Weather Updates

Monica Pedersen shares some contest-conquering strategies


Monica Pedersen

storyidforme: 45844930
tmspicid: 16995319
fileheaderid: 7648756

Updated: March 11, 2013 11:22AM

It’s contest time in Chicago: Our Blackhawks are doing Fan Salute Giveaways, the St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle is in full swing (with some great odds, I must add) and if you’re an HGTV fan, you’re probably looking out your window right now, hoping that a camera crew is pulling up to tell you that you’ve won the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, the biggest giveaway on cable television. If you’re one of the smart people who’s entered any of these contests, best of luck! But if you’re like me, and you can’t remember the last time you entered a contest because you share my loser attitude and think you’ll never win anything, keep reading — we seriously need to change it up!

As the host of the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, I’ve learned a couple of contest-winning tactics from some of our past winners. First, instead of just focusing on being the winner, we need to focus on the fun of throwing our hats into ring. Sometimes, the thrill of entering a contest and taking a small risk can be enough to brighten our day.

Second, we have to adopt the attitude that we can win. This year, we had over 77 million entries. This means that 77 million times, Americans either sat down and filled out a mail-in entry or entered online with the hope and faith that they could win our giveaway. And out of all of those people who entered, one randomly chosen person (I know that the giveaway is in fact random, because I press the button that picks the winner myself) will win a beautiful house on Kiawah Island, a half-million dollars in cash and a brand new GMC. Their lives will be changed forever, and all because they took a minute to enter a free contest — and because they believed that they could win it.

Now, I know you’re still thinking, “I won’t enter anything because I know I’ll never win.” If you’re uninspired to change your tune, it’s OK. There’s always time. But for those of you out there who are ready to start winning, I’ve got some great places to start. Here are some sources provided by my friend Peter, who wins everything:,, the Sunday paper’s coupon section, and, of course,

Like I always say on TV, you can’t win if you don’t enter. And tune in to HGTV on March 15 at 6 p.m. CST for the Dream Home Giveaway — you’ll see how entering a simple contest and having a little bit of faith can truly change someone’s life.

Monica Pedersen donated her fee for writing this column to Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide at the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago (

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.