If you're familiar with Selvedge magazine you might've noticed they're running daily competitions. But for anyone who hasn't, try going to their website and entering for free. You never know, you might win and there are some fab prizes. -http://www.selvedge.org/community/competitions/
QUESTION : Is there such a thing as a free lunch?
ANSWER: Nope! Unless you're very lucky. (Or dishhonest. But I'm assuming you're not a bad 'un.)
The truth is, if you want money you'll have to work for it. Very few of us are born with a silver spoon in our mouths, and instead resort to pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Nobody going to shower you with cash and gold plated consumer goods, are they? .......
NATIONAL LOTTERY: millions of people regularly play, hoping to turn their magic beans (a two pound coin) into shedloads of filthy lucre. The truth is, the chance of becoming a millionaire are teeny-weeny. The odds are staggeringly in Camelot's favour, a 1 in 14 million chance of getting all six numbers. Details of various combinations and odds of winning are at http://playlotto.org.uk/lottery/uklottery_odds.html . Safe to say, don't stop saving or investing in a pension because you're convinced you'll win the jackpot. But if you're going to regularly play the Lotto then maybe combine it with a savings plan. So for every quid that goes Camelot's way you also drop a quid into your savings jar/piggy bank.
PREMIUM BONDS: another way we imagine we'll win a small fortune. Again, the odds aren't in your favour. If you're thinking of squirreling money away in Premium Bonds, firstly use the calculator at http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/premium-bonds-calculator/ to check your odds of winning. Then check what interest rate you'd get by chucking your money into an ISA. Now, have a cuppa and a bit of a think.
POSTCODE LOTTERY: normally I wouldn't touch this kind of thing with a barge pole, assuming it'd be a swizz. But having heard the guy who organises this website interviewed on Radio 5 it does appear to be scam-free. http://freepostcodelottery.com/ is a site that lets you register your details for a chance to win relatively small cash prizes, maybe as low as a tenner. It's a free to enter draw. If your postcode's picked out of the virtual hat you'll win a prize. The site makes cash from its extensive advertising, that's why you might win a 'free lunch'. The drawback is having to check the site daily to see if you've won and to claim your cash. If you've got the time to spend a couple of minutes per day checking the site, it's worth signing up as you've nothing to lose.
COMPETITIONS: competitions are everywhere, and if they're free to enter then why not? Again, if you're lucky you might get a 'free lunch'. Beware of comps where you ring a phone line. Check small print to see the average call length and price of a call, otherwise you might spend a fiver finding out you've won a biro or something equally low value. If you've got a mobile phone plan that offers free texts, why not enter those 'text to win' comps you see on food packaging? Other comps that're good to enter are ones where you have to write a caption. 'My dog loves Delicious Dogfood because ...' Less people enter that kind of thing as they can't conjure up a snappy caption. But you're smart, you can pretend you're an advertising whizz kid, can't you? ;-)
There're various online comps that're free to enter. NB: check tick boxes in regard to 3rd party marketing. Some online forms want you to tick if you're happy to be contacted by 3rd parties, others want you to un-tick. Almost as if they want to make it tricky.
Think of brands you like – whether household products or fashion companies – and browse on their sites for competions. National Book Tokens run regular competitions at http://caboodle.nationalbooktokens.com/caboodle-competitions and Clipper Teas at http://www.clipper-teas.com/win-things/game-competition/
Also, flick through those free magazines at supermarkets for comps to enter or giveaways. The free newspaper Metro sometimes has small giveaways where you take a coupon to a shop and exchange for an item, maybe a chocolate bar or bottle of juice. It's something also worth getting on companies mailing list. I've had £10 money off vouchers from Boden simply for being on their mailing list, as well as a chance to enter and win comps. I even won a lovely Union Jack scarf which appears to have disappeared into a black hole (along with a green cashmere cardie, a tub of 'bum butter' and various socks. Where do these things go?)
Finally, enter raffles at charity shops. View it as a donation to a worthy cause with a small chance of winning on the side. You get a warm glow from helping the charity and they get much needed funds. Everyone's a winner!
What's your favourite example of getting a 'free lunch'? Won anything good in a comp or raffle? (I won a wee Willie Winkie style nightshirt once. It was about a size 20, so a bit of a passion-killer.)
This is the view from my sofa, and the DVD and bookshelves you can see are looking slightly clearer now. I've been listing various things on ebay, part of my general clutter clearing but also part of my aim to make some cash. Ahh money, I remember when that monthly salary used to pop into my account ... excuse me while I get all nostalgic.
ebay's got considerably easier to use over the years, plus I get 20 free listings a month, so there's no excuse not to shift some stuff.
Anything that doesn't sell can always get bagged up for the charity shop, but I've deliberately kept prices low to tempt the bargain hunting crowd.
If I you will indulge me with a shameless plug, I'm at
If you've never got to grips with ebay I'd heartily suggest you have a go. It's not tricky, and it's a safe way of selling and buying. If you can't face it, but also quiver at the thought of a car boot sale (or don't have a car!) then look out for table top sales. These are often advertised in local free newspapers or on notice boards outside churches. Some concentrate on selling handmade craft items, but plenty would welcome a good old fashioned White Elephant stall of bric a brac. You'd pay a few quid for having a stall, but you're bound to make that back in sales.
Alternatively, have an American style garage or yard sale with a clothes rail and a table outside the house piled high with unwanted household clutter. Finally, there's always Trade-It. I picked that up the other day and was staggered to see what was being sold. My dubious sounding favourite was a woman selling an Ann Summers bra and knickers set for £2.00. Un-used, she assured the reader. Phew! That's a relief.