Entering competitions or contests for cash is one of the great free ways to try and win money or other prizes. These competitions can offer straightforward (and occasionally fast) opportunities to win varying amounts of money - big or small - for low or even no risk, other than the time it takes to find and enter them.
On this page we'll be exploring the different types of cash competitions, why they offer good winning opportunities, and how and where to enter them. Plus of course offering a series of hints and tips to improve your chances of success.
There are many types of real money contests and competitions, but one way in particular - the membership of social, free to play casino and poker websites - is becoming increasingly popular. Member numbers reach into the millions.
One of the leading operators are the up and coming Global Poker, who's own brand of gaming lets you play online poker games for sweepstake style prizes without risking any of your own money.
What Are Cash Competitions?
Almost all of the ways to win cash that we cover on winmoney101.com are competitions of one type or another. Each can be classed as a contest of some form, either played in tournaments or heads up format against other players, against some form of computer or video game, or against a bookmaker offering odds which you're betting on. With many of these, you can try to win pretty much straight away. Today, in fact, if you wanted to make the attempt.
Playing slot tournaments for money is perhaps one of the best low-cost types of competitions to get involved in. You can read all about those types of cash competition on their dedicated pages on Winmoney101.com.
On this page, we're talking about a specific type or types of cash competition, with a simple definition:
Cash competitions are contests that allow free or paid entry and give prizes to winners in the form of money.
These competitions also can be of many types, for instance, photography contests, writing competitions, new product marketing ploys, or gaming contests with money prizes. And they might be open to different sections of the public, such as students for example. So if you're specifically looking for free competitions to win money, these are the type you want to be focusing on.
Some offer fast ways to win (or try to win), some offer opportunities to build up a bankroll slowly, and some take time before you find out if you've been successful.
The video below is a very useful one which takes you through the various stages of how to win money competitions.
One of the major differences between the types of competition we cover on this page and other types of real money games like bingo, poker, casino, etc are often available through websites where anyone the world over (except of course where illegal) and join and play.
Competitions that offer any type of cash prize, holiday, or products are quite often - but not always - open only to residents of the country they're being promoted in.
So on this page we'll cover them from the traditional perspective that everyone knows - normally simple 'enter and forget' time-limited affairs where you might get a pleasant surprise many weeks - or even months - after entering.
What's In It For Me? - The Benefits of Cash Competitions
Cash competitions are a great way to pass time and also win some free money or other prizes. Often they're easy and fast to enter. Some of the easier to enter contests such as those you just need to text a simple answer in for don't take a lot of thought. But if you have a real passion for a subject, for example writing or designing logos or promotional material, then you can get a lot of personal enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction.
The cash prizes on offer can vary from small amounts to grand prizes. Unlike the lottery, the types of competitions we're talking about have fewer participants. Skill based competitions give you a chance to develop your talent and win money, and you'll often find that where there is some skill involved in entering there are far fewer contestants.
In general, it doesn't matter where you live. The UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, India. As long as it's legal in your country of residence, somewhere online there will be an opportunity for you to try and win a cash prize.
What's The Risk? How Much Can I lose?
The risks involved in entering cash prize competitions are low, especially for free to enter ones. With these you're not going to lose any money from your own pocket, but there are some potential drawbacks to be aware of. Even those that are going to cost you to enter are unlikely to break the bank in the majority of cases.
You can of course decide not to enter anything which costs you more than a couple of dollars, pounds, or Euros to participate. Even those common types where you send in a text are going to only cost you a small affordable amount (provided of course you don't enter multiple times).
Provided you're comfortable with the real money cost of entering your chosen comp, then it's worth just considering this potential problem:
Many competition entries request you to enter details such as email or home addresses. I know I've done it, and suspect you have to. You enter your email address or worse your mobile number on some online form, and you're forever spammed afterwards with mails and texts trying to sell you stuff or fleece you out of your hard earned cash. Of course you can ignore these, but they're a pain all the same.
For this reason, it'll pay to stay clear of survey sites that might be offering cash prizes.
Of course, if you decide to get involved with contests such as games of poker or playing casino games, you're almost certainly going to be risking some of your own money.
How To Enter Competitions & Win Cash Prizes
Every cash competition entails something different. Some cash competitions are talent based and require knowledge of a subject or skill of some kind. Competitions like poetry writing are focused on writing skill. Those on designing logos or promotional material for a product entail understanding how to construct, present, or design. With these, it's only worth entering if you have the talent required.
Certain cash competitions require you to answer questions to win the money, others involve more simple entry requirements. Entering these competitions usually entails some action like filling a form in with your email address or sending in a text. As I mentioned before, participation in these competitions is often accompanied by a large amount of spam. There are usually options that allow you to say 'no' to further communication or offers. Such precautionary measures can provide protection from spam, junk mail and cons, but not always.
As to how to win the money in any competition, unless you're using a skill (and one you have a lot of ability in), then winning is going to be down to luck and volume of entries. Take a look at the tips section below for more guidance on getting the best chances of winning.
Where Can I Find Competitions To Enter?
As you'd expect, the opportunities to win cash prizes are not limited only to the internet.
Online options are very easy to find, but it's always worth keeping an eye open for other opportunities. You'll most likely find they're hitting you from all sides once you know where to look, and there are opportunities to win big cash amounts, as well as many for smaller figures.
Online Cash Competitions
One great place to find competitions that yield cash prizes is the internet. But make sure that the website you are using is trustworthy. Online competitions are the easiest in terms of accessibility, but as many are time sensitive (that is to say they're only open for a limited period and can appear at any time or end at any time), hence it's not practical to list them individually here.
The best way I can help you is by pointing you towards those sites that are dedicated to the subject, and where possible breaking those down into different countries. My attempt at this is shown in the country specific sections below.
