Free competitions – how much can you earn?

Free competitions – are they worth your precious time?

I’ve often been tempted to enter free competitions online, and very occasionally have entered them.

There are many supporters of entering free competitions and many earn part of their “additional income” by doing so.

Certain money making websites offer this as a viable way to earn extra income. However, in my opinion, all “income” should be measured in an amount per hour to show whether the income is worth your time.


Value per entry?

Free competition

So, I thought I’d look at whether these competitions are worthwhile entering.

Just doing a quick google search, looking at rafflecopter competitions between August and now on personal finance blogs, I have noted the following:




Prize value

Value per entry


Sara Lee Cake Set




3 books




Powerbar iphone charger *




$50 amazon gift card




$200 gift card




$50 gift card




Twilight Forever Box Set *




Sketchers Go2Walk Shoes




$150 gift card




Little mermaid diamond edition




Vtech Cora the Cub Plush Toy




Cutco kitchen products *




Madison Wood Gym Set *




$250 gift card




$25 gift card




Review & Giveaway! Neocell Hydra + H.A. Serum & Beauty Bursts Collagen Chews $55 US




Handmade Lavender Glass Sparkle Earrings by Ever So Lovely




Young.Again Hair Care Line




$100 amazon gift card




Big Hugs Elmo




Is it worth it?

The average value per entry from the free competitions noted above (which is an over-estimate because many are still on-going) is USD$0.043.

Let’s say that to find the free competition and to submit an entry takes, on average, 30 seconds.

This would make the hourly wage of entering the competitions $5.21 per hour.

The federal minimum wage in the US is currently $7.25.

Therefore, it would be much better to work a minimum wage job (not including tips) than enter these competitions.


Worse still…

Unfortunately, the prizes that you win through these free competitions are very rarely in the form of actual cash. You may not want a Cora the cub toy or a Big Hugs Elmo.

So, you’ll need to re-sell them to realize the cash.

For a sample of five of the items in the table above, I’ve looked at the resale value online:






$50 amazon gift card




gift & rescue

Cora the cub





Sketchers Go2Walk Shoes






So, what is my hourly wage?

Well, with an average resale value around 75% of RRP online, you would expect to earn around $4 per hour, based on the figures above.

BUT, the time to earn this money has also increased. You have to list the item for sale, you have to package the item, you have to post the item. Let’s estimate that this takes 30 minutes in total (this is an underestimate in my opinion).

In this estimate, you then would have to divide your earnings per hour by 90/60.

Therefore, my final income estimate for entering free competitions is $2.67 per hour.

Personally, I’m sure you can find a better way to spend your time…


What do you guys think? Do you enter competitions?


Note: I have made a follow up post to this regarding entering free competitions and, after further more detailed research, I’m starting to like competitions a little more often!

16 thoughts on “Free competitions – how much can you earn?

  1. As you may know, we have a weekly giveaway roundup each week. I get value out of this because it brings in a lot of traffic each week as there are many who like the giveaways and enter most of them. I personally don’t put together the post either, so when I do enter giveaways I have them all lined up and can open them up quickly.

    I think your calculations are off because it takes FAR less than 30 seconds to get an entry. Some of these giveaways I literally open up in a browser and spend 20 seconds with it open and gain 20-100 entries and close it (some auto-populate entries too if you already like a page on facebook or whatnot). I think it’s very hard to calculate the return on giveaways because each person is slower/faster at gaining entries (I can enter 100+ giveaways in just over an hour, gaining thousands upon thousands of entries).

    Also, you have to factor in when you are entering them. I often do it while watching TV, so I would usually just be sitting there not doing anything anyway. I might as well get entries into giveaways while I’m at it.

  2. I do enter a fair amount of contests because, Iike DC, I do it while I’m watching TV, so it’s not costing me time that would be spent earning money otherwise. I’ve actually won a few giveaways, so I think it’s well worth it. It’s also really fun to give away money. I did a giveaway for my one year blogiversary and the winner was thrilled.

    • Earning any $ per hour is better than nothing. I’m just highlighting that there are better uses of time if your sole objective is to earn money.

      As you say, giveaways from the perspective of the giver are a whole different story…

  3. Ouch! I have entered a couple, am starting to think I should have done the math carefully. I guess whats on most peoples minds when entering is that nice number of $150 or Amazon gift card, you don’t look at it from a hourly rate kind of thing.
    That said, I don’t think I can argue with the math here! Most entrants are getting the short end of the stick. Still, its a fun way of unwinding instead of say the telly but in terms of making money, seems like a huge waste.
    I suppose the house does always win 🙂

    • I disagree with the math, actually. One entry every thirty seconds is way off from what I’ve experienced. I do like how the $150 amazon gift card was shown here, though, because it is definitely true that some have a very small $ per entry. If there is a giveaway where each entry is worth .05 on average, though, and you can get 100 within a few minutes, that’s definitely higher than minimum wage from an ROI perspective.

    • I know I am. One entry per thirty seconds is an inaccurate assumption. I’ve literally gotten 70 within a few seconds before (some forms auto-populate if you already liked a page in the past, follow on twitter, etc. using their API), and gaining thousands of entries per hour isn’t unrealistic at all and actually very much the norm if you just use a roundup list.

  4. Interesting way to break it down. I don’t enter giveaways, because I’m a bit too lazy to and would rather spend my time doing other things. As DC has highlighted, it can actually be pretty profitable if you get into it. I’m sure the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the faster you can enter. Sometimes I’ll enter if the prize is really worth it to me.

  5. I agree that they don’t really seem worth the time, but occasionally when I’m noodling around the internet I enter a few. I usually only spend about 30 seconds on each page and rack up however many entries that much time may get me (some of the other comments are right though – just showing up is enough to new you a few entries usually). The only ones I’ll spend a little time commenting or whatever to gain entries is if it’s ending soon, only has a small number of entries and is something I’m actually interested in.

    I know on my blog, each month I raffle off a book on the topic of the month, but since I’m using, it won’t accept Rafflecopter widgets (or I just haven’t figured out the way around it yet) – so since my raffles are harder to get to, I usually only average about 50-75 entries despite the contest being open for a whole month. A fair number of other blogs seem to suffer from the same thing and then you find raffles with pretty good odds.

  6. Pingback: Free competitions - how much can you earn - part II

  7. You may be being slightly unfair with the earnings per hour comparison, after all, entering a competition or a prize draw is a game of chance. A lot of these prizes are fairly small too, I’ve seen plenty of comments in forums from people who have won decent amounts (holidays, gadgets etc). As mentioned above, if you were going to watch TV anyway, may as well try your luck. A lot of people don’t read the t&c’s either, some competitions you can have multiple entries, so you need to maximize your chances.

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