Started Winning Contests - How I Raised My Family in
10 Words or Less!
"Mum, I need a new pair of trainers please. I've
cries, if you're a mum or dad yourself.
a simple shopping expedition to buy new clothes can
become a daunting experience if you've just lost your
income through redundancy.
"luxuries" like family holidays or a new car
seemed things of the past.
understand that feeling only too well.
It happened to me ten years ago. As if that wasn't
enough, my husband was also made redundant at the same
time and we lost our house too.
a newspaper article changed my life...
article featured ordinary people, like me and you. I read how they enjoyed holidays to exotic locations, drove
gleaming new cars and showered their family and friends
with exciting goodies - all for free.
I read on. Thinking there must be a catch somewhere!
All these "compers" had one thing
in common - they won prizes. Cars. Holidays. Landscaped
gardens. Entertainment systems. Computers, toys and
games for their kids. Luxury kitchens. Even a house.
You name it. They
Normally, I'd read an article and forget it.
But with teenage daughter needing new trainers
and time on my hand,s apart from seemingly endless job
hunting, what had I to lose?
A prize crossword in a high street chain store
caught my eye. Completed, I sent it on its way and forgot all about it. Three
weeks later the postman brought me a long white envelope.
I read, "you've won a £10 gift voucher."
that moment I realized there wasn't a catch. Ordinary
people like you and me could, and did, win competition
It was great fun spending the gift voucher as the kids
needed books and things for school.
After writing a thank you note to the competition
promoter, I wondered if my win was a fluke!
I decided to find out...
round the high street stores I discovered a competition
in a free magazine in a bank to win one of 25 pair of
trainers and an entry form in a men's clothing store.
never noticed competitions before it was like going
on a treasure hunt. Sherlock Holmes would have been
proud of me! An entry form collar on a bottle of wine.
A prize draw on a bookmark in the local bookshop.
Instead of bags of shopping I came back laden
with entry forms, all shapes and sizes.
in the library, wading through an encyclopaedia to answer
some of the competition questions, I realized what a
challenging and fun pastime I'd discovered.
And one that was only as expensive as I wanted
it to be.
discovering that prize draws were free to enter, all
it cost was a postcard and stamp and not even that when
you were allowed to drop your entry form into the free
prize in-store posting box.
competitions where you were asked to complete a tiebreaker
sentence, such as:
want to win a car with store because..." usually
asked you to attach a qualifying till receipt, I noted.
expensive "qualifiers", it was easy to switch
For instance, instead of your normal brand of
soap powder, you simply bought the brand which was running
your till receipt and enclosed it with your entry as
proof of purchase or "qualifier" as it was
Thrilled was an understatement, when a store manager
phoned to say I'd won first prize in their free to enter
contest. A new wardrobe of clothes.
My kids were delighted.
Hubby and I took them to the store.
I could hardly believe it when, laden with jeans, trousers,
T-shirts, fashionable shirts and trainers, the manager
accompanied us to a check out. It was like meeting Santa
Claus in a suit. He totted up the bill to the amount
of our prize win, thanked us for entering their competition
and smilingly escorted us to the door before waving
us a cheery good-buy!
Although unsuccessful at finding new employment, despite
scouring job advertisements and completing application
forms, my new pastime of "comping" was keeping
my brain active as well as changing our shopping and
of window shopping, knowing we couldn't afford to buy
expensive goodies and luxuries, shopping became fun.
Often the only thing I'd come back with from
an afternoon of shopping, was a pile of entry forms!
competition tasks were varied, challenging and fun as
family general knowledge improved by leaps and bounds.
The reference library became a second home.
diet changed according to qualifying till receipts.
I'd tell my family, "we're having pizza - to try
and win an Italian holiday. Served with tomato salad
- to win a holiday in the Canaries. Followed by apples
- to win a healthy break in France.
Oh, and as a treat, you can have a chocolate
- to win a Valentine's cruise!"
remember I need the wrapper!"
six months of discovering this new pastime, I won a
family holiday in Devon, a TV, video recorder and lots
of welcome runners-up prizes like bottles of wine, spirits,
leather handbag, a watch, camera and shopping vouchers.
Then came a worrying time followed by an exciting
On Christmas eve my daughter was rushed to hospital
with suspected appendicitis. Whilst in the ward we watched
Del Boy and Rodney from "Only Fools and Horses"
in The Everglades and wished we too, could take an airboat
ride just like Del and Rodney.
lady in the next bed passed her magazine to my daughter.
Inside was a tiebreaker slogan competition to win a
healthy weekend break.
few weeks later, returning late at night from an interview,
I opened an interesting looking letter. Tiredness disappeared
as I read:
you've won a health and country club weekend in the
a few days later, by a fantastic sur-prize -
a family holiday for four to Miami, Florida, including
hotel, flights, car hire AND tickets for an air boat
ride in The Everglades. Wow!
on cloud nine, the next morning I answered the phone
to a man who quizzed:
you remember entering a competition in your local supermarket
yes," I answered, trying to recall which competition
he continued, "you've won a brand new car!"
I accused him of being Jeremy Beadle. Assuring
me he wasn't, he said a confirmation letter was in the
agonizing "have I dreamed it or not" weekend
followed until a long white envelope arrived on Monday.
It was true - I'd won a car!
And all for identifying eight products and writing
less than ten words.
a new job? Well
I gave up job hunting!
You see, I remembered a childhood ambition to
write a book - when I had the time - and now I had the
time and the subject - how to Win Your Fortune
in Prizes. And
the rest, as they say, is history!
Copyright 2001 Lynne Suzanne www.win-with-lynne.co.uk
About the author
Lynne Suzanne is a freelance writer, consultant and
speaker. She has written four books on winning prize
competitions and slogan writing and presents Win With
Lynne Roadshows and marketing seminars. FREE Win With
Lynne Expert Guide to Winning competition prizes