WINNING-obsessed Emily Parker has scooped more than £18,500 in prizes over the past 10 years.
Emily, 29, from Crawley, West Sussex, spends two hours entering up to 100 contests a day, and has won five-star holidays and John Lewis vouchers after first getting the bug when she was just 10.
The marketing manager has bagged a £2,500 Thailand break, a £1,500 holiday to St Lucia, a skiing trip in France worth £2,500 and jetted to Mauritius for a £7,500 trip.
She's also won festival tickets, luxury hampers and tech products. Emily says she’ll never stop because winning gives her “such a buzz”.
“I’ve always loved competitions – just like my mum did,” says Emily.
“Even when I was little, I’d post my entries from magazines and call up kids’ TV shows.
“I regained my love and addiction for competitions about 10 years ago and the internet and social media has completely changed how accessible and easy it is.”
In the beginning, Emily would scour the internet for hours, searching for competitions to enter.
She’d spend her work breaks online – entering up to 15 an hour.
Emily then got a “knack for it” and would target contests that required more effort to increase her chances of winning.
“Envious friends would ask how I was so lucky to win so many things, but when I encouraged them to enter, they’d get caught out by scam giveaways or data collection brands who would bombard them with emails and put them off,” she said.
“There are so many amazing competitions out there, but there are also some you should avoid and that’s where it can get tricky if you’re new to entering giveaways.
EMILY’S TIPS FOR WINNING COMPETITIONS
CONSISTENCY – you've got to regularly enter giveaways. You have to put in some time and enter multiple competitions a day to give you good chances.
COMPETITION FINDER – use the website. There are scams and data collecting prize draws which you don't want to fall into – not only is it a waste of your time but you don't know what will happen with your personal data so focus on genuine, free competitions.
LOWER ENTRIES – Look for competitions which have lower entries, such as specific to a particular interest, or restriction based on locations or entry criteria, the less entrants the higher your chances of winning are.
BE CREATIVE – Some competitions require a bit of effort – taking a photo, writing a short story or coming up with a witty joke – these often have less entrants as many people can't be bothered.
FIND FRIENDS – Find friends who enjoy it – especially for social media comps as you often need to tag friends to enter. This puts people off as they don't want to annoy their friends who aren't interested.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win a five-star holiday to Mauritius in October 2017, a Thailand trip in December 2013, a hotel stay in St Lucia and a ski trip to name a few of the holidays!
“I've also won £1000 of John Lewis vouchers, luxury hampers, flowers, skincare products, festival tickets and much more. The buzz of winning never gets old!
“I’ve been able to explore so many places and try so many products that I never would have been able to if it wasn’t for my lucrative hobby.”
Emily still enters competitions daily; during her lunch breaks from work or while she walks – but since being on furlough during lockdown, she’s turned her hobby into a business.
On her website – Competition Finder – Emily lists competitions, offers tips on how to enter and how to spot a scam competition.
She said: “During the pandemic I was on full-time furlough, living in a flat with no real outside space. I really needed something to give me structure and that I could put my energy into.
“Everyone thinks I'm lucky, but in reality, I just regularly enter giveaways and anyone that does the same will most likely start to win prizes too.”
Twin Centre Bangkok and Khao Lak holiday (including flights)
5 night stay in St Lucia
7 night Skiing Holiday including equipment and travel by train
7 night 5* Mauritius Holiday including flights
£1,000 John Lewis voucher
Waitrose Luxury Hamper of food
Apple Music Subscription
A month's Supply of Oppo Ice Cream
Nespresso Coffee machine
Bundle of Dash Water
Cineworld Cinema tickets – including snacks and drinks
Bunch of flowers
Tickets to Tulleys Farm Shocktober Festival
Luxury skincare and beauty products
However, Emily admits sometimes the thrill of entering competitions can take over her spare time.
“Most people watch TV, read books or scroll through social media in the evening, but I enter giveaways and I think of it as a lucrative hobby.
“If I go away on holiday or have a few days off then I can get sucked into catching up with entering competitions for hours, especially if my partner is busy watching sports.”
This NHS nurse, who is addicted to competitions, enters 100 a day and has won £20,000 in prizes.
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