October 9, 2014

Swagbucks: some updated thoughts and tips...

How I earned $375 in gift cards from Swagbucks! Tips from my own experience during the past year and a half. | yourwishcake.com
I started using Swagbucks back in May of last year, and since then have earned $375 in gift cards. Most recently, I've been able to use Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks to buy Eisley's birthday presents, Jay's birthday presents, a refurbished Bluray player, printer ink, and ingredients for homemade cleaners I'm planning to make. I've been so grateful to have that extra bit of wiggle-room in our budget! It's been a while since I've shared some tips on how I've had continued success using this website, so I figured now would be perfect timing (my hope is to pay for a majority of Christmas gifts using Amazon gift cards, as I did last year!).

So! In case you're new around here (or to Swagbucks, in general), here is a brief description of how the website works:

By completing tasks, surveys, special offers, and watching videos (in addition to a variety of other ways), you earn a virtual currency—Swagbucks—which you can exchange for gift cards. I was very skeptical of this website before I started, because it just didn't seem like it would be something I could earn a significant amount of money from without investing way too much time. But I'm still going strong more than a year later, and I'm quite thrilled by how much I've earned without spending hours upon hours every week on their website. Although I'm sharing my referral link within this post, it's been a while since I've received a significant amount of Swagbucks from referrals, so rest assured that I do almost all the work myself when it comes to earning the amount needed to redeem gift cards. In short, I'm not just shamelessly promoting this website to get free gift cards through referrals. I actually use this website almost daily, and have been doing so for quite some time now!

(I just felt the need to clear the air there. Feel better now? I do!)

Here is an updated list of tips and ideas on how I've made Swagbucks work for me! (NOTE: I use our desktop computer almost exclusively to earn Swagbucks, with the exception of streaming video through their SBTV app on my iPhone. You can easily earn without a fancy-pants phone!)

1. Things I Do (Almost) Every Day
I typically jump online first thing in the morning, now that I'm getting up before Eisley. My morning typically goes: coffee, computer, devotions. I like getting a head start on all things internet before my daughter wakes up, because I won't get on the computer again until she naps after lunch! I try to do the following things first thing in the morning, so I know I'm at least earning a handful of Swagbucks every day:
  • Complete the daily tasks on the left-hand column of the main Swagbucks website (which takes all of 1 minute to finish): Toolbar, Daily Poll, NOSO
  • Use the Swagbucks search engine to get to any websites I'm going to (Gmail, Blogger, Twitter, etc.) instead of just entering the URL, because you are periodically rewarded with Swagbucks for using their search feature
  • Check to see if there are any quick, high-value surveys (worth 60-100 Swagbucks) I can complete in 10 minutes or less
  • Open up SBTV to stream short videos on my phone while I'm getting ready for the day, so I will earn Swagbucks without having to do anything at all

