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A Sweepstakes Routine May Be Right For You

Some people benefit from setting up a daily sweepstakes routine. It helps them keep sweeping from taking up too much time and helps them be organized in their approach.

I tend to limit my sweeping to about 15 minutes every morning. Since my favorite thing to win is a new car or truck, that’s where I focus my efforts.

I check the time and begin by choosing the Autos, Boats & Vehicles category at I scan down the list quickly, looking for the kind of vehicle I want. In my case, for example, I don’t really want a bicycle, or boat. In fact I really like getting new trucks and my wife enjoys a new car now and again, so those are the only sweepstakes I enter each day.

I’ve learned to read the rules carefully but quickly. If for some reason I don’t qualify I move on.

If, when my 15 minutes is up, I haven’t entered all the sweeps available that day, I make a note of where I left off so I can come back the next day. On the other hand, if I end up with an extra few minutes I’ll look at what’s available in another category – either a favorite or just to see what’s going on.

I find a routine keeps me on track and winning.

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Develop A Sweepstakes Specialty

Make no mistake about it, entering a lot of sweepstakes can take a lot of time. Some folks enjoy spending several hours a day at it; others want to streamline their sweeping hobby.

Picking a specialty is one good way to control the amount of time you spend entering sweepstakes.

There are two ways to sort sweepstakes. One is by type of prize, the other is by type of category.

Here’s what I mean. Over at we offer 18 prize categories like: Autos, Boats & Vehicles; Clothes & Jewelry; Travel/Vacations, etc. Simple pick the category or categories you like best and limit your entries to those.

Under the type of sweepstakes we offer 16 categories including: 24 Hour Daily Entry; Mail-In; Buy and Find and Instant Win, etc. Again, choose only the ones you truly enjoy.

Once you’ve experimented a bit with various categories and types you’ll know what you like best and can set up your own sweeps specialties.

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

I’ve Won! Now What Happens?

You get an email or a phone call telling you you’ve won the grand prize! What actually happens?

Generally, if you’ve won the Grand Prize the email or the phone call will tell you more or less what to expect, but when the UPS or FedEx truck shows up with your prize, or the post office delivers you’re affidavit of winning, well, there’s little that’s as exciting as that! Even winning something small, like a DVD or special toy is thrilling.

If your prize is big enough to require an affidavit (real pros call it an “affy”) you’ll probably have to sign it in front of a notary, usually found at your bank. This affirms to the sponsor that you indeed are the person you say you are and are entitled to win the prize in question. After you have it notarized you simply mail it back, per instructions.

I like to send the sponsors I win from a thank you note. It’s not required, but it’s a simple enough thing to do and I suspect the person who opens the envelope all who see it are truly pleased. In fact, I know they are because sometimes I’ve gotten really nice letters back from the CEO or other officer of the company.

You can celebrate your win when use‘s free forum.

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

How To Get Started In Sweepstakes

Entering sweepstakes is probably one of the country’s fastest growing hobbies, and no small wonder. With prizes ranging from new homes to help with back-to-school expenses and everything in between, there truly is something in sweeping for everyone.

Getting started is super easy.  You find a sweepstakes you’d like to enter, read the rules, fill out the entry form and send it in – often with a single click on the internet. It is that easy. There are, however, a few hints that can make your sweepstakes life easier.

First, get a free email account through hotmail or other service and use that exclusively for as your sweepstakes email address. Make sure the address is something easy to remember and to print into a form. Read the email in that account on the web and you’ll find that helps you keep track of the sweepstakes you enter as well as various notifications. Sort them into folders as appropriate.

Keep in mind that these days many sweepstakes notify winners via email, so read carefully before you delete.

Don’t hesitate to give your phone number on the sweepstakes form. The companies offering sweepstakes tend to be respectful of your information and are likely to call you only if you win.

You can keep track of your entries when you enter through

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Influencing Sweepstakes Odds

You may be surprised to learn that it is possible to influence the odds in sweepstakes to increase your chances of winning. And you can do so without cheating.

You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that certain types of sweepstakes say that residents of this or that state aren’t eligible to participate. That’s because the actual laws governing sweepstakes vary from state to state. Obviously the fewer states allowed, the better your chances if you qualify.

For example, if New York and Florida are eliminated, that reduces the total population of eligible sweepers by about 12% based on population statistics. For a variety of reasons residents of New York, Florida, Rhode Island, Alaska, and Hawaii are the state’s most often listed as ineligible. Utah, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and California have rules that mean most manufactures of alcoholic beverages avoid those states in their sweepstakes.

