Side hustle series: How I Make Money Entering Giveaways

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:

  1. Enter giveaways
  2. 2) Win giveaways
  3. 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:

Weekly Giveaway Roundup Screenshot

Weekly Giveaway Roundup Screenshot

 

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:

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

Tips

  • 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.

This post was featured on the Yakezie Carnival, Carnival of Retirement, Common Sense Millennial, Monasez, Young Adult Money, thank you!


Thank you for reading! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Never miss another post and subscribe via RSS feed or email. Or come and say hi on Facebook and Twitter.

About Pauline

A 30 something French girl looking for ways to make more money. I blog about real estate, side hustles, improving your career, investing and making money online.

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Comments

  1. Hi David,
    I’m always impressed with your give away list. How do you find all of it and how lon does it take you.
    charles@gettingarichlife recently posted…How I Become A Millionaire….In DebtMy Profile

  2. I did not try to enter any giveaways promo. But considering the pro and benefits as discussed above, I will try it later.

  3. Wow, David – you’ve had great success in this area! I’ve always wondered if this would be a viable income source, but it seems like percentage wise (compared to number of entries) it would be hard to win. No?
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…How to Save Money on Thanksgiving DinnerMy Profile

  4. This is awesome, David. I never enter anything at all. Maybe it’s time to start entering giveaways and take part of your winnings =)
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Thoughts on Working Hard (and Working for Somebody Else)My Profile

  5. I’ve always wanted to see someone compute an honest hourly rate for this kind of activity, based on a long enough period of time to try and smooth out the variance in winnings. I have to be honest that intuitively it doesn’t feel like the most productive use of my time, though clearly there are people that have had success and it would be interesting to see if I would be proven wrong with some hard numbers.
    Matt Becker recently posted…Beware the Source of Your Financial AdviceMy Profile

    • I think it would be impossible to compute an hourly rate for many reasons. One, everyone enters at a different pace. I bet I can enter 5-10x faster than most people. Two, there is even more variance than in a game like poker where someone can play a million hands +EV and still lose $150k over the course of those million hands, when they could have won as much as a $300k (there are better numbers on poker because it is such a controlled environment). I am advocating someone do this instead of work a part-time job, necessarily. I’m just saying it’s something that could provide additional income and is an incredibly easy thing to do. It can be quite mindless, which is why I like doing it while watching TV.
      DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…The Day I Realized I Was ExpensiveMy Profile

      • I definitely get what you’re saying, but I guess the flat statement of “it would be impossible to compute an hourly rate” isn’t incredibly satisfying to me. Someone could certainly compute their own hourly rate over a period of time and follow it up with all of the warnings about why it might not be relevant for someone else, but it is definitely possible to compute. You could even compute multiple rates based on different assumptions for how long it takes you to enter each giveaway. Again, it wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be a start.
        Matt Becker recently posted…Beware the Source of Your Financial AdviceMy Profile

        • As soon as I wrote “impossible” I knew it would come back to bite me. I should have said there are so many variables and any test study would have so many holes and/or far too small a sample to be of any worth. You’d need at minimum thousands or hundreds of thousands of contests to smooth out the variance, and you’d need multiple people to enter the same contests to account for the difference in speed of entry. Overall I think any attempt will fall short or be incredibly flawed. Not impossible, just not economical and I don’t see anyone doing a credible study on it.

        • When I see a giveaway with 10,000 entries already I skip, thinking it is not worth my time. Little blogs just starting out are great to win giveaways, they have few entries. I won one where we were only 2 participants and there were two prizes of $100 and $50. Well I won the $50 so I guess I lost haha.

