Unlimited Sweepstakes Entries by Mail: Can They Really Help You Win?

Does It Make Sense to Send Lots of Sweepstakes Entries by Mail?

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Two Methods to Enter Sweepstakes.. Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

Some sweepstakes offer entrants the chance to enter both online and by mail. Oftentimes, you can get many more chances to win if you enter through the postal service. The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, for example, offers one or two entries per day online but unlimited mail-in entries. Does it make sense to send in hundreds of mail-in entries, if you can legally do so?

Pros and Cons of a Mail-In Entry Method:

If you want to win regularly, it's a good idea to enter as often as the rules allow in order to increase your chances of winning.

If you look purely at the odds, sure it makes sense to send in a large number of mail-in entries as well as online entries. The more you enter, the less you have to rely on good luck to be drawn the winner.

However, there is one important thing to consider before flooding your post office with entries: unlike online entries, mail-in entries cost money to send. That means that you are taking more of a risk when you send entries through the mail.

When you enter sweepstakes online, you have no risk at all. You might not win, but you don't have anything to lose, either, assuming you have made sure that the giveaways you are entering are not scams.

When you enter sweepstakes by mail, you add an element of risk due to the cost of sending in your entries. While most of us can send a moderate number of mail-in sweepstakes entries without thinking twice about it, if you're talking about taking advantage of unlimited entries to send in hundreds or thousands of entries by mail, the amount of money you are putting at risk starts to look daunting.

Before sending a significant number of mail-in entries, there are two things to consider:

  1. How badly do you want the prize?
  2. Are the additional entries going to make a substantial difference?

Taking the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes as an example, the prize is definitely desirable, but tens of millions of entries are going to be received.

By the time you pay for anĀ envelope, paper for the entry form, and a stamp, each mail-in entry will cost well over $0.50 to send. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth spending $50 to get 100 extra entries when your chances of winning will still be tens of millions to one?

Avoiding Disqualification:

Before you enter both online and through the mail, make sure that the sweepstakes rules allow it. Some will have restrictions like "one entry per person per day, no matter which entry method you use." If you see terminology like that, you run the risk of disqualification if you use both entry methods. Be sure to read the rules carefully before wasting postage on mail-in entries.

Mail-in and Online Entries - Right for You?

A good middle ground might be to budget a certain amount of money every month to use for mail-in sweepstakes entries. Think of it as entertainment, like going to the movies or going out to eat, and make sure you don't go over that budget in any given month.

The mail-in sweepstakes with the best odds are those that have no online entry method, but those are getting more and more rare these days.

So some of that mail-in sweepstakes budget could go toward large sweepstakes with an unlimited mail-in entry method. Some sweepers have success with this method.

Personally, I don't like to take a monetary risk while entering sweepstakes. I stick to online entries, which are free. Stephanie Dee, 2008 HGTV Dream Home winner, seemed to agree with me. She said in an interview that she had entered only online when she won the $2.1 million home.

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