Age restrictions also reduce the number of entries. In fact, read the rules carefully and you may find other restrictions that increase your odds.

I generally figure my odds over a year, rather than by each sweepstakes I enter.  And I figure based on the Grand Prize just because it’s simpler to work out. So, if I enter 1,000 sweeps in a year and the average number of entries in those sweeps is 25,000, my odds are 1 in 25. Since I pay attention to the rules I can often lower my odds a bit, which may explain why I’ve won so much.

Another approach is not to worry about the odds too much and just enter the sweeps that interest you. Keep in mind that you do have to enter to win.

Find the sweepstakes you want to enter  at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Sweepstakes Myth #3 – You’ll Lose Control of Your ...

Some people hesitate to enter sweepstakes because they don’t want to give the company offering the prize their name, address, phone number, etc.

There’s actually some truth to this one. Sponsors do collect information; after all, they’ve got to be able to contact you if you win. It’s also true that the companies who offer sweepstakes do use the information they collect to send you information about their products. The theory is if you entered a sweepstakes for new furniture you’re probably interested in buying new furniture if you don’t win.

But you have more control than you think.

First of all, set up a special email for your sweepstakes entries using a free email service like hotmail or yahoo. View email in your sweepstakes account on the web and you’ll have real control, and you’ll be able to keep track of your entries as well.

Second, many sweeps actually ask your permission before they sell your information. Look for a checkbox on the form that allows you to give or withhold your permission.

Finally, very few sweepers report problems as a result of putting their phone numbers on entry forms. That makes sense; the companies who sponsor sweeps don’t want you angry at them and treat your information with great respect.

Most people figure it’s more than worth it considering the prizes. You can find sweeps to enter at; the rules are available on each one so you can make an informed decision.

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Sweepstakes Myth #2 – Prizes Are Worthless

The second biggest myth about sweepstakes is the idea that the prizes are worthless, or at least of low enough value to make entering a waste of time.

Of course, value is in the eye of the beholder, but the Founder of Mr. Sweepy, Craig McDaniel, has won prizes worth almost $100,000, including two trucks! Not too long ago General Motors offered any Chevy with upgrades to the winner provided the total cost didn’t exceed $50,000. Clorox recently awarded $5,000 to a lucky winner, and Sara Lee and State Farm joined hands to offer $500,000 toward a new home!

Sure there are lots of sweepstakes with prizes worth $100 or less, but even those are nothing to sneeze at considering how easy it is to enter and win.

Remember, you get to decide exactly which sweeps you want to enter; if the prize offered in one doesn’t appeal to you, choose another.

Find sweepstakes you want to enter at and at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

What happens when you win?

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

What happens if I win a sweepstakes? How will I know?


Dear JM,

Nothing beats that moment when the UPS or FedEx truck pulls up outside your house, and the deliveryman hands you an envelope that is the ticket to your dreams! It doesn’t matter if the prize is as big as a car or as small as a DVD. It’s as if all the stars are smiling on you.

If you win a grand prize, what will most likely be inside that overnight envelope is an affidavit. (Some hardcore sweepers call it the “affy.”) The company giving away the prize wants to be sure you are the actual winner and you will be asked to provide indentifying information about yourself.

Your job is to fill it out according to the instructions. Usually that includes having your signature notarized – signing it in front of a notary. Your bank is the most likely place to find a notary easily.

Once you mail it back. You’ll soon either be receiving your prize, or if it’s a big one like a truck, negotiating for the details of delivering your prize!

Note too that you’ll also be receiving a 1099 reporting the value of your prize for income tax purposes.

Be aware that lots of sweepstakes notify their winners through e-mails – so it pays not to delete all those e-mails too quickly. You might want to check your spam folder too, depending on how good your spam filter is.

Membership is free at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Does it matter if some state’s residents can’t ent...

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

Sometimes I see that I can’t enter if I live in a specific state. What’s that all about and how important is it?


Dear KJ,

One of the biggest factors in winning sweepstakes concerns the rules about who is eligible to enter. So if you live in Texas and the contest says you can’t enter that sweepstakes if you live there, your entry will be thrown out.

Laws vary by state, so some sponsors choose not to operate a sweepstakes in every state. If you look at Census figures for the population of the United States, you can see that a sweepstakes that is not offered in New York and Florida increases the odds of entrants in other states by approximately 12 percent.

There are other rules that can influence your odds. Age will come into play many times.
For example if the prize is a trip to a Las Vegas casino, sweepstakes will typically have a minimum age of 21 entrants. If you are an adult and you see a sweep that allows 13 to 18 year olds to enter, then your odds of wining are reduced by the extra competition.

