Bride-to-be Amelia Avossa has bagged more than $70,000 worth of freebies by spending hours every day entering competitions.
The stay-at-home mum, 28, has spent the last nine years ‘comping’ – entering online giveaways – using the hobby as a way to distract herself from depression and anxiety.
Keeping Twitter and Facebook open all day in case new opportunities spring up, Amelia, whose incredible prizes have included game consoles, holidays, $1700 cash and meetings with celebrities, says: ‘I stopped counting how much the prizes I’d won were worth after $70,000.’
The mum, from Leicester, UK, who has been engaged to partner Levi, 29 – dad to her three youngest children Ledainaine, eight, Noah, six,
and Aela, three – for four years, began entering magazine competitions as a child.
Never having any luck, she gradually stopped, believing they were impossible to win – until she fell pregnant with Ledainaine and spotted a competition on Facebook run by cosmetics company Lush.
‘I decided to enter and won a gift set right away. It made me realise that comping can pay off – so I started doing it every single day from there and have barely stopped since,’ Amelia says.
Amelia explains her comping habit now gives her a much-needed distraction.
‘I don’t go out much as I suffer badly with depression and anxiety, but comping has given me a focus,’ she says.
Over the years, Amelia, who has another son, Sebastian, 13, from a previous relationship, has scored some enviable freebies like a 55-inch television, an Xbox, a PS4, designer bags, an iPad and a meal cooked by famed chef Alexis Gauthier.
On top of this, she has been treated to meet and greets with Miley Cyrus and the chance to drive around a Formula 1 track with Lewis Hamilton.
‘The ones meeting celebrities are my favourite prizes. They’re once in a lifetime opportunities,’ says Amelia.
Mostly, Amelia enters competitions on Facebook or Twitter by liking and sharing posts. Spending just a couple of seconds on each means she can get through hundreds in a day.
‘I’ve been doing it for that long now that all my social media timelines are filled with competitions anyway,’ she says.
‘I’ll have them – along with sites like Prize Finder – open all day.
‘I’ll keep coming back, spending an hour here and there throughout the day.
I’ll have a browse, then get on with the washing, have another browse, then cook the tea.
‘When the kids are at school and I have the house to myself, I can do it most of the day. It helps distract me from my anxiety.’
Because she enters so many competitions, Amelia is constantly receiving surprise deliveries.
At her most prolific, she said the longest she went without a win was just one week.
‘Whenever I feel down, I’ll look through all the photos I have of my old winnings to remind myself that I’ve been successful so far, and winning is possible,’ she explains.
Amelia also tries to stick to competitions where she would actually like the prize, so she does not waste her time.
And many of her wins make ideal Christmas and birthday gifts – especially for the kids.
Now, though, with her thoughts turning to wedding planning, her dream is to win a dress – something ‘really princessy and glittery’.
‘I’d love to win the whole wedding if I could,’ she says.
‘I’ve entered lots of wedding competitions, but have had no luck yet. I’ll keep trying though.’
Meanwhile, on a mission to get her family and friends into comping too, she hopes to prove that, if you put in enough time, winning big is possible.
‘A few of my friends have got into it, but it takes time and patience,’ Amelia says.
‘Some people have said I’m cheating from the amount I win, but I’m not at all. It’s just that, not working, I have the time to do it.
‘I absolutely love comping. I’ve made so many friends through the community. I don’t think I’ll ever stop.’