Hi there! Today in the side hustle series, David from Young Adult Money will explain how he makes money entering and winning giveaways, and how you can find giveaways online to do the same.
Let me know if you would like to guest post on Make Money Your Way and share your side hustle.
Aren’t people just lying when they say they enter and win a bunch of giveaways? Where do they even find these giveaways? Why would so many companies be willing to give things away for free?
Today I’ll answer all those questions and more as I introduce you to the concept of making money through giveaways.
I first heard about giveaways when I was at a meetup of with other Minnesota personal finance bloggers. Carrie Rocha, who wrote the book Pocket Your Dollars and owns the website of the same name, mentioned that her publisher wanted to host a number of giveaways as part of the promotion strategy for her new book. Someone else mentioned that they had won a Nexus tablet and a number of other things just casually entering a giveaway from time-to-time. Someone also said they knew of people who entered giveaways essentially full-time for money. I was intrigued, to say the least.
How can you make money entering giveaways?
When I told my wife about what I heard at the meetup, we both started to find and enter more and more giveaways. Over the past six months or so, we’ve won countless giveaways and even made it a goal fund a trip through winning giveaways. In case you are wondering, we are about a third of the way to our $3,000 goal since starting the challenge.
To make money entering giveaways you have to do the following three (basic) things:
- Enter giveaways
- 2) Win giveaways
- 3) Convert the prize to cash if it’s not a cash prize
In reference to the vacation goal, essentially what we do is either win cash or convert the prize to cash. Yes, it does require some work to do but it’s definitely doable, and it’s usually as easy as listing it on Craigslist or selling the gift card. For example, we won a Gymboree gift card for $75. I sold it to my Mom for $60, since she had to buy some gifts for a baby shower. We also don’t have kids otherwise we would have probably just used it.
I’m not going to list out every prize we won, or tell you exactly how much cash we’ve made. But to give you an idea of some of the things we’ve won:
- Ryobi Lawn Mower – My wife won a Ryobi lawn mower and I looked it up immediately and found out it was worth $400 at Home Depot. When it arrived I brought it to Home Depot and received $400 in store credit. This was one of our first “big” scores. We had just bought a house the previous Fall so you can bet I was excited to have the store credit since I otherwise would have had to pay cash for some of the work we did in the yard and around the house this Summer.
- Target Gift Card – If you start to enter more giveaways, you will find it pretty much impossible to remember how much various giveaways were for. When I got an email that I had won a Target gift card, I thought great! It’s probably $50, which is $50 I didn’t have before but nothing huge. Nope, it was $275. Definitely a good score since we shop at Target every week.
- Pfister Faucet – My wife won a Pfister Faucet that was going for $225 on Amazon (including shipping). I listed it for $160 on Craigslist and got one offer for $75. I said no and they said that was as high as they’d go. So I waited, and waited, and finally someone contacted me and was willing to pay $160. Not too bad considering the fact it was just sitting in our office for two months.
These are just a few examples of things we’ve won through giveaways. There are some really great giveaways online and some really crappy ones.
As far as great giveaways go, my blog alone has co-hosted giveaways over the past year that easily were worth in excess of $5,000 in prizes. A television worth $1,000+, a camera worth $1,000+, $500 cash, etc. Various websites and companies sponsored them, which is typical in many giveaways.
Sometimes bloggers band together and co-host giveaways as well. I’m currently participating in a giveaway where 22 bloggers each pitched in $30 cash, so $660 is up for grabs. The reasons blogs and companies sponsor giveaways is because the incentives typically are “like x page on facebook” or “follow @MyCompany on Twitter.” It’s an easy way to get your social media numbers up, as well as get a nice spike in traffic from people entering.
Where do you find giveaways?
In answering this question, I’m obviously biased. My wife and I put together a post each Friday where we list giveaways that end within the next week. Typically there are between 100 and 300 giveaways listed. It’s an incredibly efficient way to enter giveaways because you can easily open up tabs of the ones you want to enter and can pass over the ones you do not want to enter. It’s all in one post, while many other giveaway aggregation sites/posts put each giveaway in their own post.
If you go to the Giveaway Category you can easily find the most recent weekly giveaway roundup. For example, below is a screenshot from one of our recent roundups:
Pros, Cons, and Tips
I wanted to end this post by going over a few pros, cons, and tips when it comes to entering giveaways for money:
- Easy – It takes very little effort to enter giveaways and can easily be done while you are watching TV.
- There are resources like Young Adult Money’s weekly giveaway roundup that make it easy to find giveaways to enter. This saves a lot of time, and I can attest to the fact that you can enter a ton of giveaways and gain a ton of entries in a very short period of time, especially once you get used to entering them.
- You can put as much or as little effort into it as possible. You could just enter the five biggest giveaways of the week, or you could enter every single giveaway. It’s really up to you.
- Sometimes giveaways are limited to only certain countries. While many of the cash giveaways are open worldwide, there are quite a few that are limited to the United States.
- Converting winnings to cash can be a pain, or at least require some patience.
- Variance – this is a key point. You could enter hundreds and hundreds of giveaways and not win a single one. You could also enter only five giveaways and win every single one.
- Utilize the Young Adult Money giveaway roundup list
- Be picky – not every giveaway is worth entering.
- Consider setting up social media accounts (Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) specifically for giveaways. That way you can keep the people you follow on your personal account separate from the accounts you follow just for giveaways (blogs will hate me for pointing that out, but it really is a good option if you plan on entering a large number of giveaways).
Giveaways may not be for you, but you may really enjoy it. It takes relatively little time, can be done from your couch while you watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show, and can be a fun side hustle to pursue.
Author Bio: David Carlson is the owner of Young Adult Money, a personal finance blog covering topics such as how to make more money, save more money, and other topics relevant to 20- and 30-somethings. You can find Young Adult Money on Facebook and Twitter.