23 February 2012

Keep Those Wins on Track

If you win prizes online you need a way to keep track of them. I can't stress how important it is to do this! Nothing is more frustrating than never receiving a prize and not being able to contact someone about it. My own tracking system takes very little effort and is quite low tech. It is also super easy!

current prizes i'm waiting for on sticky notes

Easy 4 Step Tracking System
  1. Most of my wins come from Twitter giveaways. I always favorite every tweet that announces a win. I do this to have a record of the prize, who I won from and the date in a place that is easy to find. If the win comes via email, then I label that email WINS in my gmail account.
  2. Then I write a sticky note and stick it on the LEFT side of the bottom of my computer. The picture above shows the six prizes I am currently waiting on. You could do this via a list, virtual stickies, or another way that you are comfortable with. I have a constant reminder of what I am waiting on and if a prize hasn't arrived in a timely manner, I have all the information I need to inquire about it. As I'm writing this I realize I could have easily added the date to each sticky note as well. Note to self: do this from now on!
  3. When the prize arrives I inspect it to make sure it is indeed the correct item, photograph it with my phone, and move the sticky note to the RIGHT side of my computer. 
  4. The photographs are sent to a folder on my computer with just my winnings. When I find the time I enter each item into an excel spreadsheet that lists each item, where it came from, date, and ARV, approximate retail value. After those two steps have been done, then I can remove the sticky note and recycle it.
Now I have a complete inventory of what I have won in case I need to use it during tax season. If you are a member of rewards programs such as Swag Bucks and SuperPoints keep track of those winnings too, as they are also considered sweepstakes! For more information about dealing with sweepstakes and taxes check out this great blog post at Sweeties Sweeps that breaks it all down for you.

How do you track your wins? Do you use an easy or a more elaborate system?

Please share in the comments below!

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.


16 February 2012

Party with Swag Bucks and Win $1000

My love for all things Swag Bucks is no secret. They are hands down: THE BEST REWARDS SITE on the internet having given away over $21 million in prizes! They turn 4 years old on February 27, 2012 and are hosting a little Birthday Bash to celebrate. Oh, they are also giving away $1000 prizes to 4 lucky Swaggernauts!! Yes, $4k!

If you are a member of Swag Bucks then check out this blog post and get partying on February 27th! I hope to see you on The Swag Guy and Swagasaurus Bux' team! That is my team and you know we are gonna win this thing!

If you are not a member, then sign up today to get in on the fun on the 27th! I have all your tips about Swag Bucks right here to get you started! You could be winning prizes before the big day.

Search & Win
click to join

Good luck, happy swagging and may the best (TSG's of course) team win!!

What team are you on? TSG (The Swag Guy) or TSGal (The Swag Gal)? Let me know in the comments below.

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.


15 February 2012

What do YOU want to Win?

In the future, I will be doing fun giveaways here at ETF! Yay! I believe in paying it forward. I am still in the brainstorming stages and need your valued opinion on exactly what types of giveaways you would love to see.

Please help me out and choose which you would like to win the most from the list below.

ETF Giveaway Ideas
  1. Amazon e-Gift Cards
  2. PayPal e-Gift Cards
  4. Books (could be e-books or print feel free to indicate which you prefer)
  5. Other (please indicate another choice you would like to win and that fits in with ETF)

Choose a number and leave you answer in the comments below or tell me on twitter @valeriesweeps.

Many thanks for taking the time to leave your input!

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.

13 February 2012

How to Play Favorites on Twitter

Twitter is my favorite social network. I love the streamlined nonsense approach! I appreciate being able to view only what I am actually interested in. Yes, there are distractions, hello twitter parties I'm talking to you, but it still allows me to access and share information in the shortest amount of time.

