You could have heard the phrase "comping" being thrown about in the media recently and you could be asking yourself what it is about. Comping refers to the hobby whereby you enter zero cost competitions commonly over a lengthy period.
There's no cheat which will assist you to win, yet prevalent sense tells you that if more effort is needed, less men and women will enter. Consequently, by entering competitions which require more effort, you immediately enhance your chance of success.
To follow in the footsteps of the most productive compers, be sure to put plenty of time & effort into your hobby. Do not become disheartened if you don't win for a while, continually remain positive.
The more competitions you enter, the further your odds of winning – this is basic probability. Although, with a small inside knowledge you could grow your chance of success.
Look out for competitions which ask you to send packaging or receipts back to the company as less people will enter. Fewer folks enter competitions where you must use you creativity such as writing a story or slogan.
Entering free competitions has turned into somewhat of an obsession for some people in recent years. Even before the days of the internet there was “extreme couponing” whereby people would obsessively collect magazine coupons and supermarket vouchers in order to make as many savings as possible. However, comping is a different world entirely.
Comping refers to someone who actively seeks out free competitions and systematically enters them with the intention of cashing in on prizes. For most compers, it is a hobby. However, some compers claim that comping takes place instead of a full time job.
As they always say, “you have to be in it to win it” but surely there has to be more to it if so many people are achieving success? The first rule of comping is to look for free competitions everywhere. They aren’t only available online; you’ll notice them in magazines, newspapers, on television and on the radio. There are competitions pretty much everywhere you look. The key to comping is to take advantage of every opportunity available. If you don’t enter, you won’t win. The laws of probability dictate that the more competitions you enter, the higher your chance of winning. Some experts believe that the number of competition entrants is on the decrease currently which instantly increases your chance of success.
Another important tip is to stick to the rules. There is no cheat or quick route to winning. Entering competitions in a legitimate manner and doing everything by the book is the only way that you will be successful. Always thoroughly read the rules and the terms and conditions. The closing date is important; it can be easy to waste time taking part in competitions which have hardly any entrants. Be sure to look for restrictions because the competition may not be open to you anyway. When judges are trying to find a winner, they often filter out entries who have not followed the rules. Some people estimate that a third of entrants are instantly ignored due to failing to adhere to competition rules.
One rule of entering free competitions which all compers understand is that the harder it is to enter, the easier you will find it to be successful. The vast majority of people enter competitions that are easy because they don’t need to put time into it, so they have nothing to lose. Entering competitions which require time naturally have less entrants which instantly increases your chance of success.
Are you interested in making free competitions online pay out? If you’re considering taking “comping” seriously, we have a few hints and tips to get you started.
First and foremost: get organised and have your own system. Don’t just Google “free competitions” online and enter as many competitions as you can at random. Duplicate entries could result in you being disqualified and being disorganised could cause you to miss out on a great opportunity. There are many websites and forums dedicated to free competitions online, so select your favourite site and work through their competition list on a regular basis. In order to help you get organised, consider setting up a new email address dedicated to your hobby. This avoids getting your normal inbox inundated with spam email and also makes it easier to keep track of what you have entered and when.
Another tip is to be selective. Don’t just apply for every free competition online thinking it increases your odds. Although it is true that the more you enter, the more you win, it is worth bearing in mind that you can’t always swap or sell your prize. Therefore, prioritise your time playing for prizes that you actually want to win. Being selective frees up your time to dedicate to entering competitions for prizes that you really want to win. It also increases the chance of winning for someone else who may really want the prize.
A final hint to increase your chance of winning free competitions online is to look for competitions which require extra effort. Many entrants are lazy and put off a competition if they need to write a poem or answer a tie breaker. A lot of entrants prefer to enter a large volume of competitions which are quick to enter. However, the larger the number of entrants, the lower odds of winning will be. You’ll find that your odds of winning naturally increase if you put a few extra minutes into entering a competition which fewer contestants have entered.
A UK grandmother has spent the past 24 years as a “comper”, also known as a professional competition entrant, racking up £400,000 worth of prizes by entering free competitions.
