WHEN recession hits, we all start looking at ways of saving money. Unlike some pastimes, entering competitions doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment, but there are still certain outlays. So how can we save money but still get maximum enjoyment from our hobby?
The first main supply we use are postcards. Try buying in bulk if you can - there are big savings to be had! Websites like The Postcard Store. Also look out for free postcards - some companies print these as advertising. Another option is to do some recycling. Most postcards measure about 15cm by 10.5cm. Cut cereal boxes to size, stick a piece of copier paper on the back and get decorating!
Envelopes are next on our list. There seems to be less of a need for them these days with the demise of the NPN route, but the odd one does still pop up so it's worth having a stash. Take a look in the £1 shops for cheap deals.
Using pre-printed labels for our name and address on postcard entries saves a lot of time and effort. Be sure to check the junk mail before recycling; some companies send out sheets of labels with your name and address on to entice you towards their product. Put them to good use!
Alternatively, consider investing in a pre-inked stamper. It could turn out to be very cost-effective when you consider the time that you'll save.
Labels are all very well, but we do still need pens. I have to admit I love stationery goodies, and as much as I'd love to write my entries with a pink frou-frou ballpoint, I've found a cheaper option. When it comes to promotional items, pens are one of the biggies, so if you see a free one, pick it up! Ask friends and relatives to do the same. I'm currently advertising a high tension wire company - it's not as glam as a Mont Blanc pen, but it was free!
Stamps are one of the necessities that it's rather hard to economise on. Even buying in bulk doesn't get us a discount here. The only thing it might do is guard against a price rise by Royal Mail. The best advice is just to make sure that you enter postal competitions as early as possible in order to make sure that a 2nd class stamp is all you need. Leaving it late and having to use 1st class ones will soon add up. Also look out for promotional deals - some high street stores offer 5% off stamps in the run-up to Christmas.
Internet competitions have been a real boon, enabling us to get a lot more entries in for free. Most of us have the internet at home or work anyway, so it's not really an added expense.
Always try to see if there's an internet or email entry option in order to save a stamp or phone call.
Talking of telephone calls, 'phone and text entries are the most expensive route with some costing several pounds per entry.
When a promotion offers this as the only entry route, think seriously about it. Just doing a few of these will really push up your monthly bill. If you don't want to rule text or phone entries out altogether, just remember to be very selective about those you choose and keep track of your
expenditure. Nobody wants a nasty surprise when their phone bill arrives at the end of the month!
Subscribing to competiton magazine like Simply Prizes is obviously not a necessity, but definitely justifiable. Time is precious. Yes, we could all spend hours scouring magazines and the web trying to find entries, but that's a lot of time wasted. My subscription means I get straight to
work on entries rather than having to go 'Googling' to find them all first, and that's priceless!
Some general rules that can be applied to entering competitions
If you've got some tips to share with other compers about how to save money on postal competitions or entering competitions in general we'd love to hear them. Send us your tips by clicking here