Jul 012011
 
At my house the gift closet is never empty, because I work all year to get gifts for the kids and my family for birthdays and Christmas. When I became a stay-at-home mom, the gift budget was eliminated, so I had to put a little aside from the grocery budget each week towards Christmas, and this was very difficult since the grocery budget was already tight. As a result I had to find many creative ways to create a gift budget including earning gift cards online and winning gifts through sweepstakes, contests and blog giveaways.
From my experience I have found that blog giveaways are the easiest to win, so this is where I focus my energy. Every week I try to spend an hour or two entering my favorite blog giveaways, and as a result I have several gifts stowed away in my gift closet for the kids. I only try to enter low entry giveaways (less than 500 entries), because this of course increases my odds of winning.

As a giveaway host and a giveaway winner I personally know just how fantastic blog giveaways are, and entering blog giveaways has provided me with quite a few holiday gifts for my family this year.



My latest blog giveaway wins:

A set of Cars 2 movie tickets from This Talk Ain’t Cheap  
A Glow in the Dark Care Package Giveaway from Being Frugal and Making It Work.

From my own experience, and from analyzing the giveaway winners at my own giveaways at Frugality Is Free I have come to a few conclusions about the best way to win blog giveaways.
1. Enter! If you don’t enter, you cannot win!
2. Leave your email! (or make sure it is on your profile page)
3. Use those extra entries!
4. Check your odds!
5. Tweet, and tweet daily
6. Have a word document with your information for easy copy and paste
7. Look out for blogs that give entries for entering other giveaways on their blog.


Check your odds
Since my time is very limited I have to be very choosy, when I decide to enter a blog giveaway. I usually set down an hour or two each week to enter as many giveaways as I can. I rarely enter giveaways with more than 1000 entries, but anything under 500 entries is great, and less than 100 means I have a great chance of winning. The one reason why I enter blog giveaways is that they are possible to  win. Compared to giveaways hosted by big brand companies, where they  might get thousands of entries, the odds of winning  blog giveaways are fantastic.

Bonus Entries

Most blog giveaways have bonus entries, make sure to take advantage these. Some bloggers complain about the extra entries, but I love them! Why? Because if I can get in 10 – 15 entries into a giveaway with 200 overall entries, my odds of winning are great. Sure, I could just do the mandatory entry, and maybe an extra entry or two, but if I do more my chances increase. If I enter a blog giveaway, it is because I want to win it, and I would rather put in 10 entries into a giveaway that I really want to win than 10 separate entries into 10 different giveaways that I am not completely excited about winning.

Leave your email
When entering giveaways I usually leave my link in the following  formats: smartmomj[@]gmail[.]com or smartmomj at gmail dot com, this is  done to prevent spam mail from spam bots. I have this format as well as  other common entries such as listing facebook and twitter name in a word  document that I can easily access, copy and paste from.

IMPORTANT: One very important part about entering giveaways is that your email information is available. Either leave your email (in the format above) in each entry, or have it available on your blog giveaway page. Do not just assume that your email is listed on your blog profile page, because it might not be.  As a blog giveaway host, I have often run into issues with having to track down a winner’s email, and in some instances it was impossible.

To make sure that your email is listed publicly, log out of your blogger account and go to your profile page. This way you will see, what everyone else is seeing, when they visit your profile.



Daily Tweets:
To take  advantage of daily tweets, I also have Daily Tweet document. There I  list the giveaway, end date, link, tweet and my tweet info. This way I  can easily tweet it out every day, and leave a comment with the tweet  link on the post. I usually have about  5 – 10 giveaway tweets that I  tweet out every day to get extra entries. 

As a giveaway host, I have seen it work, and in fact I have  a couple of people who have won several giveaways at my blogs simply because they enter almost all of them and they make sure to do a lot of the bonus entries. Not only have they won a bunch of great giveaways at Frugality Is Free, but very often it has been a close call.

There is a very simple reason, why most bloggers have lots of bonus entries. It is because of giveaway entries that bloggers are able to host giveaways! To provide readers with great giveaways, bloggers have to give an incentive to potential sponsoring companies. If the companies know that they can get more twitter and facebook followers, more people to sign up for their newsletters and of course visit their websites, they are more likely to offer you (the giveaway winner) a great giveaway prize.

The  same thing goes for the bloggers’ own giveaway entries. As a blog  giveaway host, I can tell you that I put a lot of time into the giveaway  posts, contacting the companies, contacting the winners etc.. In most cases I get a product to review in connection with the  giveaway, and in fact if I rarely accept a giveaway without a review product because of the work hosting a giveaway takes. The only exception  is if the giveaway product(s) is awesome, and I think my readers will  love it.

If you find a great giveaway blog with lots of giveaways, it is most likely because they are trusted by their fellow bloggers and by the companies. An honest giveaway blog will have clear rules, show you proof of the winners, have a place where people can talk about their giveaway prizes, and work with several reputable companies.

Now, as a giveaway host and giveaway winner I know that the giveaway process is not always smooth. In fact I have recently had a couple of giveaway prizes not arrive to the winners, and after a bit of back and forth emailing these issues usually resolve themselves pretty fast. I have also been on the receiving end, where a prize did not show up until six months after my win. As a giveaway host I know that things can happen, and we are all human, so mistakes will be made.

If you do not receive your prize within a month of winning, I suggest you send the giveaway host a friendly email asking about an update.

Be excited about your giveaway wins, but don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched. If you encounter a problem, make sure to go to the giveaway host, so that he or she can get the problem resolved. Do not start leaving comments on the blog (or elsewhere) about how you have not received your prize etc. – go to the source. Most giveaway prizes are shipped from the companies directly to the winners, so things can go wrong, but dealing with the companies is a part of the bloggers job. Having to deal with these issues can be a nightmare, but as a giveaway host I know how important it is to get the issue resolved.

As a SAHM on a tight budget, creativity is very important, when stretching my family’s money. I live a very frugal life, but I do so queenstyle. I believe in the importance of family time, quality above quantity and living a green life. Entering and winning blog giveaways is just one way that I am able to live the life I envision for my family.

Where to find the giveaways:

Frugality Is Free: Giveaway Linky (Updated every Friday)

Frugality Is Free: Book Giveaway Linky (Updated Every Thursday)

Frugality Is Free: Gift Card Giveaway Linky (Updated Every Saturday)

Frugality Is Free: Giveaway Linky Collection (Find links to lots of other blog giveaway linkies)

The key to winning blog giveaways is simple:
The more you enter, the more you win! The more entries you put in, the greater your odds!



Countdown To Christmas: Frugal Tips For A Stress-free Holiday

1) Use Gift Cards To Pay for Gifts – Earn Gift Cards Online

Do you enter blog giveaways?

What was the last giveaway you won?


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