From the Contest Queen

Do you keep track of your wins?

I do.  It was New Year’s Eve 2003 and I was reflecting on the past year wondering what I had won, exactly.  I remembered all the big wins but what about all the little ones?  I decided to keep a spreadsheet of all my wins for 2004.  I setup a spreadsheet tracking: who won the prize, the date they won it, what they won, where they won it from, the value of the prize, whether we received it and how we won it.  (NOTE: if there is no Type listed, the prize was won via the Internet.)

A sample section of the 2004 spreadsheet:

Winner Date Prize Where Value Rec. Type
Carolyn 11-Jan Dairy Queen Gift Certificates New VR
Carolyn 11-Jan Shiseido Hair Care Sample Flare
Craig 17-Jan Metro Home Show Tickets & Olay Gift Basket 680 NEWS
Carolyn 18-Jan Vikings T-Shirt & Baseball Cap
Carolyn 19-Jan Two Nights at a Bed & Breakfast of our Choice Smucker's
Carolyn 31-Jan Two Tickets to SUM 41 @ The Docks Rogers
Carolyn 1-Feb Four CHFI Coffee Mugs CHFI 98.1
Carolyn 2-Feb HP Home Photo Lab Country 95.3
Tom 4-Feb Culinary Gift Basket Hellmann's
Carolyn 6-Feb One Song Music Download L'Oreal
Carolyn 8-Feb Yves Rocher Gift Basket Reader's Digest
Tom 15-Feb Four Passes to the Toronto Autoshow CHFI 98.1
Carolyn 16-Feb Two Passes to see Michael Buble @ CityTV CHUM FM
Craig 17-Feb $18.50 50/50 Draw @Bowling
In Person
Carolyn 22-Feb Romantic Weekend Getaway for Two to Quebec CTV
Craig 24-Feb $19.50 50/50 Draw @Bowling
In Person
Carolyn 25-Feb Polly Pocket Toy Prize Family Channel
Craig 27-Feb One Song Music Download L'Oreal
Craig 28-Feb Family Pass to the Ontario Science Centre Toronto 4 Kids
Craig 8-Mar 49ers Reebok Football Jersey
Carolyn 10-Mar Movie Passes - Beauty Shop FLOW 93.5
Craig 10-Mar Movie Passes - Beauty Shop FLOW 93.5
Craig 30-Mar Green Bay Packers Football
Carolyn 31-Mar Hockey Hall of Fame Keychain Kraft

It is a very accurate record of what we had won allowing me to track precisely the number of wins we had along with the exact dollar value and how long it took me to receive my wins.  This was really beneficial because: 1) if I perceived I was having an unlucky month, I would open the spreadsheet and instantly feel like a winner and 2) if a prize was taking too long to arrive, I knew all the contest details so I could track the prize down.

Start your own spreadsheet today and have a winning 2006!!


Tips and Tricks

After I printed the question in Issue 7 from Sue in Whitby, ON regarding identity theft and credit/debit card fraud, I had many inquiries about how could one protect themselves on the “Wild Wild Web”.  When you are entering online contests and sweepstakes, only give out information someone could find if they looked in the phonebook: name, address, phone number with the exception of your email address and birth date.  Do not ever give out information such as: driver’s license number, social security number, social insurance number, banking information, etc…  Learn more about protecting yourself at MasterCard and American Express.  Ensure you also sign-up for free services such as Verified by VISA.

There are also companies that offer services you can buy to protect your identity.  Email Brad Roberts to learn more about a service called Identity Theft Shield.  I bought it for me and my family.

Have a great tip? Send me your best tips to share with the contesting community. Remember “You Can’t Lose Helping Others Win”.

Your Questions Answered

Happy Holidays.  How closely do you read contest rules?  What should one look for in the fine print?  Finally, if one sees the phrase "no purchase necessary" does this mean it is safe to enter without being tricked into buying something?
Windsor ON

Hi Khang,
I scan the rules looking for the following information. (I must say I have disqualified myself the odd time by reading too quickly.) You are looking for the following:

  • if you are eligible to enter.
  • how many times you can enter.
  • how many people in the household can enter.
  • the start and end dates of the contest.
  • any other rules specific to that contest.

I stop reading the rules after I know those five things.

No Purchase Entry (NPE) means No Purchase Necessary.  Many promotions are now held online and you only need to submit your entry with the click of your mouse.  Many promotions will have an easy purchase entry and a more difficult NPE such as a unique 500-word handwritten essay on the virtues of their product or service.  Currently, I do not enter many longer NPE contests (ones that require essays, etc...) because I do not have the time, but if you do, I encourage you to enter.

Send me any sweeping or contesting questions you would like answered.

You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter

The book is being re-laidout.  I am not sure how long this process will take.  I will then need to get a softcopy proof before I approve a full book run.  It is looking like late January/early February before the Canadian Edition will be fore sale.  I have also begun research for the American and Australian editions.

Keep your eye on this section for future updates on the book’s progress.


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