Do People Really Win Sweepstakes?

Read About 8 People Just Like You Who Have Won Major Prizes

If you've ever asked yourself, "Do people really win sweepstakes?" the answer is yes. People win prizes every day, from life-changing prizes like winning a new car or a new home, to fun prizes like tickets to a basketball game, a dinner out, or a brand new Apple iPad ​or Xbox One. But don't just take my word for it! Here are real winning stories from people just like you who have receivied fantastic prizes from sweepstakes and contests.

Don Cruz Won the 2005 HGTV Dream Home

Cruz family during Money Magazine photo shoot at the 2005 HGTV Dream Home.
Cruz family during Money Magazine photo shoot at the 2005 HGTV Dream Home. Image © Don Cruz, used with permission.

If you've ever wondered who takes home the stunning HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes, read my interview with Don Cruz. Don Cruz won the 2005 HGTV Dream Home in Lake Tyler, Texas. This really was Don's dream home, and he and his wife and son moved into the sprawling mansion and kept it for three years. Eventually, Don and his family sold the home, but this interview shows just what a positive experience winning this huge prize was for him.

Natalie Bostelman, Publishers Clearing House Millionaire

Image of a PCH winner receiving her prize.
Publisher's Clearing House awards a million-dollar prize on February 25, 2010. Pictured: Dave Sayer, Marilyn Ragin, Natalie Bostelman and Danielle Bertellotti. Image © Publishers Clearing House, used with permission.

Not many people can tell you how it feels to win a million dollars AND how it feels to share that joy by bringing the good news to another lucky winner. But Natalie Bostelman, who became an instant millionaire with Publishers Clearing House in 2008, is one of those lucky few. Read her story.

McDonald's Monopoly Winner Michele B.'s Story

Michele B. $100,000 McDonald's Monopoly Winner 2008
Michele B. $100,000 McDonald's Monopoly Winner 2008. Image © McDonald's, Used with Permission

When you walk into a McDonald's restaurant, you're usually hoping to leave with a Fillet of Fish or some crispy fries. But Michele B. of Beaumont, Texas received much ​more from McDonald's in 2008 -- a game code for the McDonald's Monopoly Sweepstakes that ended up being worth $100,000! Read how she did it.

Kyria Henry Won $100,000 to Expand the Paws4People Project

Photo of Contest Winner Kyria Henry with a Paws4Vets Dog.
Kyria Henry, winner of the 2010 Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest. Image © Joan Brady, used with permission.

At 12 years old, Kyria Henry started a charitable organization called Paws4People, which trains assistance dogs (and assistance dog trainers) to help kids and vets with physical, neurological, and psychological problems. Her passion for helping others made her the $128,000 winner in Ikea's 2010 Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest. Read her story and her tips.

Charl Won an Unforgettable Egyptian Vacation

Charl and her husband enjoy a trip to Egypt that they won from Dr. Pepper and Expedia.
Charl and her husband enjoy a trip to Egypt that they won from Dr. Pepper and Expedia. Image © Charl and her husband, used with permission

Charl wasn't very interested in sweepstakes when she entered an under-the-cap promotion from Dr. Pepper. Little did she know that something she did in a moment of boredom would result in a life-changing trip to Egypt. Now Charl is hooked on sweepstakes and enters regularly. 

Carol Earheart Shares her Amazing Vacation Prize Win - A Trip to Texas

Illuminated cafes of San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Carol Earheart didn't think very much of vacation sweepstakes... until she won an amazing trip for two to San Antonio, Texas. She and a girlfriend dined in style at Ruth Chris Steakhouse, enjoyed the Riverwalk, and enjoyed a day at the spa. 

Suzy Tells Us About Winning Tickets to a Pajama Party with Madonna

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Backstage And Audience
WireImage / Getty Images

Suzy won a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend a private party with pop star Madonna as well as other celebrities like Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame and Baywatch Babe Nicole Eggert. All she did to win was call her local radio station when they announced a contest.

Liz Shares How a Sweepstakes Win Convinced Her to Become a Sweeper

Magic Kingdom's Main Street in the Rain
J. Andruckow / Getty Images

Liz threw a couple of entries into a local sweepstakes to see what would happen - and she won! That win led to another, and another, and soon Liz was hooked on sweeping! She wrote:

"Along with family and friends telling me I was lucky, I started to believe it myself. So, I ran across a newsletter to subscribe to on the internet that published sweepstakes. I subscribed, and haven't looked back since. I've won...

  • 2 trips to SeaWorld (Orlando)
  • trips to Disneyland and Disney World
  • a trip to Hong Kong (through Turning Leaf Vineyards) in which we requested cash instead due to the incidences of American kidnappings overseas at that time-(we received $12,500.00)
  • trips to NASCAR events (Talladega - from Arby's Roast Beef) and Fort Worth Budweiser 500 (Budweiser).
  • a car from 7-Eleven
  • a trip to London from a local radio station
  • a $7,500.00 Polaris ATV from Lowe's Building Supply (which we sold it to the dealer assigned to deliver it for $5,000.00)"

and much more. The secret to her success?

"The attitude of expecting to win is what I think helps it happen. Expect to win, expect to receive that special affidavit in the mail or from UPS/FedEX, and someday, soon, it will happen."

How to Avoid Scams

Alii Drive in the town of Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Sam Antonio Photography / Getty Images

As you can see, people really do win sweepstakes prizes, including cars, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, vacations, and much more. However, it's important to keep in mind that there are people out there who will prey on your dreams of winning. Here are some articles that will help you avoid falling for sweepstakes scams:

Tips For Winning Contests

If you avoid contests of skill because you feel you have no chance of winning, you could be robbing yourself of some great prizes. Contests are some of the best sweepstakes to enter because relatively few people bother to enter them. Nancy has won several contests, and she shares her tips here.