A student is paying off her loans by making £14,000 in five months – from winning COMPETITIONS.
Chloe Bingham, 19, spends up to two hours a day entering contests to win prizes ranging from electronics, theme park trips and cash.
The University of Glasgow film studies first-year has also won hampers, food, toiletries, and festival tickets – and is using the funds to pay off her student fees.
She enters hundreds of competitions she finds every day in magazines, online, social media and TV.
Chloe, originally from Islington, north London, says competition entering is a hobby, having entered her first when she was just 11.
She told student newspaper The Tab: “I started entering when I moved to a new area in London and I didn’t know anyone.
“I saw a competition and I took an interest in it – and then I won. Ever since then I was hooked. It’s definitely addictive.”
She says her top win was a competition run by Currys and PC World for students, which ran for a month in August 2015.
The aspiring film director recreated the scene from Harry Potter where Harry gets told he’s a wizard – using glove puppets.
Chloe managed to bag herself £10,000 towards her university fees along with a tech bundle for students, which included a tablet, a toaster, headphones and an iron.
She said: “I relied on the fact that students are quite lazy and I thought the level of entries would be quite low – so even though I’m not that artistic I still entered anyway.
“A lot of the competitions I win are low entry competitions – some only have ten or so entries.”
From August to December 2015, the Chloe won an astonishing 42 different competitions, including camping tickets to V festival worth £400 and a four night break for four people at a resort in Wales.
She said: “Normally I try and win specific things – things I think will be useful or things I enjoy like unique experiences.
“One of the unique experiences I won was a free entry to a VIP karaoke booth at a night club which included a free buffet and cocktails for 12 of us.
“Some things I might sell, for example if I won an iPad I might sell it because I’ve got a tablet already – but the majority of things I’ve won I’ve kept or given away to friends and family.”
Her least successful month was October – but even then she still took home £420 worth of prizes.
She also won a Fortnum and Mason Christmas hamper worth £110 – by having the best #Christmasjumper photo for an Instagram competition.
Her first ever win was two nights at Alton Towers for her and her family after entering a Silent Night Bedtime Short Story competition when she was aged 11.
The student, who was previously on the BAFTA Youth Board, still has to dedicate quite a lot of time to her lucrative hobby but said it’s not as time consuming as you would expect.
If she’s free she may well spend one or two hours a day entering competitions, but some can easily be entered in just 20 seconds – you started filling in your details and let auto-fill do the rest.
There are also plenty of “creative” competitions out there too though – which require you to write something or take a photo or make a video to win.
Although these have bigger prizes, they tend to have lower entry levels because of the effort involved – so if you put in the time you can give yourself a good chance of winning.
Even though over the last nine years Chloe has got pretty savvy about competition entering, she said there have been a couple of prizes which have been ridiculous.
She said: “Tampax was running this competition and they had this ‘mother nature’ woman in their adverts.
“I didn’t win – but they sent all the losers their very own ‘mother nature’ outfit – this really horrible green outfit. I think I gave it straight to charity.”
Now, Chloe is a bit more discerning when it comes to the competitions she enters.
She said: “I generally enter competitions for holidays and cash, vouchers – lots and lots of vouchers – anything over £25 basically.
“And then apart from that just unique experiences.”
There aren’t many competitions that she really has are heart set on – and says as the majority of them are down to luck it would be silly to get too attached to the idea of winning.
Despite this, she admits there are a few that she hoped she would win – particularly ones she thought she had a good chance of winning.
One was The Times’ Bupa Great North Run Short Story Competition.
Chloe bought the newspaper on the day the winners were due to be announced – and was gutted to see the results hadn’t been published yet.
Then, the same day, she got a call – telling her she was a winner.
She said: “I thought I had a good chance with that one – you had to write a story about a sporting event.
“I wrote one about a girl who ran a marathon in memory of her Dad.
“With that competition I definitely got quite attached to the idea of winning.”
Chloe, aged just 12 at the time, won the under 14s category – and her prize involved having the story published in The Times, winning £250 and having her prize presented to her by Sue Barker at a sports gala – which was screened live on Sky Sports.
This was her second short story competition win in just six months – suggesting there is definitely a certain amount of talent involved on top of all this luck.
Despite clearly having a lot of talent for writing, Chloe doesn’t want to be an author – and nor does she want to rely on winning competitions for a living.
She said: “Originally I wanted to be a writer, but as I got older I got more into film so I’m trying to move into short stories and scripts.
“I like giving my interpretation and visualising how I would portray something on the screen.”
For now, though, the student, who completed a traineeship with Channel 4 on her gap year, dedicates a lot of time to sharing her competition knowledge with her friends and family.
After getting fed up with her friends constantly sending her messages asking for advice on how to enter competitions she set up an entire blog and posts advice on entering, links to competitions and words of competition wisdom.
Her biggest pieces of advice? “You have to be in it to win it.”