Alternatively you could just search for something like 'online competitions for cash prizes' in any of the major search engines - Google, Bing, or Yahoo. There are competition websites or forums where you can become a member, and get mailed every time a new competition gets kicked off.
But before we move on to in country competitions, there are a couple of very useful online locations you need to be aware of and make use of.
It won't be a surprise to learn that those are Twitter and Facebook - two of the most popular social networking sites. On these you'll find many cash-winning opportunities - a good way to make use of these is to follow brands or like the companies, products, or services you're most interested in.
Whenever they run any form of contest with prizes to give away, there's a high probability they'll be using social networking to get the word out. Just follow the brands, and wait for their Tweets or Facebook communications.
Newspapers & Magazines
You'll definitely have seen cash prize comps in either of these. Almost certainly they'll be country specific, and normally they'll entail either posting in an entry with your home address and email, or entering them online. The exceptions will be skill or ability based competitions for such things as story writing or poetry.
Supermarkets & Stores
This is a popular way for brands to market or promote their products. For example - find the $10,000 wrapper, find the Golden ticket etc etc. Very rare to win, but someone has to, right? It could be you. And at least you get a chocolate bar or a packet of tea thrown in.
TV & Radio
You'll see or hear many competitions announced on TV or radio. Often these are used to promote big shows such as X-Factor. Keep an eye on the small print with these. Many do ask you to text in, which of course costs money. But in the small print you might see instructions for how to enter online for free.
Which Are The Best Cash Competitions To Enter?
We've already noted that there are many different types of contest where money is on offer as a prize. For me, without a doubt, entering casino tournaments (or in fact any type of tournament) offers the best way of winning. That's because you're going to get a lot of entertainment for what is often a low or no buy in fee, and the chance to walk away from the contest with the cash prize in your pocket.
If tournaments don't grab you, then probably the best way to try and win a cash competition is to find those that are likely to have the lowest number of entrants, or if you have the time alternatively go for the scatter gun approach with as many entries you can make to as many contests you can find.
Top Tips To Make Competition Entry Enjoyable & Successful
• Every competition has its own rules and some are valid only in limited areas or regions. These details need to be carefully considered prior to participation. Make sure you understand the rules and don't make avoidable mistakes with your entries that could make them invalid.
• It's fairly obvious, but be sure before you enter that any competition you're interested in is current. Sometimes you have to search the small print, but it should always be fairly easy to find out closing dates or any other time restrictions.
• Some online games that are played for cash are played against other players. If this is the case in one that you choose to enter, then as far as possible try and understand the level that your opponents will be working at. Understanding an opponents strengths and weaknesses of course puts you in a good position in any type of contest. Not so easy in many online opportunities you'll find, but you may be able to work out at least the type of person who might be entering.
• Understand the cost. Some competitions require an entry fee, or at least some action on your part that might have a cost associated (text messages is a good example). If you understand the cost, you can make a good balanced decision on whether it's worth entering. Make an assessment of any competitions worth before paying.
• Remember to build a separate email email account to use in entries. This way you just have one place to look for any winning mails, any extra actions you might need to take on any entry, plus this will automatically reduce the amount of spam to your primary email.
• Be security conscious. You should be extremely wary of entering bank details on any online forms. You should also make sure that the site you are communicating with is authentic, before giving out your information. Do not use the same password as your bank password.
• Shop around and keep a constant eye open for new opportunities. Look around for different competitions. Browsing through competition forums can be very helpful in finding links. They may also offer reviews of past participants.
• Look at the cash prizes and narrow down the competition or competitions you would like to participate in. A lot of people are lazy and competitions that take effort usually have fewer participants automatically increasing your winning chances.
• Enter lots of competitions. The law of averages will apply. If you don't enter you can't win, and the more times you do enter the greater your chances.
• Keep a record. Make sure you are aware of competitions that you have entered, as some promoters eliminate people who enter many times. Always keep tabs on your wins to ensure they materialize. Inform the promoter if your goodies do not arrive by the expected date.
• Be quick while taking part in competitions. Make full use of the auto fill option of your browser. There are various software programs available online that help fill up forms. If you are a regular at these competitions, downloading such free software could prove very beneficial. If you are mailing your entry, you can buy sticky labels and print out your details on them to save time and also eliminate the possibility of mistakes. Speed can be money, although many you find will have plenty of time to get an entry in, the aim is to enter as many as possible. For that you need time.
• Make sure that if you're entering any contest online, you're doing so with a reputable website. We're all at risk of scams with anything we do online, so keep your eyes open. Most sites you find by searching on a popular search engine - well at least in the top couple of pages of results - are likely to be well respected, long running sites you can trust.
• Keep an eye open while watching TV, or listening to the radio. On both of these you'll regularly hear about new contests. Not all of these will have an online entry option, but some will and it should be clear in the communications on how to enter.
Additional Resources For Entering & Winning Cash Competitions
MoneySavingExpert's prize competition forum is a great place to mix it with other 'compers'. One of the best resources I've found for UK competition fans.
You do need to have a thick skin for cash prize competition hunting. There's no guarantee of success, but entering consistently and over a period of time will give you strong chances of some form of success. Plus they can be great fun, and there's nothing like the moment when you open that unexpected letter and find you've won a cash prize.
Keep a positive attitude - after all it's most likely not costing you vast amounts of money or time to be involved - and keep going. When that first competition win arrives you may just get hooked forever. And if it takes a bit longer, be persistent and don't give up.
Win Prizes And Make Money Online through playing in online Competitions. The site gives you a slightly annoying popup to win an Iphone (designed to capture your email address I suspect), but there is a good range of money prizes on offer.