By MoneySavingExpert's Coupon Kid, Jordon Cox
A comp a day won’t keep the doctor away (well, it hasn’t worked for me), but it’s a way to kill some spare time and could earn you a fortune – if you’re lucky.
As you may know, I’m currently stuck in hospital (if you didn’t – see my Coupon Kid vs Crohn’s Disease blog), which means I’m reluctantly taking a break from my usual high street bargain-hunting and couponing adventures.
To keep myself busy, I’ve rediscovered the art of ‘comping’ – and the wacky world of professional ‘compers’, who systematically enter hundreds of competitions to statistically boost their odds of winning big.
Within about a week, I’ve managed to win prizes totaling about £250. So I thought I’d share a few tips to inspire a few more people to give comping a try. It can be very rewarding if you’re able to put in the hours like I’ve been doing.
Prizes I’ve won in the past week or so:
– A £100 Buyagift experience of my choice for two people – via Facebook page ‘My Local’s a Geronimo Pub’.
– A £50 designer doormat – via Turtle Mat Company’s Facebook page.
– £30 cash – via Twitter account of Festival Leisure shopping centre in Basildon. me, so low entry).
– £20 Amazon voucher – via Twitter account of juice drink brand Um Bongo.
– £10 travel voucher – via Barnes Travel Ltd’s Facebook page.
– Ristorante pizza freebie voucher worth £3 – via Ristorante’s Facebook page.
– Taste Inc chicken freebie vouchers worth £2.50 – via Taste Inc’s Facebook page.
– Kabuto instant noodles freebie vouchers worth £10 – via Kabuto’s Facebook page.
– Maple syrup butter freebies – via Maple Butter’s Facebook page.
– Jameson branded whiskey flask and backpack – via Jameson’s Facebook page.
– Cadbury branded scarf – Competition still running on Cadbury website (more info below).
– Handwriting guide book – via Twitter account of The Book People.
– Mazuma Mobile toy – via Mazuma’s Facebook page.
Yes, a few of those prizes may seem a bit random, and I’m certain I’d never pay £50 for a doormat, but it proves that if you’ve time and motivation to start comping, it really can pay off (plus I had some fun doing it).
Over my comping life, however, I’ve won more than £5,000 of prizes in total – including £1,000 in cash, £250 of theatre tickets, a year’s worth of free cinema tickets, a Kindle Fire HD tablet and much more. Plus I’ve walked the red carpet twice at film premieres for Tomorrowland (starring George Clooney) and Grimsby (starring Sasha Baron Cohen).
Where to find competitions…
Competitions are everywhere. Most of the ones I entered were on social media, and that’s where most of my wins have come from. Sorry to my Facebook friends if I’ve filled your timelines with spam from all my comping!
The ‘Competitions Time’ board on our own MSE Forum is a brilliant place to start your comping career. Simply going through and entering each one (or being selective) will very quickly get your entries mounting up.
There are also special comping websites that allow you to use filters to narrow down your search and find prizes you actually want to win. The main sites I’ve been using are Loquax.co.uk and ThePrizeFinder.com, which are both free to join and also help you keep track of what you’ve entered.
Remember, it’s a numbers game…
Let’s be honest. Most of us lead busy lives and probably can’t commit as many hours to comping as I have since being in hospital. I was averaging upwards of 200 per day, which obviously did take a chunk of my time, but luckily, I had a couponing void that needed to be filled!
But even if you only enter a fraction of this amount, you still stand a chance of winning. As they say, you have to be in it to win it… and all you need is a bit of luck on one comp to give you your first win.
How to boost your chances of winning…
Some of the competitions you’ll come across, especially on social media, can have 100,000s of entries, which of course makes your chances of winning quite slim.
So to increase your odds, try to find some ‘low entry’ competitions (ones without many entries), or contests that require a bit of effort (eg, sending in a photo or writing a caption). These rarely attract as many entrants, so you’ve usually got a better chance of winning.
You can filter creative competitions on the sites above to find ones that require a bit more effort, and you can usually find low entry comps by doing a bit of digging around with the #win or #competition hashtags on Twitter.
Alternatively, look for competitions specific to your area, either in a local newspaper or magazines or take a look at your local shopping centre’s Facebook page. If only local people are entering, rather than every avid comper on the internet, then you probably stand a better chance.
Another one to look out for is competitions with multiple prizes up for grabs. I’ve personally have been focussing on comps with five winners, 10 winners, 100 winners, and so on, rather than prize draws with just one lucky winner.
Think about it… if 500 people enter a comp to win one prize, your odds are 500:1. But if there were 10 winners, and still 500 entries, you’ve suddenly got odds of 50:1 – which is very good in comping.
A few online comps to get you started…
Here I’ve rounded up just a handful of current competitions I’ve entered, all of which appear to give fairly decent odds of winning a prize:
Cadbury Legends – Every day, you have the chance of winning Premier League football tickets, scarves, mugs, Now TV passes and more in this Cadbury competition. You’ll need to take a photo of a Cadbury chocolate bar and submit it with your details – you’ll then be told instantly if you’ve won a prize.
There are 1,000s of prizes available to be won randomly at specific ‘winning moments’, so you’ll win just as long as you press to submit at precisely the right time. The best part is you can take a photo of the same chocolate bar each day and keep playing until you win. Competition closes Fri 30 Mar (full T&Cs).
Kit Kat Joe Mugs – There are 50,000 promotional Kit Kat ‘Joe Mugs’ to be won by entering codes from Kit Kat wrappers. There’s a large number of prizes, so hopefully not bad odds, and you even can select which mug design you’d like if you win one.
You’ll find out instantly if you’ve won when you enter the code. You can win up to five times throughout the competition, but you’ll need to buy a new Kit Kat for a new code each time. Competition ends Tue 31 Jul (full T&Cs).
Pringles ‘Win a flight every hour’ – You can try to win a return flight courtesy of Pringles by posting a photo of you munching on a Pringle to its Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #PringlesTakeABite. There’s one flight up for grabs each hour between 11am and 7pm every day until Mon 16 Apr (601 flights in total).
You can only enter once per day, though – so before you post, you could scour the social media pages to see how many entries there have been in the last 60 minutes. Ideally, you want to enter during the hour when fewest people seem to be posting their photos.
It also needs to be a unique photo each time, so grab yourself a Pringle and go wild with the high-speed ‘burst’ mode if your camera has it. Unfortunately, the prize is just one return ticket – so if you don’t want to fly alone, your companion would need to buy a ticket (full T&Cs).
I hope this will start you on your comping journey. I first got into comping when I entered a simple form-filling competition as a one-off and won myself a Kindle – all you need is a bit of good luck on your side. So good luck!
What are your comping tips? Have you ever won a big prize? I’d love to know in the comments below or on Twitter.