You may have seen something about Swagbucks on Facebook or elsewhere on the web, but how does it work? Can you really make any money on it?
The short answer is both yes and no. You can earn many nice extras without much effort, but you’re hardly going to get rich, if that’s what you’re after. Let me explain.
After my post about our trip to Tennessee, where I commented about using Swagbucks to earn points towards gift cards, as well as my comment below that Swagbucks Widget in my sidebar over there –> I had a reader email me a question. After some back and forth, I decided to share this with others, since it’s one of my favorite ways to afford fun extras for my family, including birthdays, Christmas, and other extras.
The question was
I for the life of me don’t understand swagbucks at all, but clearly you do. How are you making these points translate into gift cards and a Kindle? Do share!
That’s a fair question. I couldn’t figure out Swagbucks either for a long time. After that first Amazon.com gift card though, I was hooked. Most of last year’s Christmas gifts came as a result of Swagbucks, as does nearly every meal we eat out.
Here’s how Swagbucks works in real life
First off, sign up for Swagbucks, if you haven’t already. If you want to bless me (~smiles~) you can click my link and sign up as someone referred by me. If you do that, you get your swagbucks, and I get an equal number of swagbucks. When I originally posted this, I only had on person I referred, and she didn’t use it very much, so you don’t have to have referrals to have this make a huge difference. In other words, I’m not earning all this stuff because I have a ton of referrals. However, referrals do help.
After posting this post originally, I suddenly had many, many more points, which was pretty nice too.
Next, and this is important, install the Swagbucks toolbar on your web browser. Why? Because for every day you have it installed and working, you earn one swagbuck. Plus, it’s easier to use swagbucks if it’s easily accessible. Out of sight, out of mind, right? As far as I know, as of this writing, there is a tool bar for every kind of web browser you may have. I have not noticed my browser speed slowing down as a result either.
Now, at a bare minimum, every time you need to look for something online, use Swagbucks instead of some other search engine. You do not win points every time you search. It’s pretty random. I’ve noticed the more I use it, the more often I seem to win.
Other Ways to Earn Swagbucks
There are other ways to earn swagbucks too, though these seem to be a little random than winning swagbucks. There is a dropdown menu on their hope page (called “earn”) which has a full, detailed list of ways to earn more swagbucks. Here are a few I’ve used:
1. Look for swag codes on their facebook page. I am not someone who is going to hang out on Facebook all day to win 500 swag bucks. But, whenever I think of it, I check for swag codes and have added to my swag bucks total this way. There are swag codes on other sites as well, including Twitter, their own home page, and some sites and blogs claim to have fresh swag codes. I have a friend who seems to perpetually have several thousand swag bucks in her account as a result of this technique. The swag codes are then redeemed on the swagbucks homepage, on the top right side, where it says “enter swag codes”.
2. Check their web page to see if you are their random winner. On the lower right sidebar, they list off random members, and you have 30 minutes to contact them to win. I again don’t want to spend all day refreshing their page hoping I won, but when I think of it, I check. I won one time, about a year ago. Yeee Haw.
3. Complete surveys. They have surveys on their home page that also allows you to earn points. I seem to rarely qualify for those (I used to work for a market research firm which almost always disqualifies me. Living in a rural zip code also doesn’t help).
4. Printable Coupons. These printable grocery coupons on the Swagbucks site will earn you Swagbucks every time you print and redeem one. They work like manufacturers coupons when grocery shopping.
5. The Daily Poll. On the Swagbucks site there is a daily poll, allowing you to win a Swagbuck each day.
6. Swagstakes. This is sort of like entering a sweepstakes. You “purchase” entries using your swagbucks, in the hope that you’ll win some very cool stuff such as a $2,000 gift card to Amazon (what ever would I do with myself??!?). I actually did this while preparing for my trip to Nashville, and wound up winning a visa gift card, which came in handy.
7. Other offers. There are other offers on their site that appear from time to time to win swag bucks.
I find that I am a little more diligent about these other ways to earn swagbucks when, for example, a trip to Nashville is coming up and money is short. LOL.
What do you do with Swagbucks?
That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? My husband joked that I was racking up Monopoly money until he saw that I spent $0 on Christmas last year and yet we got more than the usual.
I’ll admit, at first I was worried I really was racking up monopoly money.
If you go to their web page, while logged in, you can look at your options. Across the top you’ll see a few options. Click on “Rewards” and then on “SwagStore”. Now in the swag store, you’ll find a lot of really odd stuff that frankly I wouldn’t want to waste my time earning. However, if you go down to where it says “gift cards” you’ll find the real value in Swagbucks. You can buy gift cards to many popular e-retailers or discount coupons to those same retailers. This is particularly handy if you’re booking a trip on Travelocity or need to make some other largish purchase online.
Mostly, I seem to stock up on one of three kinds of gift cards:
- $5 gift cards to Amazon (Which cost me 450 Swagbucks to purchase). Like most bulk purchases, it’s cheaper to just hold onto your Swagbucks and wait until you have enough for a larger denomination Amazon card, especially when they “go on sale” in the swagstore.
- $25 gift cards to Restaurant.com (which cost about 400 Swagbucks, but vary in price)
- $5 gift cards to Alice.com, which I use for purchasing Kona Blend coffee. (550 swagbucks). I only went to Alice.com, by the way, because another points-earning website, MyPoints.com, gave me 1000 points for going there and making a purchase. MyPoints doesn’t seem to have as much easily earned practical rewards, but I have gotten some gas cards through points I’ve earned there.
These are e-gift cards. I plug the gift card redeem code into the site (Amazon, Restaurant.com, or Alice) and it gets credited to my account. Other gift cards allow you to print off a redemption certificate for taking to a physical store. Read the terms for each gift card before purchasing it with your swagbucks.
Most of the time, the gift cards take 5-7 days to appear in my account. Swagbucks sends me an email when this occurs.
Last year, I racked up over $250 for Amazon.com gift cards through Swagbucks. Sometimes I won them in Swagstakes, but mostly they were earned from searching. This translated to Christmas presents that came in their own box (easier wrapping). It also meant I didn’t have to go shopping much during the scary season between Halloween and Christmas.
All This, and a Kindle Fire Too
Regarding the purchase of my Amazon Kindle Fire, which was my 20th Anniversary gift…I entered a Swagstake and won a $200 Walmart gift card. I used it while Walmart had a special going where, if you purchased an Amazon Kindle Fire, you received a $50 gift card to Walmart. I used ship to store, and my local walmart (After I asked) gave me the $50 card too. They called first to make sure Walmart.com didn’t give me one too. So, not only did I get
a cool new toy an educational device for free, I also was able to buy additional groceries. Epic win. You have to love it when you get something frivolous for free, and get an additional $50 for buying it… I let hubby gift wrap it for me and give it to me for our anniversary.