57 year old Jane Willis estimates that she has won nearly 5,000 free competitions in total. Rather than relying on an income, Jane relies on winning big. On average, she wins prizes worth between £10,000 and £15,000. Her wins include cosmetics, books, luxurious holidays and cash prizes.
Jane’s addiction to entering free competitions has taken her around the globe, from the America’s to Asia. She has taken a gourmet food tour of India and been whale watching in Mexico. Her house has pretty much received a makeover thanks to her wins; her kitchen, bathroom and living room are fully furnished with prizes won over the years.
The mum of two didn’t intend to become a “comper” all those decades ago when this first began. When she attended Oxford University, she began to enter free competitions when she noticed her friend winning free cinema tickets. Like any student, Jane was strapped for cash so decided to see what freebies she could win for herself. Her very first win was in a crossword competition and it all spiralled from there. After graduating from university, Jane dedicated herself to family life, getting married a year later and becoming a full-time mum to two daughters for eight years, before deciding to become a full-time “comper”.
Jane loves the thrill of the chase and enjoys being able to give great gifts to the many members of her family. The best part of Jane’s day is the arrival of the post, which usually brings a new prize from a free competition, “it just cheers you up for the rest of the day. It is nice to have something to look forward to”.
What would be your first purchase if you won the lottery, the top UK competition? A new car? A luxurious holiday? Treat the kids?
One lucky winner – John Baxter – decided to keep his feet on the ground following his Euromillions win, spending the first of his winnings on a humble pair of slippers from the supermarket, costing just £9.99.
Luton airport worker John was absolutely over the moon with his win, but was determined not to go overboard instantly. Infact, John went about his daily business as usual for his first three days as a millionaire because he didn’t realise he had become rich overnight! He entered the Euromillions on New Years Day and didn’t think his numbers had matched. He took a stroll to his local shop that weekend to get his ticket for the Euromillions, one of the top UK competitions. He casually passed the newsagent his ticket from the previous draw to have a quick check and it turned out he had won a life changing amount! Whilst his numbers hadn’t matched, he had won the correct combination of numbers and letters on the Millionaire Raffle.
Completely startled by this amazing start to 2013, John asked the shopkeeper to call the lottery and verify the win. Camelot confirmed that they could verify he had indeed won and that he was now a very wealthy man! By the time John got home, the news had already spread due to the commotion caused in the shop. It turned out that his wife had already been informed by someone in the shop!
This news could not be better timed for John, who has had a tough few years with his health, having gone through a triple heart bypass in recent years. He now feels very lucky and plans to treat his huge family – all three children and nine grandchildren. His wife's humble request is a new sink. However, once treating the family, John aims to be sensible and invest the most of his winnings for his future. He also aims to do some good with his money, donating a sum to The Meningitis Trust, a charity close to his heart since his granddaughter fought and won her battle with the disease 19 years ago.
Five dinner ladies from Brighton started 2013 with a bang, cashing in over £2 million in top UK competition, the Lotto. The five work colleagues – which include four ladies and one man – have been participating in the syndicate for about a year and a half. The team take part in the Lotto each Wednesday and Saturday, headed by Coris Bondsfield who purchases the weekly tickets and checks the previous week’s results.
Coris has spoken about the life changing moment when they won the popular UK competition. Coris’s usual Lotto routine is to wait for her weekly newspaper to arrive before checking the previous week’s numbers. However, on the week of the win, she broke from her routine. Coris was tidying up whilst her son completed his homework when she came across the Lotto playslips. As Coris had the payslips in her hand, she thought she might aswell check the results there and then. She started by browsing the lines that she plays with her husband to no avail. As she got round to checking the final slip, the syndicate, the numbers just kept on coming. Completely silenced by the numbers before her, Coris states, “when it started to dawn on me what was happening, I had to ask my son to read them all back to me. We both sat there completely stunned until I found my voice again”.
Coris verified the win by calling Camelot. She was still extremely shocked by their win and the only words that she could utter to Camelot were “we have done it”.