But you might want to take my attitude. I play by the rules and base my personal odds on the number of sweeps I enter in a year. This helps explain why I have won so much. Read the rules to understand which sweeps give you the best odds of winning, and you too can help yourself win!

Playing by the rules is easy at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Please, explain odds to me!

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

I don’t understand odds at all. Can you explain them to me?


Dear ES,

The “odds” are usually a numerical expression of your chances of winning a particular sweepstakes. Assuming the contest is a simple drawing and doesn’t require you to write a jingle or do something else where your performance will be judged, if you’re the only one entering your chances of winning are 100 percent; if two people enter, your chances are 50 percent. That’s why you see the sentence “Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received” so often. The more eligible people who enter the smaller the odds are that you will win.

You might want to adopt my view. I consider the odds of winning a big grand prize not by any individual sweepstake but by the number of contests I enter over a course of a full year.

Why? If I enter 1,000 sweepstakes in a year and the average number of entries in each is 25,000, then my odds of winning would be 1 in 25. Since I read the rules closely and pick contests carefully, I can lower my odds of winning a grand prize down to 1 in 23 or 1 in 24. This helps explain why I have won so much. Read the rules to understand which sweeps give you the best odds of winning, and you too can help yourself win!

Rules are easy to find when you use www.SweepstakesToday to find the contests you want to enter.

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

How will they use my personal information?

Dr. Mr. Sweepy,

It seems every sweepstakes wants my email address and my phone number. I don’t want a lot of spam or a bunch of telemarketers calling me. What should I do?


Dear MC,

You’re not the only one who has asked about how the companies will use your information. Simply put, it’s been my experience that reputable sweepstakes sponsors will guard lists of potential customers to keep them away from their competitors.

When it comes to phone calls, I can honestly tell you that in all my time entering sweepstakes, I’ve only ever gotten one solicitation telephone call that I could link to a sweepstakes. I think a lot of sponsors see the value of maintaining good relations with potential future customers. And remember – sometimes you’ll be getting a call to tell you that you’ve won!

It’s easy and fun to enter sweepstakes at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Should I use my personal email account?

Dear Mr. Sweepy,

I want to start trying to win some prizes but I wonder if I should use my personal email account. What do you suggest?


Dear LC,

One of the first things you’ll want to do when you enter sweepstakes is set up your own special sweepstakes e-mail account. This is a way to keep track of all your sweepstakes related email, and make sure it doesn’t lost amid the messages you from Uncle Ernie or your daughter at college.

The easiest way to do this is to set up a free e-mail account using Yahoo or Hotmail. Ideally you’ll use this email only for entering contests, and you’ll use this email for every sweepstakes you enter.

Keep the name portion as short as you can and make sure it’s something you can remember easily.

If you enter a lot of contests you’ll end up getting quite a bit of email, so you may want to set up folders to help sort it out.

It’s easy to enter sweep contests at

Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of

Sweepstakes’ #1 Myth – No One Ever Wins

If you ask non-sweepers why they don’t want to play, the most likely answer you’ll receive is “Why bother? No one ever wins those things!”

What they don’t understand is that in the United States, it’s the law every sweep must have a winner.

That’s right, it’s illegal to have a sweepstakes and not award the prizes advertised or their equivalent. So someone always wins. While the actual laws governing sweepstakes vary to some degree from state to state, you can be sure there will be a winner.

But even if it weren’t the law, think about it for a minute. How long would a big corporation like Ford Motors or Coca-Cola or, well, insert the name you want, last if they didn’t deliver on their sweepstakes promises? People would be up in arms. It’s only smart for them to award their prizes just as advertised.

That’s why big organizations hire specialized judging agencies – outside organizations which have the responsibility of making sure each sweep is conducted fairly and that a winner is chosen and that the prizes are actually delivered.

You can safely participate in the sweepstakes found at and assure your friends that every prize will be awarded.

Why do they give away great stuff?

Dear Mr. Sweepy, Why in the world would a company give away a car or a flat screen TV or other valuable prize in a sweepstakes? It makes no sense to me. AW

Dear AW,

When you fill out the sweepstakes form to enter you’re actually trading your information for a chance to win. The company figures that if you’re interested in winning that computer or that iPod or other great prize you’re probably also interested in buying it.

They know that information you provide is valuable and will begin sending you marketing information.

You are, in effect, trading your information in hopes you’ll win the prize.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, the information I traded for my truck, for example, was well worth it.

Given how many companies run sweepstakes over and over again it’s a strategy that obviously works for them.


Craig McDaniel, aka Mr. Sweepy is the creator and owner of