If there’s one thing that’s for sure, I definitely lean more on the ‘earn more’ side of the personal finance spectrum, rather than the ‘cut back’ side. I see the value in both, and in tandem, they can be a powerful combination.

But lately, I’ve been focusing my side hustle energy on scoring cool things for free. It feels weird, because it seems so unlike me to spend time on trying to get things for free. It’s not like I’m spending all day on Swagbucks  (affiliate link) trying to earn a Starbucks gift card or anything, I’m spending maybe 5 minutes a day or less.

I got interested in entering giveaways when a music festival was happening over the summer and I couldn’t justify the expense. So I decided to enter a giveaway for tickets. And I won!

This summer I won, not one, but two giveaways to music festivals. I don’t talk a lot about music on this blog, but music is my one true love. I live on music. I can’t work without it. There’s a reason I’m obsessed with karaoke and singing (which some of you saw at FinCon14) and dating a musician. Music is electricity for my soul. Sadly, while paying off debt, I haven’t budgeted a lot for it until recently.

I won two tickets to MusicFestNW and Project Pabst and got to see Weezer, Blondie, Run the Jewels, Thee Oh Sees, Modest Mouse, and more. It was a blast! I did the math and those two giveaways were worth $450 (they were multi-day festivals).

I won them via PDX Pipeline and from what I know, it’s NOT a random drawing and people pick you based on your comment. Which means you have to be more clever than just saying “Pick me!”

My first winning comment went for the heart-strings. I mentioned that my boyfriend and I hardly see music together, as I’m almost always watching him play music. I mentioned that his birthday was coming up and it would be great to spend it together and enjoy a true passion of ours: music.

Not even three weeks later, I won again. But this time for a purely ridiculous comment.

I said, “If I don’t have more live music in my life, I’m going to spontaneously combust!”

While we were at this festival, we ran into one of Ryan’s musician friends who told us about Tixie, another ticket giveaway site.

Tixie gives away concert tickets and local drink and restaurant tickets. They give you ten “coins” a day and you can “spend” them in a certain category. The more coins in a certain category, the greater possibility that you will be randomly chosen.

This week, I won a $25 gift certificate to a fun cocktail bar that we’ve only been to once. Score!

My point in all this is you could score big on giveaways that are worth it to you. Don’t spend all your days and nights entering giveaways, because it would be cheaper to just earn more in that case. But I’ve literally spent 2-5 minutes per day and gotten close to $500 in free entertainment!

Now, my turn to spread the giveaway love. I have a free pass for a newbie to go to FinCon next year. The code is only valid for people who have NOT been to FinCon before. If you are interested in heading to San Diego next September to go to FinCon and you think it would change your life (because it totally changed mine), share this post and write in the comments below why you want to go to FinCon and what you’d get out of it.

Our panel of very biased judges will email the winner 😉


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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16 responses to “My Latest Side Hustle: Giveaways (and a chance to win a ticket to #FinCon16)”

  1. Tyler says:

    Melanie I can’t tell you what I will get out of it, I can’t tell you the amazing things that I’ll learn, or the great people that I’ll meet. What I can say is that I read many many many of the blogs that the people who go to FinCon write. I love everything they write and it has already changed my life. I have gone from making no money and having so much debt I can’t possibly see a way out, to making enough money and having clear direction on the way out. Almost as if they have given me there map on ways to financial independence and I’m striving to follow that map. Going to FinCon to see them in person, to learn from them in person will only further this transformation I have already started. Even if I don’t get it I’m thankful to you for presenting this opportunity to someone it is truly wonderful

  2. Keshna Donia says:

    I’d like to go to FinCon becuase I am very new in learning about finances, I enjoy connecting with other people. So many people have told me that debt is normal and its the way of life – that you’ll die with debt. I owe it to myself, my family members and friends that didn’t know much about finances and how it works. I hope to gain new ideas to generate an additional income through my blog and to genuinely connect with other people, maybe offer my design services as well.

  3. Mel says:

    That is awesome! I barely ever have any luck with giveaways. I went through a period where I think I entered hundreds of them and I literally won a single pack of chewing gum. #unlucky ;0)
    Mel recently posted…Is Uniqueness Worth a Few More Dollars to You?My Profile

  4. Awe damn! I got really excited when I saw the title. Oh well, guess I’ll have to find another way to get a free fincon ticket. Presenter?
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…How I Made Over $13,000 in Side Hustle IncomeMy Profile

  5. Melanie, this is a great idea for making use of that code! I love it!
    Cat@BudgetBlonde recently posted…How My Broken Car Changed my Outlook on DebtMy Profile

  6. LOVE this giveaway!! I had NO idea what I would get from my first FinCon but I know that it was way more than I could ever have expected. It’s such a unique and supportive group of people and you really can’t miss the experience. Congrats to whoever wins this and I will see you in San Diego!!

  7. That’s awesome you won tickets to two events! I used to listen to Modest Mouse, didn’t realize they had new music out. I’m not usually one for concert venues because I hate being packed into a small area, but I went to a show earlier this year and had a blast. I typically don’t bother with giveaways since I never think I’ll win, but you’re right that it’s worth trying when it only takes a few minutes!
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…Being Grateful: Eightieth EditionMy Profile

  8. Danielle says:

    Hi… I’m Danielle and I am a stay at home mom. When I first got married 4 years ago I made the decision to stay home when we had kids. My husband makes good money but the massive student loan and credit card debt we brought into our relationship really make it hard make ends meet. Yet his long hours make it hard for me to work a part time job. Recently I have run across the world of financial blogging… and I am planning on starting one before the end of the year. It’s going to be about how I am working erase debt, simplify life, and live frugally when my spouse is not on board and I have personal income. But I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to blogging, especially monetizing. I have been looking into various blogging conferences because (1) it would be nice to have a few days away from my kids (moms rarely get breaks) and (2) they seem like a great place to learn and network all at the same time. Fincon would be especially great because not only would it help my blog but it would also help me meet the financial goals I have set for my family. Yet I have been hesitant to really commit to going because it is not a necessity and right now I am focusing ever extra dollar on the things we need most. Thanks for making this contest available I hope in the near future I have the means to be so generous.

  9. Leigh says:

    I would like to go to say thank you in person to the people who have inspired me to pick myself and keeping fighting. 💕

  10. Even Steven says:

    Such a great use of the code! I’m bringing the wife with my special code, I mean like she was going to say no to San Diego;)
    Even Steven recently posted…The Long Story How I Paid Off a Diamond Resorts Timeshare Loan with my Credit CardMy Profile

  11. Robert F says:

    As a new freelancer, I would love to go to FinCon for networking and to learn even more about this amazing career that I have started to build for myself.

    I also want to go because it would be a wonderful way to kick start the next part of my career while having some fun in a city I have never been to. Thank you for a possibly wonderful opportunity!
    Robert F recently posted…Motivation in Freelance WritingMy Profile

  12. Janet Fazio says:

    That’s awesome. Free is always better.
    Janet Fazio recently posted…Norwex Microfiber Cloth – ReviewMy Profile

  13. AnnieG says:

    In case you don’t know, the value of your wins needs to be added to your taxes as income. Generally on line 21 of 1040.

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