Her syndicate colleagues were equally stunned with news of the win. When she called one of the syndicate members, Carol, it took her a good few minutes to take in what Coris was saying. Carol had been off work with the flu and it took some time for Carol to understand just what Coris was trying to say – she initially thought she was joking.
The five close friends met up at Coris’s house where they celebrated with a bottle of champagne and excitedly planned what to do with their newfound winnings. Each member of the syndicate received a life changing £429,516 from the nation’s favourite UK competition. Syndicate member Janice Ginn has spent years renting property and is excited to own her very first home, as is Gary Beal who will use his cash to get his foot on the property ladder. Both Laura Busby and Carol Beal (who is also Gary’s mother) plan to take their families across the pond for holidays to Florida and DisneyWorld.
Scratch card competitions first shot into popularity in the UK in the mid 1990’s following the launch of the National Lottery. Entrants are thrilled by the buzz of spending just £1 and potentially winning on the spot, rather than waiting for the next National Lottery game. Between 2008 and 2009, sales of scratch cards increased by almost £183 million, proving that the competition is still hugely popular, despite competition from online gambling websites that also offer an instant win.
In 2009, Maria Murray hit the headlines when she got lucky in the competition. The waitress hit the jackpot, cashing in on £1 million after spending her last pennies on a scratch card. Maria had recently stopped playing the National Lottery and bought this scratch card on a complete whim – a whim which certainly paid off. The mother of four could not have won at a better time: Christmas Eve. Stuck in a dire financial situation, Maria had recently had to break the news to her children that they would not be getting any Christmas presents this year. However, following her huge competition win, her four children will be handed £100,000 each for Christmas.
Hearing of Maria’s big competition win, her ex boyfriend Mr Hunt has allegedly re-appeared on the scene, expecting to cash in on £200,000 of her winnings. Nonetheless, Maria has quashed these rumours, stating that she does not believe that Mr Hunt is expecting a handout; he was simply there at the time that she discovered she had won. Reports state that Mr Hunt has been boasting about the huge cut of the prize that he will receive, however, the pair has been apart for six months and Maria now has a new partner.
Maria has modest plans to spend her competition winnings sensibly, not allowing her fortune to go to her head. After handing her four children £100,000 each, she plans to purchase the council house that she has lived in for nearly twenty years. She has no intention to quit work and plans to continue to work as a waitress at her local café, stating, “I want to keep myself within the community”. Maria’s children also have sensible ideas for their £100,000 cut of the winnings. Her son Todd plans to invest £70,000 and spend the remainder of the cash on learning to drive and purchasing a good car.
In recent years, any visitor to McDonald's would struggle to have missed the McDonald's Monopoly prizes. For those who don't frequent the fast food restaurant, the premise of the competition is simple – with every food or drink item you buy, you collect a sticker. The more you visit the restaurant, the more stickers you accrue. The aim is to collect enough stickers to match up the "streets" of a monopoly board in order to win free prizes. The prizes you win vary, offering anything from a free McDonald’s meal to a huge cash prize.
For most, it is just a free competition and a bit of fun; if you’re lucky, you might get yourself a free apple pie for dessert. However for one lucky teenager in 2011, his first ever Big Mac turned out to be life changing when he hit the jackpot and won £500,000. 17 year old Josh Sargeant had never eaten a Big Mac in his life when he and his friends popped into his local McDonalds in Bolton, Lincolnshire. The Monopoly competition was running at the time and he happened to find a "Mayfair" sticker on his drink whilst also finding "Park Lane" on his Big Mac. Josh became the youngest top prize winner to date, winning half a million pounds.
He had played the game before, so the moment Josh found Mayfair was the moment he realised he had won a life changing prize. The entrepreneurial 17 year old had already started his own business before he got lucky. As the owner of a gardening company, Josh plans to get some financial advice in order to use his money wisely to help the business to grow, "I am determined to use the money to help build something for my future" stated the hard working teen, "Something like this only happens once in a lifetime so I know how lucky I am".
