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

Does It Make Sense to Send Tons 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, offered one or two entries per day online but unlimited mail-in entries for many years. Which raises the question: Does it make sense to send in hundreds of mail-in entries, if the rules let you do so?

Pros and Cons of Mail-In Entry Methods

If you want to win regularly, entering as often as the rules allow increases 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 as the winner.

However, there's 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. You might lose some time, but you won't lose any money.

When you enter sweepstakes by mail, you add an element of risk due to the cost of sending in your entries. While most people 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 desirable, but a hundred million entries or more are going to be received.

By the time you pay for an envelope, paper for the entry form, and a first-class stamp, each mail-in entry will cost well over $0.60 to send. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth spending $60 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 harder to find 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.

But keep in mind, if you read the stories of the HGTV Dream Home winners, most of them state that they won through online entries. When the odds are extremely long, it's smart to stick with the free entry methods.