Remember mail-in contests of the old days? Well if you think all contests are online these days, you may want to think again. Many sweepstakes still offer entry via mail — and that’s a great thing for you. The reason: They often get a lot fewer entries, so your odds are sky-high. And with these smart tricks, you can make your chances of winning even better.
1. Be a snail-mail strategist.
Focus your snail-mail efforts on mail-in only contests — you can find free lists on sites like SnailSweeps.com and SweepStakesToday.com. The reason? When it comes to contests that accept online and snail-mail entries, veteran sweeper Sharon Elaine, says; “Sweepstakes organizers type info from mailed-in entries into their database so the computer program can randomly pick winners. That means there’s no advantage to mailing in an entry. If anything, you’ll waste money on paper and postage.”
2. Cap your costs.
Surprise — you can save money on postage. The secret? Skip the post office and instead log onto eBay. Look for “stamps,” then “postage,” then “U.S.” You can buy them for up to 25 percent off face value. Another trick: Recycle envelopes that come with junk-mail offers or paper bills you normally pay online — simply cover any writing with a blank address label. You can also cut postcards out of cereal boxes, cracker boxes and cat-food boxes. “As long as they’re blank on the other side, they’re fine to use,” says seasoned sweeper Wendie Limauge.
3. “Invest” in local sweeps.
Contests with some of the biggest odds? Local mail-in sweeps. Says Elaine: “They’re often hand-picked, so I always accordion-fold my entry — and win them all the time.” How can you find them? Keep an eye out when you’re doing errands — scan the grocery store aisles, gas stations and Main Street stores. Another good source: local online clubs, like a mom’s group, where members often share info.
4. Be a stickler.
Pay extra attention to the rules for snail-mail entries. Cards, papers, postcards — mail in exactly what the contest specifies, advises Limauge, who warns that not following the rules will disqualify you. And that means you wasted your time and money. Also, be sure to address your envelopes or postcards correctly: For example, if the rules include a trademark symbol after the name of the sweepstakes, include it when you write the address.