If you are new to Twitter, haven't joined yet, or just want to learn more about it, I highly recommend checking out Michael Hyatt's The Beginner's Guide to Twitter. It is the best tutorial I've seen on the subject and extremely easy to follow. Give yourself an hour or two and get in there!

click to see larger example

Now that you are familiar with All Things Twitter, be sure to use one of the most underutilized features: the favorite button. The favorite button appears as a star underneath any tweet. When you favorite a tweet it will have little yellow star in the corner in the twitter stream. It then shows up in your Favorites list on your profile publicly.

Here are three different types of tweets and reasons why you might want to favorite them.

Milestone and You Really Really Like Me Tweets

These tweets are when someone tweeted something awfully nice to you (like you won a giveaway!), or something you want to let the user, who wrote it, know that you liked. Favorites and retweets are the twitter equivalents of Likes on Facebook. You can retweet AND favorite a tweet if it is especially important to you. I call that a Double Like!

Bookmark Tweets

You can also bookmark or favorite tweets for a subject or #hashtag you are following. Then go back and read them later. Companies often favorite tweets to keep them as possible candidates in a giveaway. When I am on my phone, I favorite tweets that I will want to view later when I am back on my computer at home. This is very handy when it has a link to a webpage that is easier to view on a computer. You can use the share feature on the Twitter mobile app as well, but clicking the favorite button is much easier.

For these types of tweets I usually un-favorite them after I have gotten the information. This keeps my list current and full of only the most important tweets.

Tweets to Tweet Again In the Future

If you finally found the perfect way to promote your blog, program, contest in less than 140 characters, you will probably want to use it again at a later date! Favorite that tweet and when inspiration is nowhere to be found, use it again! I wouldn't post the same tweet over and over though. Tweak it a bit or give enough time between uses.

How do you use the favorite button? Would you like to see more Twitter How To's in future blog posts at ETF?

Share in the comments below or tweet me @valeriesweeps.

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.

11 February 2012

January Win Roundup

It is time to say THANK YOU! to some of the awesome brands who gifted me with wins, through giveaways on Twitter and Facebook, in January of 2012.  I love brands who embrace the power of social media. Smart brands award their loyal fans with giveaways, samples, and other promotions! I hope this trend continues with more brands and consumers connecting online.

Four Fun Wins from January

  1. T-shirt from Wham-O on Facebook. They have wonderful Twitter Parties too!
  2. Chair from Corona Beach Break.  
  3. Box of Skinny Cappuccino capsules from Nescafe Dolce Gusto for the Piccolo I won in December on their Facebook page.
  4. PEOPLE 1,000 Biggest Moments in Pop Culture: Fame, Fads and Breaking News 1974-2011 on Twitter!

Do you have a favorite brand or company that you follow who does giveaways? Have you won something fun lately on the social networks?

Share in the comments below.

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.

10 February 2012

Put the Yay! in Mega Swag Bucks Day

I love Fridays! It is the end of the work week, everyone is in a good mood and I am always super productive. Nobody likes working on the weekends! They are also Mega Swag Bucks Day! If you are a member of Swag Bucks they offer even higher payouts in their searches. Plus if you share the hashtag #MSBD along with any search win over 10 SB on Twitter you can get hooked up with even more Swag Bucks!

won on a mega swag bucks day!

If you are new to Swag Bucks hopefully you have read my Tips page. Here are a few reminders and more tips to get you motivated.

Make a Daily Checklist

Do the Dailies: Poll, NOSO, Toolbar, Inbox Survey. Then add your favorite ways to earn like Surveys, Search, Tasks. Games. Write down the times you want to do these. For example, my Inbox Survey arrives at the same time everyday. I know to look for it then. You could even set an alarm! Seriously don't miss your Swag Bucks!!

Set Daily and Monthly Goals

After you get used to all the ways to win at Swag Bucks, set some goals. What do you want to win every month? 5 $5 Amazon Gift Cards? 1 $100 PayPal Gift Card? Are you saving for something big? How many Swag Bucks is that? Divide it by 30 and you have your daily goal!

