Monday, February 11, 2013

Saving for Christmas: Swagbucks

Christmas should be a blessing, not a debt nightmare.  In this series, I will show you how to earn extra money all year long to help you save for Christmas.

Christmas is now only 11 short months away.  You've made your Christmas budget and started setting aside money for Christmas.  But maybe you don't feel like the amount you can save up from your paycheck is enough.  Or maybe, you just want to earn some money from other places to use towards Christmas.  Where do you start?

I'm glad you asked.
There are several ways that Tim and I earn extra money to put towards our Christmas budget.  In fact, this year we earned about $500 in FREE Amazon gift card money that we used to pay for Christmas gifts.

How did we do it?
Using reward sites.  A reward site is basically a website that rewards you for interacting with companies or brands.  This could be in the form of watching advertising, ordering through their website or giving your opinion on their brand through surveys.  Most reward sites have multiple ways to earn rewards.  Rewards can be given as gift cards to websites or brick and mortar stores, they could be a check in the mail or cash in a paypal account.  The reward site could only give you one option of how to receive your rewards or they could give you many options.  It all depends on the site.

Our favorite reward site and, in my opinion, the easiest to use is Swagbucks.  By far, the majority of the free money we earned was from Swagbucks.

Search & Win

So how does Swagbucks work?
When you visit the site, you earn "points" called "swagbucks" by doing different ad-related things.  For instance, if you watch 10 videos on the website, with an ad at the beginning of each, you earn 3 swagbucks.  If you answer a daily poll question, you earn 1 swagbuck.  Participating in a survey can earn you 100-250 swagbucks.

What is a swagbuck and how do I earn money with them?
A swagbuck is approximately equal to a penny.  You can earn a $5 Amazon gift card for 450 swagbucks.  A $10 Target card is 1000 swagbucks.  Tim and I tend to stick with Amazon gift cards but there are many more you could choose from: Target, Walmart, CVS, Paypal, Starbucks, itunes, etc.  Each store also offers a variety of gift card denominations: $5, $10, $15, etc.  As you can see, the reward options are many.

Starting out at any reward site is intimidating.  It's hard to know how to earn rewards and what all the "rules" are.  I'm here to help you.

What is the best way to earn Swagbucks?
  • As mentioned above, you can earn 1 swagbuck a day by doing a daily poll.  
  • Going through the NOSO (no obligation, special offers) and clicking on the "No Thanks" for each offer will earn you 2 swagbucks a day.
  • You can earn 50 a day using the Swagbucks app for your smartphone.  For that, you watch videos with an ad in front of each.  Every 5 videos is worth 2 swagbucks.  
  • Swagbucks TV through their website can earn you up to 150 SB a day (however, you would have to be on your computer the entire day to earn that many, 30 - 50 a day is a much more doable amount).
  • Surveys are also a great way to earn swagbucks.  One caveat of surveys are that you must qualify to take the survey before you can earn SB.  I don't qualify for many, but, if you are unique in some way in terms of your demographics, you may qualify for a lot.  
  • Many online stores offer incentives if you go through the Swagbucks site to shop.  You can earn 2-8 SB per dollar spent, depending on the site.  
  • You can also earn Swagbucks by using their site to search the web.  (This can be annoying, though, because they randomly decide to award swagbucks for searching and they randomly decide how much to give you for that search.  For example, you could do 25 searches and only earn 7 swagbucks, or you could do 1 search and earn 25 swagbucks.)
  • There are several other ways to earn swagbucks.  They are all available under the "Earn" tab on the Swagbucks website.

If you decide to start using Swagbucks, keep in mind the time you want to put into this.  Remember, a SB is basically a penny.  A survey might earn you 100 SB, but if it takes you an hour to do, it might not be worth it.  Is your time worth more than $1 an hour?  If you are doing the survey while you are watching TV at night, it might not matter that it takes an hour.  If you are doing it during the workday instead of doing work, than it probably matters.

Other Tips

  • You can only request 2 gift cards a day and you can only request 5 of the exact same gift card each month.  For example, you can only request 5 $5 Amazon cards a month.  You can also request 5 $15 Amazon cards a month, because they are a different denomination.  Depending on the time you put into it, you could earn a significant amount of money.
  • The $5 Amazon card is the best value on the site.  It is 450 SB to redeem.  Every other reward is at least a SB per penny (i.e. $15 card is 1500 SB).
  • Usually Tim and I make it our goal to earn enough SB to get our 5 $5 cards.  That means you have to earn 75 SB a day.
  • You can have one Swagbucks account per person.  It is not limited to one per household.
We love being able to earn some extra cash through Swagbucks.  Check out the website, earn some money and let me know if you have any questions.  

This post contains affiliate links.

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