5 Ways to Be a Winner, Baby

There's a stockpile of online contests waiting to be won. So how do you win them?

There's no foolproof way to win online contests, but there are certain strategies to use that will up your chances. Over the last couple of years, I have won everything from expensive electronics to movie tickets. When I win a product that is worth a lot of money, but I probably won't use, I'll sell it online to make some extra spending money. But generally, I only submit to contests that I want to win, which brings us to tip #1:

1. Only submit to contests you really want to win.

Entering online contests forms can take a fair bit of time, so only enter contests where you want to win the prize. Before I enter any contest, I do a bit of research to make sure I'm interested in the event and that my schedule allows it. Don't waste your time.

2. Use autofill to fill out forms.

Setting up autofill is a cinch. If using Chrome click "More" > "Settings" > "Show advanced settings"> Click the box beside "Enable Autofill to fill out forms in a single click". To edit your details, such as name and email, simply click "Manage Autofill Settings". And voila! You are on your way to applying to more contests, faster.

3. Follow brands, newspapers, and local businesses that you like on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The next step is finding contests you want to win. The best way to do this is to follow potential giveaway-givers on social media. Often media personalities and restaurants will have Instagram contests that simply involve tagging a friend in the comments to win swag or gift certificates. Make sure to periodically check back on brands who you know hold contests often.

4. Take advantage of extra ballots by sharing the contests with friends.

Sometimes contests will give you extra chances if you share the contest on social media or via email. Take advantage of this offer, especially if it's a contest you really want to win.

5. Submit, submit, submit!

The more you submit, the higher your chances are of winning. If you don't have any success on your first wave of contest entries, just keep trying.