I have a higher goal during the week than the weekend as I like to spend very little time on the internet on my days off. Also, some days you will easily get more than your goal so don't get frustrated if you miss it one day. You can still reach your monthly goal and remember, this is supposed to be fun!

If you have another Swag Bucks tip or questions about the program share in the comments!

Happy Swagging and HAPPY FRIDAY!!

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.

09 February 2012

My Smartphone Pays for Itself

I love my smartphone! I don't remember how I got along without it. I play games, get directions, practice my French, look up movies, and figure out just what is that song playing in that commercial. The best part of my phone is that it helps pay for itself.  Smartphones are not cheap and it just made sense to me that it should help pay the bills. Yes! You read that right: my phone earns it keep.

How? Reward apps for your smartphone. There are several out there but these are the three I use daily and love:

Swag Bucks SBTV Mobile App (Android only, for now)

If you are not already a member of Swag Bucks join here, or visit my Swag Bucks Tips page to find out how it works. Swag Bucks is my all-time favorite rewards program because they offer so many different ways to win. The new app is just the icing on the cake.

The SBTV Mobile App plays movie trailers and tv clips on your phone. I like the Comedy channel because the clips are short. There are ads between clips and for every 5 you watch you earn 2 Swag Bucks. You can earn a maximum of 50 Swag Bucks a day. Oh, did I mention it auto-runs?! This one is a no-brainer. Join, download, win. Period!

Shopkicks (Android and iOS)

Shopkicks rewards you for visiting businesses near you. You earn kicks, or points, for walk-ins, scanning producs, and finding hidden bonuses within the app. It is a shopping app so use it to find deals, discounts or just browse the latest products at your favorite stores. I've also found some great local spots thanks to the app!

You can also win bonuses to share with your friends. Sign up with me today at Shopkicks to start with 50 kicks. I'll get 50 kicks too! Trade your kicks for prizes, gift cards (hello they have Target!), or donate to worthy causes.

It is easy to see why they have over 2.5 million users.

Checkpoints (Android and iOS)

Checkpoints is also a shopping rewards app with a bit more. You get points for checking in to places, and scanning products. You can also earn points by downloading and searching with their toolbar on your computer. Then there is my favorite part: the games! You earn coins each time you scan a product, or download and test drive apps. Then you can win more points in the games.

Trade your coins for charity, prizes, or gift cards. Get friends to sign up for more points!

If you do sign up for Checkpoints, please my bonus code 'vsweeps' to get some bonus points when you sign up and I will get some too.

I hope you try out some or all of these programs and have fun making your fancy phone pay for itself too! One more tip: follow all of these programs on Twitter and Facebook. They all have frequent contests and opportunities to win! Yes, it does pay to get social.

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.

Let's Go SuperPointers!

I joined SuperPoints in November 2011. It is one of the easiest rewards sites on the web! I cash out every week for FREE Amazon or PayPal e-gift cards. Find out the basics of how to use the program with my SuperPoints Tips page.

The secret to SuperPoints is to get referrals! The more referrals you get the more money you make. I was able to reach Platinum Status, that is 5 referrals, in a few short weeks just by posting links on my Twitter feed and in the SuperPoints forum. There is no need to Spam your link, just be honest and people will sign up!

You must have an invite to join and they have made it even easier by giving each member on customizable referral link. You can also win BONUS invite links on the SuperLucky button.

So are You a SuperPointer yet? If not click my link and join:


After you join be sure to fill out your profile to get the maximum clicks on the SuperLucky button!! It is all about THE BUTTON at SuperPoints! Click the button, invite your friends, and have fun! SuperPoints is having a contest right now to see who can get the most referrals. If you have a blog you NEED to get in on this!

I also want to give a shout out and huge thank you to those of you who have already joined my network! Thank you thank you thank you! Keep up the great work.

Now get out there, click the button, and go go go!

© 2012 Embrace The Free. All rights reserved. Disclosure Policy.