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!

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