  6. I pretty much never enter giveaways. Cool that you won so much stuff, though. I just don’t have the patience to enter them all, and sign up for the different platforms, and all that. Interesting – like Matt, I’d like for somebody to compute an hourly rate. That would be cool to see.
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…How to Motivate Yourself to Clean your HouseMy Profile

  7. Very in depth DC. I’ve entered a couple myself in the past, but it’s almost always at the time I see it and really don’t go searching them out. If I had more time then I’d likely be more inclined, but after being on the computer for 15+ hours and it being 11:00 pm the last thing I want to do is spend more time on it to try and win something. :) That said, I think it’s awesome you’re shooting for a vacation off your winnings – that is certainly an encouragement. :)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted…My Financial Bucket ListMy Profile

    • It’s definitely not for everyone, but I know quite a few who have found it to be an easy way to make some side income. It’s pretty mindless so I don’t mind sitting down for an hour and a half a week and getting entered in a hundred or so while watching something on TV. Others do it a bit more hardcore, and I’m sure they have seen it pay off more so than someone like me who only spends at most two hours a week on them, if not less.
      DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…The Day I Realized I Was ExpensiveMy Profile

  8. Very interesting! I had a very brief moment of giveaway madness and entered a couple dozen giveaways but I haven’t won. Didn’t pay too much attention to this though in the past due to the lack of time, but I have also heard of people who make giveaways their primary source of income. Too bad (in my case) that many of the fun things are limited to the US, but it’s still something that you could try if you want to have fun – and it clearly pays, $1,000 in six months is really nice extra income.
    C. the Romanian recently posted…Would You Make It if You Went Bankrupt Tomorrow?My Profile

    • It’s strange there aren’t more outside the US, and I agree that most seem to be based in the US or MAYBE Canada as well. Luckily for you many of the cash giveaways (which can be quite big) are for people all over the world as long as you have or get a PayPal. It definitely is nice to make some side cash to fund things like vacations or home improvements, especially since I am usually watching sports or my favorite TV shows when I’m entering.

  9. Love this post! Now that I have more free time, I plan on getting back into giveaways. At one point I felt like I was winning everything I entered!
    Michelle recently posted…What Young Adults Should KnowMy Profile

  10. I am always amazed how giveaways you feature every week, DC. In the past, I wouldn’t have put the effort into finding giveaways since I figured my chances are winning are low, but you definitely make it convenient. And I love that you are actually winning and using those winnings to fund your vacation!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Five Smart Fall Money MovesMy Profile

  11. This is really interesting.. I’ve entered a few giveaways before, but it’s kind of off-putting when you never win anything! But I think you have a good point when someone asks why you should do it – well, why not? It’s simple and like you said could be done while you’re watching TV. I may have to make it a point to start entering some more.. yup, I’m after your prizes :)
    Kali @CommonSenseMillennial recently posted…How to Have a Fun, Fabulous, and Frugal WeddingMy Profile

  12. Hmmm this is a bit inspiring :). I don’t think I’ve ever won anything with a giveaway, but I need to attempt some more. And I probably need to be running my own giveaways online!!
    Todd @ Fearless Dollar recently posted…Too Much Arguing? 5 Financial Arguments to Avoid With Family & FriendsMy Profile

  13. I never thought about leveraging giveaways as a way to earn some extra money. It’s definitely something simple to do while you’re watching TV too. I haven’t had a ton of luck selling things on Craigslist. Sometimes to be competitive you have to price things so low that I’m not sure if it’s worth the pain of arranging a meet, etc. But maybe if I was selling things I won and hadn’t spent my hard-earned dollars on, it may be easier to sell at a lower price point. :)
    Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr recently posted…I Am Max and Hear Me RoarMy Profile

  14. I think it’s great how much you’ve been able to make with what seems like not much effort! I only enter when I think I would actually benefit from the prize. I’m not sure I would want to list things on Craigslist as I don’t have much experience in that area. Good point about making separate accounts – sometimes I hold back because I feel like I’ll be spamming feeds with entries.
    E.M. recently posted…Being Grateful – Second EditionMy Profile

