A little over a year ago, I joined SwagBucks after hearing about it from two of my favorite bloggers. One was saving up SwagBucks to buy a KitchenAid mixer, and the other was using hers to pay for a family vacation.
Since August, I have earned 14 $5 gift certificates for Amazon.com – that’s $75 in just ten months!
What is SwagBucks?
SwagBucks is a rewards site that allows members to earn gift cards and merchandise by searching the web, completing surveys, watching videos, shopping online, and a bunch of other things.
SwagBucks really works. There are a variety of prizes; my favorite is the $5 Amazon gift card for 450 SwagBucks.
How Do I Get Started With SwagBucks?
Last month, I helped my father-in-law get started with SwagBucks. The entire process took about one minute, and he got 35 SwagBucks for signing up.
How Do I Earn SwagBucks?
All you have to do to earn SwagBucks is search the internet. If you search using SwagBucks’ search tool, you will randomly be awarded with SwagBucks. When I first signed up, that’s all I did, and I earned a hundred or so points each month.
It was cool, a bonus for doing the same things I had already been doing, but I wasn’t earning as many points as I wanted.
How Can I Maximize My SwagBucks Earnings?
To be honest, I don’t have time to spend clicking offers and completing surveys. Unless there is a big incentive, I don’t generally hunt for codes through the SwagBucks site. (If you do have the time, you can earn points in all three of those.)
Here are things I did and continue to do to earn SwagBucks:
- Install the SwagBucks toolbar. The toolbar is an add-on available for all major web browsers. It gives you a search bar, shows your current point total, shows ways you can earn and redeem SwagBucks, and it gives you a SwagBuck or three every time you open a browser window. It’s not much, but they do add up.
- Search using SwagBucks’s search engine. I always search the internet with SwagBucks. Once in a while, I will have trouble finding what I’m looking for, and I will try my search on Google instead, but I always, always, always start with SwagBucks.
- Search instead of typing in URLs. Let’s say you are intending to visit your favorite store’s website. If you type the URL into your browser, there is no chance of winning SwagBucks. It takes about five seconds to go to your SwagBucks toolbar, type in the store name, and click on it from the search results. Sometimes, you will win SwagBucks.
- Bookmark your favorite searches instead of your favorite websites. Instead of bookmarking http://FeelsLikeHomeBlog.com, bookmark a SwagBucks search for “Feels Like Home Blog.” You’ll search every time you use the bookmark. Again, it will take just a few seconds and there’s a chance you’ll win SwagBucks.
A note on searches – My SwagBucks account was suspended once because SwagBucks said I wasn’t searching authentically. I’m not sure exactly what I did wrong, but I’ve heard that searching for the same thing every day can do it. Don’t use the same bookmarks couple of bookmarks every single day. Vary your searches.
- Search on Fridays. Fridays are Mega SwagBucks days, and the denominations are bigger than the other days of the week. This past Friday, I won 53 SwagBucks for searching for “weather report” instead of typing in http://Weather.com.
Another note on searches - SwagBucks will only count your first 20 searches of any day. Don’t waste your time searching over and over hoping to win more SwagBucks. I’ve heard (often) that you can’t win by searching more than three or four times in any given day.
- Share SwagBucks. I once noticed that my friend Juli was earning a lot more SwagBucks than I was, and I asked for her secret. “Referrals!” was her enthusiastic response.
SwagBucks has the best referral program I’ve ever seen. If a new SwagBucks user signs up using your referral code, you both get credit for their first 1,000 SwagBucks (some restrictions apply). Seriously, 1,000 SwagBucks. That’s huge!
A note on referrals – SwagBucks is awesome, but if you don’t explain it to your friends, they might sign up and never use it. In that case, you will get 0 SwagBucks (because they are getting 0 SwagBucks). It is to your advantage to help them learn to use SwagBucks! If you aren’t sure how to explain it, send them here after they’ve signed up!
- Follow SwagBucks. SwagBucks is on Twitter and Facebook, and they share SwagCodes on both. When you see a code, go to SwagBucks.com to enter it and get bonus SwagBucks.
- Subscribe to the SwagBucks blog. You can subscribe by email or feed reader, or you can read the SwagBucks blog at the site. There are often SwagCodes there.
- Sign up for the SwagBucks newsletter. It comes out twice a month, and it sometimes has a free SwagCode inside. To sign up for it, scroll down to the bottom of the SwagBucks homepage, and look for the Newsletter link on the left side. You’ll put your email address in a box that pops up.
- Sign up for special offers. Recently, I joined Weight Watchers. Before I did, I looked through the Special Offers to see if there was a SwagBucks offer. There was, and I earned 400 SwagBucks for doing something I was going to do anyway. Any time I am interested in signing up for a new service or joining a new website, I look through the Special Offers to see if I can get SwagBucks for it.
A note about Special Offers - There are often Groupon deals on SwagBucks Special Offers. If I see a Groupon deal that I want to buy, I always check SwagBucks first.
- Shop. SwagBucks partners with many online stores to give you SwagBucks for your purchases. I would never buy things just to get SwagBucks, but (like the Special Offers) I always check to see if there is a participating store when I’m looking to buy online.
- Print coupons. I don’t do this very often, but it is a good way to build up a lot of SwagBucks. However, if you do use coupons, you can earn 10 SwagBucks for every coupon you print and redeem.
- Watch SwagBucks TV. There are videos on every topic imaginable; I’ve watched a few of the Rachael Ray and Paula Deen cooking videos. You’ll watch a commercial first, and then the video. You get 3 points after watching 10 ad/video combinations, and you can let them play in the background of your computer.
- Check the Swidget. When I have a few minutes, I check for codes in the SwagBucks Swidget. All you have to do is click the SC at the bottom, click on Check if there’s a code available, and it will tell you if there are any codes available and where to look to find them.
Other Ways to Earn SwagBucks
Honestly, I do not have time to do these things. They are all valid ways to earn SwagBucks, and I included them because I know some will work for you.
- Perform tasks. There is a long list of tasks on SwagBucks that you can perform to earn anywhere from 12 to 75 SwagBucks.
- Vote on the daily poll. You can earn 1 SwagBuck for each day’s poll.
- Play games. There are games on the SwagBucks homepage, under the Earn button. You can play free games and participate in game tournaments.
- View the No Obligation Offers. You don’t have to sign up for anything (unless you want to), but you have to click through all of the offers to earn 2 SwagBucks.
- Take surveys. This gets mixed reviews, but some people swear by completing surveys for SwagBucks. You do get 1 SwagBuck for clicking on the Trusted Surveys part of the site each day, so it might be worth taking a look.
- Recycle old stuff. SwagBucks will pay the shipping for you to trade in old cell phones and other electronics. Plus, you’ll get SwagBucks when you send them in.
Did I miss anything? Do you have tips for earning more SwagBucks?
© 2011 – 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.