trips abroad – the cost of travel and treats (cocktails at the bar of your expensive hotel, new shoes to wear on the red carpet, taxis to get there…) will soon add up. If you’re looking to be more frugal, focus on entering competitions to win cash, vouchers, gifts – and my favourite, the ‘year’s supply of….’!
Apply for TV game and quiz shows for the chance to win large sums of tax free cash – check out my post Top tips: Get on a TV game show. Tune in to the radio too – although not as lucrative as it was in the 2000s (when I used to easily win £4k of prizes a year from Heart, Smooth and Trent FM in Nottingham) it can still be a good source of cash prizes. As well as cash, your local station will give away meals, tickets and vouchers for shops, which can save you lots on family days out.
Vouchers are a super practical prize. Search for competitions offering prizes of supermarket, Love2Shop and Amazon vouchers, which will cover the cost of your day-to-day purchases – I find Amazon vouchers are almost as good as a cash prize! Shopping centres and designer outlets regularly give away vouchers to spend in store – be sure to like them on Facebook, follow on Twitter and look out for promotions in the centre itself. Last year I bagged £500 to spend at Bridgend Designer Outlet (in a Pinterest comp with just 2 valid entries) and £250 to spend at Brighton Churchill Square (I was the only valid entrant).
A year’s supply of…
I love ‘win a year’s supply of’ competitions – because they save you money for a whole 12 months! Olive oil, magazine subscriptions, Pampers nappies, Kurt Geiger shoes, Carlsberg lager, Asda cleaning products, Bahlsen Biscuits, Toni & Guy haircuts, Gucci perfume, Dermalogica skincare, David Lloyd gym membership – I’ve won a year’s supply of all these, and it saves a fortune! Find them by Googling “win a year’s supply of...”
Plan ahead for Christmas and birthdays with a wish list of the toys, perfumes and vouchers your family would like. I do very well with comps in kids comics, and rarely have to buy anything for my son’s birthday! Prizes like bouquets or gift hampers are excellent, as you can ask the promoter to post them as presents to family for birthdays, anniversaries and Mothers Day.
If comping is a money-saving hobby for you, I really do recommend that you DON’T ENTER FOR PRIZES YOU DON’T WANT. It’s a waste of time and energy. Leave that prize for somebody who will appreciate it, and focus on winning things that you actually need in your life! You might enter with a plan to sell the prize if you win, but eBay selling fees and postage costs are high and often it’s not worth the hassle. There are thousands of competitions running in the UK right now, so don’t just enter the small fraction that are listed on The PrizeFinder or MoneySavingExpert websites. Go out and search for the prizes you really want, in local papers and shopping centres, on the radio, on Google or Twitter – you’ll find low entry competitions and have a lot more success!
Have you won a big cash prize, or a prize that’s saved you lots of money? Let me know!