How to Use Swagbucks to Cut Expenses Without Selling Your Identity

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Earn at (Photo credit: mcdonaldjennifer6)

I love the idea of supplementing my meager income online, but I don’t love the idea of wasting my time, selling my information, or being scammed. Somehow, those things just don’t get me too excited.

The author of a favorite blog of mine mentioned once that she uses Swagbucks. Naturally, I had to do it too since I will do anything she says.

What is Swagbucks?

The setup is pretty great. Swagbucks is paid by advertisers everytime someone watches an ad or fulfills certain other obligations set forth by a company. They offer those ads and part of that income to us as we use their services.

They offer a reward in the form of a Swagbuck, which can then be exchanged for a very wide variety of prizes including gift cards. Oh, I see your ears perked up there! Money? Did you smell money? Yes, Swagbucks will even pay you with the sweet, sweet taste of money.


You can earn points by using their search toolbar, completing tasks, taking polls, filling out surveys, watching videos, playing games, and a bunch of other things.


Each offers a range of points.

Usually, you can earn between 7 and 15 points using the Swagbucks toolbar. You can win points that way several times throughout the day, which means you can earn between 30-60 Swagbucks in any given day using this method alone.

On Fridays, the point values up quite a bit (I get 20-30+ per win instead of 7-15).

Swagbucks runs many special programs that will allow you to earn more money during a certain timeframe. Even more, these programs usually reward you for reaching a certain goal and give extra SB on a daily basis. I love these initiatives and often make quite a bit more when they run.

Under the Earn tab, you can go to both Daily Polls and NOSO for points. The values are low; daily polls earn 1 Swagbuck and NOSO earns 2. If you earn 3 every day, that is 21 a week. That starts to add up and it’s not much effort to do so.

The Daily Poll is a very easy way to use Swagbucks. Usually, there is a very simple question with multiple choice answers. Questions are meant to appeal to many people and ask about how often you do something interesting or how old you were when you stopped believing in Santa, etc. They’re not offensive and I kind of enjoy seeing how everyone else responds.

NOSO is a series of ads you must click past before you can earn 2 Swagbucks. You usually go through 5 or 6 pages of screen-sized ads, but you are not obligated to fill them out whatsoever. You will be given the points even if you skip each and every one of them and I recommend you do. At the end, you have to push Play to see the code for your Swagbucks and sometimes there is a video ad before the code.

Search & Win

What’s a Swag Code?

A Swag Code is an alphanumeric code that you enter in the toolbar to the right side of the screen on the homepage. These values are found throughout the website and in the Swagbucks blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages. They range in value and I used to find quite a few, but I haven’t found any lately.

What about Swagbucks TV?

It is very easy to earn Swagbucks watching Swagbucks TV or ads, but I don’t often do them. You usually have to enter a code and sometimes I mess it up and get annoyed. The Swagbucks TV videos aren’t so bad and I’ll usually let a few play while I’m cleaning up or getting ready. You earn 3 points after 10 videos so it does take quite a bit of time and effort, but if you’re not doing anything else, it can add up. I have yet to reach a cap on videos I can play in a given day, but I usually stop after a round or two.

For the rest of the offers, I usually say “No, thank you.” There are many offers and you can even earn Swagbucks (SB) for buying Groupon offers through the Swagbucks page. If you find promotions for products or services you use already, I recommend going through Swagbucks to earn extra points. Otherwise, you probably won’t ever use the service and you’ll just get more and more emails to your Spam box.

DISCLAIMER: I will not say that Swagbucks compromises your information because I do not believe they do. Their program has been very good for me and I am happy to work with them. Because I do not know the companies who have special offers, I do not feel as comfortable sending my name, address, gender, birthday, etc and will not endorse any of those ads or agencies. It’s like that saying when you want the keys to the car: “It’s not that I don’t trust you; I don’t trust the other drivers.” See what I mean? Many are safe and valid, but there might be a few iffy ones here and there.

By using the toolbar, Daily Poll, and NOSO, I have earned enough for 3 $5 Amazon gift cards (450 SB as of 4/19/12) in just a few weeks. I know. That seems like an awful lot of work for $15, but really, it isn’t.

Tip: Don’t fall to the allure of the other gift cards. They seem like a good deal, but they are not. Think about how many things you can buy from Amazon. Dill sunflower seeds. Books. Shirts. Nail polish. Toilet paper. School supplies. Textbooks. After $25, you get free shipping. You don’t even have to leave the house. It is first world luxury at its finest.

For 450 SB, earn $5 of Amazon credit. Follow the Redeem tab to spend your points in the Swag Store. Validate the order and receive a code. Attach the code to your Amazon account (a very simple process), and the money is added as credit. Use this credit to order whatever you’d like. Even $5 is like a free $5 discount for any ordinary order.

Have kids in college? Imagine how nice it would be to not have to work to earn a textbook or two? This stuff adds up. These little amounts can make a big difference. It’s not fast money, but it’s very helpful.

Oh, yeah. Don’t bother saving to get the $10 or $50 gift cards instead of $5. You actually pay more to get those higher values. It is a better deal to trade in your SB for $5 gift cards by far. I did the math.

How much do the other cards cost?

There are other gift card programs available, including PayPal, Home Depot, and many other very famous companies you already use. I do not recommend using any of these cards though, unless you wouldn’t use Amazon. For $5 of PayPal credit, you must hand over 700 SB. That’s a big difference. For others, the values go up higher and higher until you are more than doubling the 450 SB cost of Amazon.

This is the biggest bang for the money and is the only way I trade in my SB.

This sounds highly inconvenient.

I own an online tutoring business and write for several websites. I spend a lot of time on my computer and research many things every day. Almost all of the major internet browsers have toolbar extensions you can download from Swagbucks. These allow you to replace your old search engine with Swagbucks so you can earn points on every search. There isn’t a downloadable toolbar for Google Chrome yet, but there is a way to set your search bar to Swagbucks anyway and I haven’t had a single problem with that modification.

That means, every time I search for anything, including movie times, restaurant locations, news articles, book reviews, and Facebook, I am eligible to win Swagbucks. How much work did this take? I opened an account and followed an extremely easy guide to switch my toolbar. Since then, I’ve reaped in the points.

For me, it is worth the time and effort. It requires minimal change, is somewhat fun, and let’s you cut costs here and there. That seems like a pretty good deal to me.

*As an affiliate of Swagbucks, I may be rewarded in Swag Bucks for any clicks or registrations made through the referral links above.

Want to sign up? Swagbucks is free for anyone to join



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Rachael Cleveland is a freelance blogger and content writer, who beats up sadness and eats crappy blogs for breakfast. Rachael is paid to help people de-stress and simplify their blogs and lives, and that makes her incredibly happy. Currently, she lives across the water from Seattle, but grew up around the world as a military brat.

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