HOW to win prizes in sweepstakes and contests? 7 keys:

These keys can help you
win cash and prizes in
sweepstakes and contests We all love free giveaways and prizes, and it costs nothing to try your hand at a contest or sweepstake. Even if you enter by mail, all it takes is a stamp and envelope for a chance to hit the jackpot!

Knowing how to win sweepstakes is mainly a matter of being organized, entering every legitimate sweeps of interest as often as possible, and pouncing on opportunities that others may pass up (more on this below). Sometimes you don't even have to enter; here's an ocean of free stuff -- you can even have them update you on new freebies.

1) First rule: You'll get powerful leverage by signing up free at "helper" sites where you can access thousands of pre-sorted sweeps, new and current, and have use of the handy aides supplied. The tools on these sites make everything easier, considering the VAST range of contest promotions, giveaways and sweepstakes online. There are grand prize promotions to win a car, suv, 10-speed bike, motorcycle, truck or automobile; a palmtop, iPad, netbook, desktop or laptop computer; holiday trip, cruise, vacation packages, honeymoon or other travel; a shopping spree; guitar; a dream wedding; jewelry; a college scholarship; a kitchen or home makeover; movie, concert and sports tickets; boat; houses; electronics like a 3d tv, Android tablet, iphone 4/3gs, mobile phone, digital camera or ipod touch; video games such as Wii, xbox 360, psp, playstation 3 -- and of course, to win cash or money: $5,000, $100,000 or even one million dollars. Frequency of entry includes everything from instant-win to daily to once-monthly to one-entry-only.

More Tips on How to Win Prizes:

2) A local sweepstakes, which may offer a smaller prize, has better odds than when you're competing nationally against thousands and thousands of other entries. Go for 'em!

3) Don't turn your nose up at an online contest or sweeps that is difficult to enter. Think about all the other people who also are not entering (less competition). Just do it!

4) Serious sweepers must stay ORGANIZED. When deciding which sweeps to allocate your time to, be mindful of the frequency of entry: daily (this could be calendar day or per 24-hour interval), weekly or monthly. The shorter the entry period (one month, vs one year), the better your chances of winning -- this is where "helper" sites organize your efforts for optimal odds, by pre-sorting the choices!

5) Follow the sweepstakes entry rules EXACTLY. Don't take license in how you interpret them. If you're concerned whether it's ok to use a roboform auto-form-filler, most sponsors won't mind so long as you actually visit their site (some DO specify that entires must be manually or hand-entered). And there are those which state, "no automatic entries," which seems to exclude automatic sweepstakes services, where the entrant does not visit the sponsor site. When in doubt, study the rules or be extra-cautious, to avoid disqualification.

6) Try your luck at the one-entry-only sweepstakes. Although entering on a daily, weekly or monthly basis gives you more excitement and control, other sweepers may be bypassing these one-onlies -- which improves your chances of winning them!

7) For sending entries via mail to a sweeps with an extended entry period, space your mailings apart so they'll be evenly distributed throughout the pile. And remember: sweepstakes which offer no online-entry option give you better odds!

8) BONUS TIP: Set up a separate e-mail address for all your sweepstakes and contest activities. Once you become a serious sweeper, you'll be getting plenty of "confirmation" e-mails where you'll click on a link to confirm entry -- and you'll also be receiving updates and alerts relating to prize opportunities. Having a separate address for all this will make everything go easier and faster.

The more prizes a sweepstakes offers, the better your chances of winning something. And in a "second chance drawing," you can win unclaimed prizes that were won but never collected.
Win free cash

When you enter, make sure it's a trustworthy site, and be careful what kind of info you give out. Never give out credit card or bank account information. Caution: if you're notified that you've won a sweepstakes but that you must pay a fee to claim your prize, or that a purchase is required, your "scam alarm" should start ringing. When you win a legitimate sweepstakes, first of all there should be no fee; next you'll often be required to first fill out an affidavit, have it notarized and return it to the judging agency. When you win smaller prizes, they will often be sent to you directly, no affidavit required. With big-ticket items, be ready to pay taxes on the value of your prize the following year. Some sweepstakes companies may even "pre-qualify" your taxpaying ability if, for example, you become a finalist to win a Cadillac Escalade SUV. And if you win a VIP vacation for two more easily than you'd expect (especially from an unknown company), make sure you understand the terms regarding airfare (or other travel) and hotel accommodations.

What's the Difference between Contests, Sweepstakes and Giveaways?
A contest requires talent or skill (and sometimes a proof of purchase), while a sweepstake only involves luck or chance to win in a random drawing (and maybe the perseverence to keep entering). Sweepstakes must adhere to laws and regulations, and you are not required to make any purchase in order to win, although the sponsors will be happy if you do. A free giveaway might be called something for nothing, but typically you will need to register, and provide information such as name, address, phone, and e-mail, and possibly perform an action. There can be a fine line between what is and isn't a giveway.

Unlike lotto and raffle tickets, to participate in mail/in-store and online contests & sweeps requires no fee. The odds of winning are usually far better than with lotto; statewide and multi-state Powerball-type lotteries have astronomical odds (lightning, shark).

Remember: if you want to win that gorgeous vehicle on display at the mall, submitting your information on the entry blank will likely add you to the sponsor's subscription list for upcoming sweeps, extravaganza events and sales.

The prospect of winning giveaways is fun and exciting, and there are cool prizes for every dream. Entering offline or online sweepstakes and contests can even become part of your lifestyle. There's one thing for certain: to win a prize, you gotta enter! So good luck, remember the keys to winning sweepstakes, enjoy the ride and win, win, WIN!

Here's to your success!

Comparing Sweepstakes and Lotteries (click here)

By the way... Ever wonder what the 20 most popular sweepstakes vacation destinations are? If recent online searches are any indication, they are: 1) New York, 2) Hawaii, 3) Disney Land / Disney World, 4) Japan, 5) Paris and Italy (tie), 6) London, 7) Australia and Las Vegas (tie), 8) Ireland, 9) L.A. / Los Angeles, 10) Europe, 11) Canada, 12) Florida, 13) France, 14) South Africa, 15) Korea, 16) England, 17) Scotland, USA, Singapore, Thailand and Greece (five-way tie), 19) Dubai and China (tie), and 20) the Caribbean. In 21st place is Spain's Mediterranean island of Ibiza, a popular party resort destination.

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