2. Best Ways to Earn Swagbucks
Aside from the above items that I do every day, I've also had great luck earning Swagbucks in a few other ways:
  • Special Offers — On the main page, there will often be free trials that you can sign up for and earn 500-1000 Swagbucks (worth $5-$10 in gift cards). A word of warning: You are almost always required to enter a credit card for free trials, but I've become crazy-organized with the whole thing and have not been charged yet before canceling. (I personally recommend jotting down the day you must cancel in your planner IMMEDIATELY after signing up for a free trial.) So far, I've signed up for free trials of Hulu+, Stamps.com, Audible, Julep (accidentally forgot to cancel that one for a month, actually—oops!), and a few others. If you're organized enough to cancel before getting charged, it's an awesome way to quickly earn gift cards. I typically only complete 1 each month these days.
  • App Downloads — On the top toolbar of the home page, hover over Discover, then select Special Offers, then select TrialPay. From there, you are able to find free apps that you can download to your iPad, iPhone or Android, to earn 11-22 Swagbucks in just minutes. There are times I am able to earn 80 Swagbucks in one shot by downloading four apps, opening them, then deleting them right after. You aren't required to keep any of these apps installed once you've earned your Swagbucks, so download away (as long as they're free!). If you have an iPad, I've noticed a few high-value (80+ Swagbucks) magazine trial downloads, which would be a good option!
  • Surveys — I never spend more than 10 minutes trying to qualify for surveys—typically less than that—but I often get lucky right off the bat. I've been doing them long enough that I'm usually pretty sure which ones I'll qualify for, and at this point in time I won't complete any survey that takes longer than 20 minutes. Be sure to fill out all your profiles before starting to try for the surveys—that way, they'll provide you with ones that you'll have a better chance of qualifying for. From what I hear, many people just don't have good luck qualifying no matter what, but I'm thinking that maybe I'm just the demographic many companies are looking for! (I do complete a lot of surveys for baby/toddler products, now that I think about it.)
  • Referrals — As I mentioned before, I don't earn a large portion of Swagbucks each month from referrals, but I do think it is helpful when they do apply to my account! You now earn Swagbucks for 10% of almost everything earned by people you refer. It can add up, if you end up referring even a handful of people who are consistent earners!
3. Redeeming Gift Cards
I still say that the best way to get the most for your money is to cash in your Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards. They cost 50 Swagbucks less than any other gift card you'll find on the website, and who doesn't love shopping on Amazon, anyway? The only time I've chosen a different gift card was when I had hit the monthly limit for these particular gift cards (5 per month).

So, there you have it! A few updated tips for any of you who are interested in trying out Swagbucks for yourselves. Although I don't think this website would benefit everyone in every season of life, if you do have a small portion of time most days to dedicate to earning (I typically spend 5-20 minutes on the website daily, depending on what else is going on), then it's a fantastic way to earn extra money. Definitely feel free to leave any questions you may have within the comments—I'd love to help you get started!

Further reading: How I Earn Money from Ibotta

Affiliate links included in this post. Yep, yep.


  1. Kerri, would it be worth it to try and earn some bucks if I don't have a smartphone and would only be using my computer? Thanks!

    1. Yes! In hindsight, the photo may be misleading (it was the only way I could think to do a photo for this post without taking a picture of our desktop, LOL) because I used Swagbucks on my computer almost exclusively. I find it is easier, with the exception of watching videos through their SBTV app. Do it! :) Let me know if you need any help, Lisa.

  2. Seriously, you have gotten me hooked on Swagbucks. I'm so glad I can dedicate some time to it every day because it has paid off tremendously. I"ve used the Amazon money for gifts & my prenatals. I calculated I've made about $180 since last July and I have no plans of stopping, so thanks again! Always love new tips, don't know why I wasn't doing the NOSOs before!

    1. Heck, yes! I love that you're still using it, too. You'll have fun stocking up on baby stuff from Amazon soon, too! ;)

  3. I've been doing this swagbucks thing on and off. (I only earned about $15-20). The one thing I'm really struggling with are the surveys. They send me the link but when I click on them, almost always they say I don't qualify. I don't understand. I completed my profile ages ago. Have you ever faced this sorta problem?

    1. Such a good question! Are you referring to the surveys they send to your email? Last year I had signed up to get targeted surveys to my inbox, and had success with those for a very short time. By the end of the year, though, I'm not sure what happened, because I could never qualify for any of the ones emailed to me. I ended up unsubscribing to those, because (as I'm sure you'd agree!) it's a waste of time at this point.

      I have much better luck going directly to the survey dashboard and qualifying for surveys there: http://www.swagbucks.com/g/trusted-surveys. I still recommend not even trying to qualify for something that will take more than 20 minutes, or that will earn you less than 50 Swagbucks. (The best ratio I've found are the 10 minute ones that offer 50-60 Swagbucks, because they typically take much less than 10!) I hope you're able to have better luck with the surveys this way!


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