Setting up a prize spreadsheet to track competition wins

It’s a new year and we’re all raring to get winning! Get ready to welcome all those shiny new prizes into your home by creating a spreadsheet to record all the details. Unlike a notebook, a spreadsheet enables you to tally up totals easily – you can also search it and create pie charts to see how well you do with different types of comps. 

Here’s a screenshot of my 2021 prize spreadsheet to show how it works:

At the top you can see I have a green highlighted row – the ‘value’ in this row contains a formula and automatically updates with a running total when a new prize is added. If I’m not sure on a prize value I try to estimate it – if I’ve not had a prize delivered yet I’ll leave the value box blank until I know exactly what I receive.

It’s always exciting in December to look back over the year and see the total value of all your prizes – check out my 2021 comping year blog post for a complete breakdown of the statistics and graphs I have from my spreadsheet!

Over the years I’ve added new columns to my basic spreadsheet. I track whether I’ve responded to the winning notification, and also have a column to track if I’ve featured the prize in my monthly unboxing video on YouTube. Where possible I try to thank the promoter too, so I make a note of how I do it (usually a tweet or Instagram story).

I use Google Drive to create my spreadsheet – log in at http://drive.google.com using a Google or gmail account. The Drive app is also worth downloading to your mobile device. Using Google means you can access and add to your prize spreadsheet from your computer, phone or anywhere in the world.

Why keep a prize spreadsheet?

It’s useful to:

  • calculate the value of the prizes you win over a certain period of time
  • check on the prizes you’ve not yet received and the date you won them, so you can chase them up after 28 days
  • give you a boost during a dry spell – you’ll be surprised how many small prizes you win, and making sure you list all those little wins will help you feel more positive and enthusiastic
  • see which type of competitions you’re most successful with, and should be focusing on
  • remind yourself to say THANKS to the promoter, which is really appreciated
  • see how you’re doing if you set yourself regular comping goals – eg. to win a prize a week, or to win ten Instagram competitions in 2022!

Check out my Comping Year post to see how I use the information from my spreadsheet to do my annual comping success report.

How to set up your prize spreadsheet

It’s as simple as that! The box at the top will automatically update with your running total of prizes. 

Spreadsheet tips

  • Hover over the letters at the top of the columns and a small down arrow appears – tap this and you can Sort Sheet A>Z. Using this tool you can sort your prizes into value order, or type of competition – reset it by sorting the Date column.
  • Delete or insert columns by clicking on the arrow at the top of a column
  • If you tap Return in a cell, the cursor moves to the cell below – use Option-Return to start a new line in the same cell
  • Change the width of columns by hovering between the letters until a blue bar appears, then drag the bar across
  • Use different colours for text or background by highlighting a row, column or cell and clicking the A or the paint bucket in the top menu.
  • Freeze rows at the top of a spreadsheet, so when you sort the content into alphabetical order those rows are ignored (on my template the top 2 rows are frozen)
  • Create a pie chart or graph by clicking at the top of a column, then going to the option at the end of the menu bar and tapping the bar chart icon.
  • For advanced users, you can add filters to columns by selecting one or more columns, then tapping the funnel icon in themenu. Tap the filter icon at the top of the columns and you can choose which values to display – for example, you can use a filter to only show you prizes you’ve won on Twitter.
  • To search your spreadsheet, go to Edit > Find and replace and type your search term in – keep clicking Find to show all results
  • Save your spreadsheet to your bookmarks bar for easy access!

Expanding your prize spreadsheet

For the last few years I’ve expanded my Prize Spreadsheet into a Comping Spreadsheet, by adding extra tabs (do this by tapping the plus sign at the bottom of the sheet), so I have:

  • Prizes – prize spreadsheet
  • Effort – list of creative/effort comps I want to enter
  • Entered – effort, purchase or low entry comps I’ve entered

You could also add a Purchase comps tab, to keep track of your barcodes, batchcodes, and unique codes (I used to have a Purchase tab on my spreadsheet, but now use the compers shopping list and a daily task list in the Asana app to track my purchase entries instead!). Or add a tab to track your Text comp entries!

Compers always ask me if it’s worth keeping a spreadsheet of all the competitions they enter. I consider this to be a waste of time and means you’re focusing on the amount of comps you didn’t win, which can be rather deflating! Rather than recording everything, I just save details of the purchase, creative and low entry comps that I enter.

After entering purchase or creative comps I move these over to my Entered spreadsheet. On the Entered spreadsheet I also save links to any particular comps I’ve entered where I believe I have a good chance of winning – maybe a local comp or a comp with very few entrants. Then I can go back and check they announced a winner after the closing date. I highlight a row red if I didn’t win, and green if I did. White rows mean I’ve not heard of a winner, so when I have a spare moment I will contact the promoter to check a winner was chosen!

I hope you do decide to create a spreadsheet for 2022 – and let me know when you’ve added your first prize to it! Wishing you lots of luck for the year ahead.

14 Responses

  1. Sarah Fawcett says:

    Thanks for sharing Di. I’ve had my trusty “Competition Wins” spreadsheet from when I first started comping in 2012. I had a break in 2016 and just returned at the end of August last year.

    I’ve decided to adopt your style of spreadsheet, Google Docs is a great idea and I’ve added in all my previous years to my new spreadsheet so thank you and good luck to us all for 2022

    • Di says:

      Brilliant! Good luck for 2022 Sarah – I’ve just added the first win of 2022 to mine. Just a £5 Love2Shop voucher with Cadbury, but it’s a start!!

  2. Sharon WITHAM says:

    Thank you for these fab tips , i am becoming more tech savy . wishing everyone good luck in 2022

  3. James Darby says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have finally plucked up the courage to get one set up.

  4. Katrina Adams says:

    Hi Di,

    Fantastic organisation. I have multiple spreadsheets, rather than having it all on one but I think I prefer your way so I’m going to have a fiddle round and change them. Can I ask what the colour coding is for in the purchase one?

    • Di says:

      Yellow = must enter this one!
      Green = have entered already but would like to enter again as multiple entries allowed!

  5. Mei says:

    Thanks for the spreadsheet! I note you put your Lidl Cineworld vouchers expiring end of March, mine says end of Feb? I would like longer too 🙂

    • Di says:

      Oops, I misread the date! Yes, mine are end of Feb too. Very soon!

      • Mei Suen says:

        Yes, very soon! Hope the Unlimited card/code comes soon. Then both my husband with the vouchers, and I can go together until end of Feb. He was not lucky enough to win Unlimited. I saw 94 free films last year! One year I saw 132, including 26 premieres and 7 Gala Screenings! Those were the days, not many premiere comps these days 🙂 Only managed 7 premieres/galas last year.

  6. Di says:

    Thanks Maggie – hope you’re well! x

  7. Di says:

    Good luck to you too Jo!

  8. Suzie Wilder says:

    Amazing!!! Great start to the New Year!!! I’m still waiting for lift off!

  9. Hope you have some goodies to add to your spreadsheet soon!

  10. Good luck Lisa!

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