The franchisee who owns the Bolton restaurant where Josh won his prize is thrilled to see the prize go to such a deserving winner. Martin Cuthbert, who owns another five McDonald’s restaurants in the Lincolnshire area, says that all of the restaurants’ staff are also really excited for the young prize winner.
For many, myself included, the mere mention of the word ‘Mathematics’ conjures up long repressed memories of stuffy classrooms and even stuffier teaching staff. Merely glancing over an article about Shinichi Mochizuki’s recent achievement in cracking the world’s most complex mathematical theory left me in a coma like state of incomprehensibility, further compounded by the fact he does not see himself as a mathematician but rather an ‘inter-universal geometer’. Thankfully, for the sake of our collective progression, not everyone sees maths in such a dim light.
For three students studying at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, being able to flex their mathematical ‘muscles’ in competition against others is a thrill like no other. Upon entering one of the USA’s largest and most sought after maths contests, the William Lowell Putnam, they have seen their stock rise exponentially after finishing in fifth place.
Should a school wish to enter they are required to compile a team of three students, preferably with an interest in advanced mathematics, to be pitted head to head in one of the most gruelling examples of competitive mathematics known to man.
Team Carnegie Mellon, consisting of sophomore math majors Albert Gu, Michael Druggan, and first-year Science and Humanities Scholar and mathematics major Linus Hamilton – are ever presents at the regular William Lowell Putnam lectures. The lectures, enthusiastically taught by Po-Shen Loh, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at CMU and Deputy Leader of the United States Math Olympiad Team are seen to be the best preparation available for such an arduous competition.
The team regularly met for impromptu sessions covering mathematical analysis, algebra group theory, combinatorics and anything else they felt would give them a competitive edge. Without fail, come rain or shine, they would also meet for a three hour Sunday session to summarise any individual problem solving carried out when not as a group.
Whilst preparing for the competition Gu stated that it was ‘key to think outside the box’ as the questions they’d be presented with ‘have a different flavour from taught math’ and ‘they differ from problems that a mathematician typically encounters’.
After the results of the competition were announced and fifth place was confirmed a wholly underwhelmed Gu said ‘Coming in fifth was a nice surprise, but we hope to do better next year’.
I for one hope that, after the amount of work they have put in, they succeed in doing so.
What would you do if you won the top UK competition, the National Lottery? Would you quit your job? Maybe you’d buy a house? Or, you could finally go on that dream holiday. For most Brits, winning the National Lottery is the ultimate dream. In one day, your whole life can change, with all financial burdens gone and the opportunity to go anywhere in the world. For the majority, a big lottery win would mean not going to work on Monday.
In 2012, a syndicate of bus drivers from Northamptonshire did just that. The team racked up an amazing £3 million each in winnings, before collectively not turning up to work the next day. One of the drivers found out about the win whilst driving his bus, he proceeded to pull up at the side of the road and order his passengers to get off the bus, quitting his job instantly.
Although quitting work may be the ultimate dream for most lottery players, one young man’s lottery win taught him just how much he loved his job. Luke Pittard and Emma Cox won big in the UK competition at the age of 23. The pair worked together in a McDonald’s restaurant in Cardiff at the time of their win in 2006. The couple hit the headlines when they announced that they would not be quitting their jobs. However, this did not last long as the couple gave into the temptation of lie-ins and relaxation as they handed in their notice.
Enjoying the usual luxuries that come with winning the popular UK competition, the couple splashed out on a family home for themselves and enjoyed holidays abroad, with no expenses spared. However, did not take long for hard worker Luke to get a little bored of the quiet life and he made the decision to return to work after just three weeks of relaxation. Luke told the media that he missed his friends at work and he got restless with little to do at home. The 23 year old’s attitude to work is one that many should learn from, as he stated, “there’s only so much relaxing you can do. I’m only young and a bit of hard work never did anyone any harm”. His fiancée Emma is still not working, although she supports Luke’s admirable decision. The couple earn more interest from their winnings from the UK competition than Luke earns each month.