The World of "High Stakes Sweepers" - Is It Real?

Micah shows off our iPad 2 win!
Last night, I caught an episode of the new TLC show "High Stakes Sweepers", showing a handful of hardcore sweepstakers (also known as "sweepers) and their lives.  I knew of two of the people on the show (Caroln Wilman had interviewed me on how I enter and win for your show a few years back), and the experience was eye-opening.

Suddenly, just as "Extreme Couponing"caused a bunch of new people to start furiously clipping, there is a new interest in entering sweepstakes, and some people are left wondering if winning prizes will be their ticket out of debt, poverty, or working a regular job.  As I wrote a few months back, however, entering sweepstakes can be a fabulous hobby, but rarely leads to a full-time income.  (See Is Entering Sweepstakes a Hobby? Can It Be a Job? for more info.)

I would suggest that anyone intersted in putting a toe in the sweepstakes waters to go ahead.  Remember, however, that winning is a slow process.  It could takes many months to see your first prize, and the big prizes like cash and cars still allude many (including a few of those featured on the TLC show.)  Here are a few important pointers that I would like to share:

  • Don't let your fervor for free stuff derail you from your new work-at-home endeavor.  If you are starting a business, or even just considering it, don't lose focus.  You will be building something for the future with your new 1099 career;  sweepstakes, on the other hand, will cease being profitable the moment you quit entering.
  • Keep balance.  The TLC show does a great job of showing all the prizes, but is also shows one account of a man and wife whose relationship has been (shall I say) "stressed" over the hobby.  Whether you blog, enter sweeps, craft, or cook.. if your hobbies or passions put everyone else in your house into a tizzy, it may be worth scaling it back a bit.
  • Follow a budget.  I don't know what my husband would do if I spent $4K on postage stamps in a year to enter for trips -- Especially if one of the trips was of interest to only me (as was shown on the show last night.)  If you wouldn't blow $4K on shoes without discussing it with your partner first, then furiously entering sweepstakes that cost money (whether it be postage, supplies, or the gas to drive around everywhere), is not OK without a meeting of the minds. 
 For those of you who want to get started in the sweeping arena, I recommend following some advice from past articles I've written.  (With a record that includes an iPad 2, a trip to San Francisco, a video camera, free massages for a year, and hundreds of other prizes that I've won from less than 90 minutes of entering a day, I like to think I have some helpful tips!)

Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways
Sweeping 101: What the Real Winners Know
6 Ways to Win Free Stuff from Blog Giveaways
Is Entering Sweepstakes a Hobby? Can It Be a Job?

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