Ten great ways to organise your comping

If you want to be a successful comper then it’s essential to be organised, so you can efficiently squeeze as much comping as you can into a limited amount of time – and prioritise entering comps with the best chance of winning!

My new YouTube guide shares ten ways to get organised – keep in mind these are the methods I personally use, so some might work for you and others won’t suit you. But there should be plenty of ideas for everyone to find something useful! If you click to view the video on YouTube you’ll find a list of the ten chapters in the description, so you can quickly jump to each one.

1. File receipts & packaging

If you’re a comper then I’m assuming you already know all about purchase necessary promotions! For most purchase comps – which are all featured on the Compers Shopping List – you’ll need to keep the receipt safely, and sometimes the packaging or code too. Rather than creating a pile of paperwork or a shoebox, get yourself an expanding file with 12 monthly sections (the Rapesco file I use can be bought on Amazon).

When you make a purchase for a competition, get into the habit of using your phone to take a photo of the receipt (and ideally the product or code too) right away. Then file the receipt and/or packaging in the file pocket for the month the competition closes. Most of the time if a winner is asked to show a receipt, you’ll just need to email or upload a photo of it – but sometimes a winner will need to post off the physical receipt, neck collar, label or packaging, so having your organised monthly file will make it easier to find. Keep everything for at least 6 months after the closing date. There are often late entry draws, and sometimes a promoter will need to contact multiple reserve winners if the initial winners don’t respond or can’t provide a proof of purchase (each prospective winner should be allowed 28 days to respond, so it can really drag on!).

See more tips in How to Organise Quallies and POPs

2. Make lists

Lists are super helpful for your comping – list competitions to enter, prizes won, tagging friends, etc. Write your lists in a notebook, diary, planner – or a better way is to use a free app on your phone, which lets you use clickable links and easily move around and delete completed tasks. Try Google Tasks, or just the Notes app.

I use two free apps to make lists – the first is Workflowy (*my referral link), which is really simple to use on a phone and involves creating nested lists. You can easily remove a list item once completed by swiping across the screen!

Here’s a few of the comping-related lists I’ve created on Workflowy:

  • Shopping list – Each day I will check the Compers Shopping List and add any products I want to buy to my personal shopping list (along with all my regular groceries!) 
  • List of vouchers to use and prizes to book – don’t forget to include the expiry dates 
  • List of tagging friends – for social media comps

The second app I use is Asana which I use for my work and home tasks too. 

In Asana you can easily set repeat tasks, so I have a Daily Comps list which appears on my daily tasks each day, plus Weekly Comps and Monthly Comps tasks. I collate these lists from the SuperLucky list of instant wins, the compers shopping list and other comps listed in the Lucky Learners Facebook group. 

In the description of the Asana ‘Daily Comps’ task, I have my list of competitions, where the blue words are links directly to the entry forms. Tasks in bold are my priority comps that I want to try and enter every single day. The moon icon shows winning moments comps that I prefer to enter if I wake in the middle of the night! To this list I will add barcodes, batch codes and unique codes.

Workflowy lists (left) & Asana lists (right)

3. Set up spreadsheets

Lists are good but sometimes you need to include more information, and that’s when you need a spreadsheet! I use spreadsheets for lots of things: to manage finances, organise SuperLucky blog posts and social media, plan family meals for the week, keep track of players signed on to my football club, organise holidays and so much more. And when it comes to comping, spreadsheets are brilliant because sometimes there’s just a bit too much information to include in a simple list.

My main comping spreadsheet is set up using Google Sheets, and has a tab for tracking prizes, and a tab for effort-based competitions I want to enter (I move these across to the ‘entered’ tab when they close). It’s easy to access on my laptop and on my phone by using the Google Drive app. Lots of compers use spreadsheets to track purchase necessary competitions!

Find out how to set up a spreadsheet in my post setting up a prize spreadsheet to track competition wins

4. Use an online calendar

Use an online calendar to record weekly or monthly entry comps, important closing dates, etc. and set email or mobile notifications for events. If a Facebook, TikTok or Instagram Live event is scheduled, put an alarm in your calendar for that too. 

