Have you ever wondered if you can make a living entering sweepstakes? Perhaps you've seen a television show or read a newspaper article that featured someone who enters sweepstakes full time and been tempted to try it. Or maybe you won a big prize yourself and thought that entering sweepstakes sure beats a nine-to-five.
Can you really make entering sweepstakes and contests your next full-time job?
It's a tempting idea, especially if you have won big prizes recently or if you're stuck in a job you hate. The idea of staying home and filling out entry forms and earning enough to make a good living sounds like a dream come true. And you'd save money on lunches out, work clothes, and transportation costs, right?
However, as tempting as it is, it's not a good idea to rely on sweepstakes as your main source of income
Why Sweepstakes Entry Is a Bad Full-Time Job
It's possible to make a living by entering sweepstakes. After all, there are some big cash sweepstakes out there, and all it takes is one enormous win and a smart investment strategy to keep you sitting pretty for quite some time.
If you treat sweeping like a job, organize your entries well, and spend eight hours a day entering as many sweeps as you can, you will certainly win prizes — quite possibly enough to make a living.
But just because it's possible, doesn't mean it's advisable. Here are four reasons why it's a bad idea to enter sweepstakes for a living:
The Odds Are Against You
It's not easy to win a prize that's big enough to set yourself up for life. Hundreds of millions of people compete to win huge giveaways like the HGTV Dream Home or the PCH SuperPrize drawings. Even if you maximize your chances of winning, you'll need a lot of luck to be the winner.
And do you really want your, and your family's well-being to depend totally on luck?
Sweepstakes are too unreliable to stake your livelihood, and that of your family, on your prize wins. Sometimes, no matter how much or how smartly you enter, you just don't win. Nothing is guaranteed with giveaways.
You'll Often Win the "Wrong" Things
Even when you do win, you can't be sure that your prize will help you pay your rent or buy groceries. For example, winning a vacation is an amazing experience, but if you live in the U.S., it comes with a cost when you have to declare your prize on your taxes. It won't help you pay your bills.
It Doesn't Come With Benefits
Unlike a standard job, entering sweepstakes won't provide you with health insurance or help you save for retirement, so you will be leaving yourself vulnerable if a crisis strikes.
It Takes the Fun Out of Playing
Trying to make a living with sweepstakes puts a lot of pressure on what should be a fun hobby. If your entire life depends on a big win, you're going to spend a lot of time being disappointed — and eating ramen noodles.
It's likely that if you try it, you'll get burned out and wish you'd stuck with sweepstakes for fun and entertainment.
But — You Can Supplement Your Income With Sweepstakes
Although they make lousy full-time jobs, sweepstakes are a great way to earn money to supplement your household income, especially when times are tough.
Supplemental income is a lot different than relying on giveaways to put food on the table. When your budget is tight, a $20 gift card or a pair of free movie tickets can make a big difference, never mind the bigger prizes you can win while entering.
Sweepstakes can certainly save you money. You'll win things that you can enjoy yourself, sell, or donate to charity to help offset your taxes. It's great to not have to shell out your hard-earned cash for t-shirts, fancy beauty products, getaways, or games.
And when birthdays and holidays come around, it's a great feeling to be able to give prizes as presents to your friends and loved ones — giving you the chance to delight them with gifts that you otherwise might not be able to afford.
But saving money isn't the same as earning money, and pure cash wins, or big wins that you can leverage into a lot of cash, can be few and far between.
Entering sweepstakes can also be a productive use of your time when you are between jobs. But they shouldn't replace your job search.
In short, sweeping is a great hobby and a source of fun and excitement. Having a prize show up at your front door is like Christmas in July (or April, or October). There are many good reasons for entering sweepstakes other than just winning cash.
However, making your living by entering sweepstakes is just too risky. Enter sweepstakes in your spare time or while relaxing at your computer, and enjoy the rewards without putting your family's well-being on the line.