  15. I have been meaning to start getting into entering giveaways. This is just the motivation I need to get me started!! I am a lucky person, so hoping for the best!
    Janine @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted…The High Price of MaterialismMy Profile

  16. David, I always love your giveaways and I need to get better about entering them more frequently!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted…Getting up and dusting yourself offMy Profile

  17. This is such a helpful post! I was always skeptical, but I am think I am going to turn it into a game. I love your idea about funding a trip!
    Dear Debt recently posted…Hey Debt – Wait Until You Meet this Girl!My Profile

  18. I haven’t had your luck, but I did win a free hotel night and a $50 Amazon card within the last few months. That’s probably $250 worth of stuff for less than 30 minutes of entering, so a pretty good rate of return. I might not win again for a long time, but like you said, I enter while watching TV, so it’s not like I’m giving up anything to spend time entering. I really, really appreciate you and Victoria putting together the weekly giveaways post.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted…First Ever Net Worth ReportMy Profile

  19. Great tips! I always appreciate your big long giveaway posts! I know they take a lot of time to put together!

  20. I have entered a few but not won anything. Just like lottery. But I am sure I will be entering some once in a while.
    Demaish @ Borrowed Cents recently posted…My Christmas came in OctoberMy Profile

  21. I used to think entering giveaways was a waste of time, but I actually won a skincare one a few weeks ago! Officially a believer. I usually enter giveaways during down time at work… shhh… ;)
    Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans recently posted…Weekend Recap: I ♥ Autumn TagMy Profile

  22. Hey David and thanks for a fun post :)

    While I would love to enter giveaways, most of the ones I have entered in the past are not eligible in my Canadian province of Quebec :(

    And the annoying part is, I only find this out AFTER I have spent ten minutes or so filling in all the fields and clicking on all that there is to click on!

    Bottom line, it’s a cool way to make some extra cash on the side, but alas, not for me.

    Take care and all the best.

    Lyle
    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted…On Why I Enjoy Having A Cold!!My Profile

  23. I have tried entering a handful of giveaways on YAM but no luck yet. Would be nice though! I will keep trying : )
    Liz recently posted…I Got a New JobMy Profile

  24. Great ideas David, I would love to get involved in giveaways, if you are ever looking for more capital to fund a particular giveaway, please look me up, would be happy to contribute!
    Jim recently posted…My Unsuspected Meeting With Mr. HankeyMy Profile

  25. Pauline, you have shared great list of ideas for giveaways and better way to make money. Tops for cash to purchase anything and fulfill needs efficiently. Thanks for sharing this informative work..

  26. I never win, but I did ONCE and I had entered with an email address I rarely check, so by the time I saw I had won, it was too late :(

  27. I have hosted a lot but I need to get better at entering more. Last year I spent an hour clicking around the web entering giveaways and ended up winning a $50 Amazon gift card right before Christmas which was great. Setting up a separate email for giveaways is a great idea because I noticed that my spam folder started filling up quicker.
    Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com recently posted…Frugal Hack #14: How to Find Free (and Almost Free) eBooksMy Profile

  28. I haven’t tried and giveaways in while. That’s about to change after reading this article.
    Jason B recently posted…Birthday FreebiesMy Profile

  29. Very interesting article. I wonder if you boil down your winnings versus total time taken what your hourly rate would be. I realize that you can multitask with the entering, but do you have any rough guess what it would come out to be?
    MoneyAhoy recently posted…The Money Saving Master TableMy Profile

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  31. This is a really creative way to earn some extra cash! I have never attempted this before, but does it often result in e-mail or phone call spam? If so, how do you work around it?
    Terry @EasyFinancialTips recently posted…How to Attend College For FreeMy Profile

  32. Be weary of scams when entering givaways. Any contest that asks for your social security number or other explicit and private information is probably trying steal your identity.
    Christina @ Easy Financial Tips recently posted…5 Actions you can Take in College to Prepare you for your Financial FutureMy Profile

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Trackbacks

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