I use a Google Calendar – if you’re using Google Tasks your repeat tasks will automatically sync to your calendar. 

I have set up a Comping Calendar on Google which you can subscribe to, which features all the event days – on event days like BlueMonday, Best Friend Day, World Gin Day, there are usually lots of giveaways so use this as a reminder to search for the hashtag on social media!

To subscribe, go to bit.ly/CompingCalendar then at the bottom of the screen tap the blue + sign to subscribe! Every time I add new events or update the calendar, it will also update your calendar too. 

5. Use a planner

If you prefer writing things down to typing on your phone, you might like to use a planner or journal to track your comping, and use that for your prize lists, tagging friends, etc.

I publish the BootComp Planner which has a week per spread, with room to tally up your entries, note down the comps you want to enter and also record your weekly wins. The planner also has dedicated pages to write your prize wishlist, tagging friends and make other lists and notes. It’s also a handy place to write down the daily Cash Register total!

If you buy a copy of the accompanying BootComp Comping Challenge Workbook you can also join the exclusive BootCompers Facebook group where I share videos, tips and do live Q&As to help with your comping.

6. Build regular comping habits

It can be tricky to create a routine for comping, but if you can do a little bit every single day it will pay off – and having a set time to enter certain comps will help you build comping habits.

For example, first thing in the morning I turn on the radio, and while making a cuppa I check for the latest updates in Lucky Learners (especially the radio competition posts in case there are breakfast show promotions). After breakfast I check for the latest news on the Compers News Chatterbox forum (find out more about Compers News magazine here). In the evening after dinner I go through my phone camera roll to check any comps I’ve spotted during the day, and then I add them to Lucky Learners, the compers shopping list or to my spreadsheet – or simply enter them if they’re straightforward prize draws!. During the day if I have a spare moment waiting in a queue or for the kettle to boil, I’ll check my mentions on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and enter any good comps I’ve been tagged in, and also put in a few free phone calls to the Cash Register or Make Me A Winner comps! 

I have a list of daily entry competitions in Asana and I tend to vary the time I do these because some are instant wins, so my chance of a win increases if I do them very early in the morning or very late at night! If there’s a comp with a restricted entry period, I’ll set a daily alarm on my phone – eg. Walkers Win A Free Lunch is only open for two hours so I set my alarm for 12.35pm. 

Schedule alarms or reminders on your watch, mobile phone or smart speaker. Add events to your calendar and set notifications for them (mobile or email notifications). Some of the most useful are a 3pm alarm to remind you about the Cash Register or Make Me A Winner phone call, or morning alarms reminding you which radio station to listen to for specific competitions. 

You can also set reminders for weekly tasks – for example, doing a Google search for wishlist prizes, or checking your favourite Facebook comping groups for the latest content. 

7. Set up browser bookmarks

Bookmarks save time, and make it easy to get to websites that you visit regularly instead of having to type in the address, or search on Google. For a comper, it’s the perfect way to organise resources like Facebook groups, Twitter lists, competition listings sites and regular entry competitions. Bookmarks are also the best way to handle advent comps in December.

Bookmarks are most useful on a computer, where you can open multiple links at once by right-clicking on a folder name. For example I’ve got all the Radio Comp T&Cs saved as links in a folder, as well as a folder for all my Google wishlist searches. 

Another tip if you use a computer is to set your browser start up pages, so every time you open Chrome or Safari it opens a website links automatically. In Chrome, go to Settings to do this. Choose your favourite comping sites and add them – or if there’s a daily entry comp you really don’t want to miss, add that too. Then every day when you start up your computer and open your browser, you’ll have all these tabs open and ready to go. 

For more on bookmarks, see my post How to use bookmarks in Chrome and Safari

8. Organise your photos

If you have thousands of photos on your phone, organise them by creating folders and albums to save them in – I have many photo albums, from ‘Work’, ‘Halloween’, ‘Christmas, ‘Retro family photos’ to ‘Receipts’ and an ‘Important’ album where I store photos of passport, driving licence, etc. For 2023 I’ve also created an album to store all my prize photos in one place. To put a photo into an album on an Apple mobile device, tap the share icon underneath it (the box with up arrow) then select Add to Album from the pop up menu and create a New Album if necessary. The photo will appear in your album, but also remains in your main library – I hope one day there will be an option to remove the photo when you do this, as I would love to keep all my receipts and comp photos in an album and not see them in my main library!

