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!
A family holiday to Tenerife saved me lots of money, all inclusive, it was amazing. A years supply of chocolate was one of my fave wins, able to share and give as presents. Not necessities but amazing treats I would not normally be able to afford 🙂
great advice di and thanks for sharing. 🙂
I’ve often thought though, where prize draws are concerned, the stranger or more unique your name the more chance you have. Must be lots of “Smith’s” entering but you never see many win. I’ve noticed it more and more on Facebook that it’s always the ones with more unique names win more. When I used my partners surname I hardly won. Went back to using my surname and I won more.
Having said that, I see a lot of “Amy Coopers-Mummy Johnsons” (Fake name by the way! Be really spooky if that girl exists AND is a comper) winning! I think Di Coke is a brilliant name for comping by the way. Have you ever won with coca cola before Di? x
I love your blog. It’s always so helpful and friendly. Many thanks Di x
Lovely interview Di, well done! I won £7000 which we spent on getting married in Florida. Then 2 years later I won a trip back to Florida on the radio, but as you said, it’s expensive, so sadly I had to sell the laptop I’d just won to pay for the spending money. I do focus a lot on local/days out comps, so far this year I’ve had a trip to see Grumpy Old Ladies at the theatre, local Hotel breakfast/spa day, Sea Life for my son’s birthday, Grand Designs, EA Country Fair & cinema tickets. I’ve got Alton Towers & Dinosaur Park tickets ready for the holidays. I paid for Max’s new ‘space’ room with an amazon voucher plus won the rocket lamp to go with it. After a while it starts sinking in to aim for what you need rather than just anything.
The timing of certain wins really can make a difference in your life. Once we had just moved and didn’t even have a Christmas tree and I lost my job. I won Kingfisher vouchers and bought a tree from B&Q & our daughter’s pressies from Woolworths. They really did save us that year. The following year we were back on our feet when I was made redundant. I was resorting to charity shops when I won £750 M&S vouchers. We lived like Kings! They were both from letters to magazines. I really think it’s good to work on your ‘forte’ as you do with blogs, pics and vids, I get quite a few letters published. I’ve had hair tongs & a DAB radio this year from star letters plus you’ll often see me grinning at you from Pick Me Up etc, dishing out advice! I follow the mags’ facebook pages & respond to their questions, the cheques add up and cover stamps etc.
Magazine letters is an excellent tip! I have it on my list of ‘to do’ blog posts – every so often I have a flurry of sending in photos and have bagged a few vouchers and bottles of wine from getting them printed! In many cases you already have the photo from a creative competition entry, so you can just whizz it off with a funny story to a women’s magazine too!
I won £1000 of Kingfisher vouchers once too – SO handy!
Yes it’s great to reuse them, the FB pages help too because obviously they want xmas photos from September etc. Yes I do love vouchers, not had a big win on them for a while. And I miss Woolies! Charlotte was about 6, that was a magical, Sylvanian Christmas!
When I was about 13 I sent off a picture of myself (it was my passport photo!) to a magazine for a skin advice page and they printed it, answered my question and sent me £50. £50 at 13 was huge 🙂 I think that’s when I got the urge to comp hehe x
If you have the time, it’s well worth doing the surveys that say you can win cash for taking part – a few years ago I won £3,000 from doing a Harris poll that I filled in while feeding my baby daughter (she’s now 10 so this is a while back but they do still run the same draws).
Great tip Alexandra! I’ve won vouchers by completing surveys from Mum websites that specifically look for parents of children in a certain age group!
I won with Key103 a couple of weeks ago, Rattan garden furniture, Canon Camera, Tent + 4 Sleeping bags picnic hamper and festival survival kits plus a Weber BBQ. Totals about £1500 in prizes. I didnt realise it was a daily entry one as i only entered the once via an email i got from them. I couldnt of been happier as i had been after garden furniture for a while and a new bbq as ours was on its last legs and as for a camera i had been trying for one of the small ones but this is an amazing one. The lovely PR company arranged for quick delivery within a few days of winning. When i got the phone call i was in shock i never ever dreamed of getting a call like that, you enter in hope of winning but to get that call was an amazing feeling.
I love winning telephone calls – I always get excited when I see ‘Number witheld’ on my phone, even though these days it’s often a spam call about PPI or that imaginary traffic accident I had!
Not a big cash prize but I won a bottle of wine the other day on JP Chenet Spot the Boule, it’s a start 🙂
I started comping last June and I think between June and December I won around 10K’s worth of prizes and so far this year, I’m up to 10K again. In the last week alone I’ve won over 40 competitions including a luxury 2 night hotel stay (with unlimited use of the jacuzzi… yes please!) as well as cash, amazon vouchers, bundles of beauty products etc etc etc. I seem to get better at this every month… the longer I have been comping, the more successful I’m becoming.. It’s a slow climb towards my dream holiday, a trip to the USA but I really do feel like it’s achievable now 🙂 x
You’re very positive Natalie, and that’s a great first step towards winning your dream prizes! I hope you have passports sorted for you and your daughter for your US trip – just after I got Ryland’s first passport, we won a trip to Barcelona! 😉
Sadly not! My passport expired 3 months after my last trip in 2007. Bridie has no passport yet! Who was the Barcelona win with? 🙂 x
Natalie Crossan I think you need to give us some tips too! 40 in one week?! Do you search out low entry, creative comps or is it about commitment? Great article again Di. I never have time for google searching for comps or searching out low entry. Perhaps that would be a better use of my time (I do love a creative comp tho and it is definitely where I have most luck) x
Plus I really enjoy seeing all the other entries and the winning one with creative comps – so much fun and such interesting ideas
Thanks Natalie. You are doing great! I love hearing other compers stories. I’ve had 5 parcels today ranging in value from a bottle opener to a kindle fire. I love my hobby!
Hi Julia. Bit of a mix of everything. I like to do everything I find on TPF & Loquax (I know people use MSE too but I find it’s just a bit repetitive!) just to “get them out of the way” as they tend to be the most known about comps but you never know! I spend a lot of time searching out low entry and then occasionally enter creative comps, it’s the one thing I need to really improve on, the creative comps. I find however, entering a mix of everything, low entry/high entry/ones with daily entries etc etc etc really helps. For example, I’ve won lots of comps lately where there were a handful of entrants but I also won a Twitter comp that had over 4,000 entries for a Smart TV 🙂 I am a firm believer in, the more you enter – the more you’ll win! I’ve just had an email to say I’ve won a voucher for some chips (not a huge prize!) and also a hamper full of crisps 🙂 Practice makes perfect though and I’m always looking to improve. Comping is a fantastic hobby as you can never ever enter everything so there’s always something fun to do 🙂