For some competitions you can enter a photo every day on social media (eg. Vimto selfie, Currys Cash for Trash). Be organised and take these photos in bulk, then save them to a dedicated album on your device and set a reminder to enter one every day. 

Adding photos to your social media comments can help you stand out for a competition – if you have favourite photos of holidays, kids, pets etc, label them or save them into a Comp Favourites folder so you don’t have to scroll through all your gallery to find them!

On an iPhone you can tap to edit a photo and add info – add the supermarket and product names to your receipts. Use search to find keywords in descriptions – but also, your iPhone will search within the photos for that text too. This is a great way to quickly find competition receipts or look for keywords in screenshots or photos.

If I spot a competition while short on time, I will take a screenshot or photo (to take a screenshot on an iPhone you press the buttons either side of the phone at once). Then every evening I check through my camera roll and organise these photos and screenshots – I’ll find the competition online and enter it, or add to my Asana tasks, the compers shopping list or comping spreadsheet. 

If you’re ever stuck somewhere with no internet access then organising, labelling and deleting your phone photos is an efficient way to pass the time!

9. Tidy up your inbox

An overflowing email  inbox is one of the unfortunate side effects of a comping hobby! So get organised by having a big clear out, then you’ll be able to keep on top of it and not miss anything important.

First of all, set up folders in your email inbox – create folders for Home, Shopping, Finances, Family, etc. Then set up folders for your comps – Comps to Do, Prizes won, Newsletters, etc. 

Filter your inbox to view by sender so you’ll see all your newsletters and junk grouped together. respond to or file away important emails into your new folders. Then unsubscribe from the newsletters you never read and delete any junk. If there are newsletters you enjoy, set a rule to file them away into folders so you can check them out when you have time. On a Mac you can also set a rule which will change the colour of an email if it includes the word Congratulations, competition or winner, so it stands out in your inbox – or you can even set it to bounce an icon in the dock if a keyword is mentioned (my inbox displays ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Winner’ emails green, and if the word WIN is in an email it displays as purple).

With what’s left, do separate searches for Competition, Winner, Prize, Congratulations, Runner up and scan quickly through the results. Once you’ve checked all these searches and replied to/filed any important emails, simply Select All and Delete! Then don’t forget to go into your trash can and delete everything in there to make sure it’s all properly trashed. Do this for your junk folder every few days too.

It may take a few sessions to clear your inbox, but once done, go through your inbox at least once a day, deleting, unsubscribing and opening emails to check for comps.

See my post Tips for a tidy inbox for lots of advice on organising your emails.

10. Use autofill & keyboard shortcuts

The autofill function is now built in to web browsers, and should save you time when completing entry forms – make sure all your details are correct. But there’s other ways you can be organised and save time when doing repetitive tasks.

For example, set a keyboard shortcut to type your full address. This is useful for entries, but also when responding to a winning notification. You’d be surprised how many compers reply in a rush and make a typo in their address! Set up a shortcut and there’s no chance of you ever typing it incorrectly – for example typing 37e would expand into 37 Elm Grove, Selly Oak, Birmingham B31 2RF. For a comp where you need to input a barcode or batch code daily (like Cadbury or Walkers) set a shortcut to do this – eg. I type WBC1 and it expands into a full barcode on the entry form, and WBT1 expands into a batch code. Then there’s no need to remember the codes or to manually type them.

If you have a close group of comping friends, set shortcuts to tag them in Twitter or Instagram comps so there’s no danger of you spelling their name wrong, and you’ can ‘ll be able to enter more comps in less time – I cover this in my Instagram tips video.

I hope these tips have been helpful – please leave any questions in the comments, and I’d love to hear about the ways that you get organised with your comping too!

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