Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Earn Free Gift Cards at Swagbucks.com!

Have you heard some buzz about "Swagbucks" recently from a friend or co-worker? Maybe you've seen me rave excessively about it on Facebook (and have hidden me from your newsfeed as a result--heh). Maybe you've even noticed the widget in this site's footer. What's all the hype about, you wonder?

Think free gift cards are too good to be true?

I'd like to take this opportunity to shed some light on the situation for those of you whose interest has been piqued but who aren't sure whether you're ready to take the plunge. Or, for those of you have gone through with that initial sign-up, but never took the time to figure it out--this post is for you.

Believe it or not, I have actually earned more than $450 worth of gift cards since becoming a "Swaggernaut" in October 2012. And that's a drop in the bucket, really--because most of the time I haven't bothered to spend more than a few minutes per day (if that) actually pursuing those bucks. There's a lot more to be had than I take the time for. I typically redeem my 'bucks for $5 Amazon gift cards, since they're a bit cheaper than all the other rewards, but Target and Sephora gift cards are also favorites of mine to fall back on, since there's a 5-per-month limit on any one particular reward redemption.

So how do you go about collecting those ever-evasive 'bucks? Read on, my friend. Here's my list of "the basics." (Start exploring on your own, and I'll bet you'd have more to add to this list!)

  1. Sign upYou'll get a handful of swagbucks just for filling out your profile information, taking the tour, and setting up your account. Be sure to click the verification link in the email they send you. (Use sign-up code "FreeGiftCards" for a bonus 50 'bucks when signing up before 4/30/14. And if you click this link to sign up, I'll get rewarded for referring you!)
  2. Install the toolbar. (If you're a Google Chrome user, click here to install it from the Chrome Web Store.) By having the toolbar installed and clicking on it just once every day (it will alert you when swag codes are available and when your swagbucks balance has changed), you automatically get 1 swagbuck daily. Easy-peasy.
  3. Change your default search engine to Swagbucks. (This took some time for me to get used to, and I still sometimes miss good ol' Google, but hey--it's earning me awesome free stuff. I have Google on my bookmarks toolbar for easy access when the situation calls for backup.) Click here for more information on changing your default search engine. When you use the Swagbucks search engine, you randomly win Swagbucks just for searching the web. (A window pops up at the top of my search at least once (but up to 4 times) a day, announcing that I've just "won" a certain number of Swagbucks. It's usually between 4-14, but I've gotten as many as 50+ in one search.) This is the best and easiest way to earn, because it's automatic and doesn't require any extra effort on your part, except for occasionally being required to type in a code to confirm that you're not a robot. You can win 'bucks for searching from any mobile device, as well--I recommend downloading the Swagbucks app and using it to search the web instead of your phone's built-in browser (Safari, etc.). 
  4. Fill out your survey profiles. Click here to answer the questions in each of the categories for an easy one-time 32 swagbucks. (Swagbucks uses this information to qualify you for surveys, if that's something you're interested in doing. You don't ever have to actually take any of the surveys. You do have the option of selecting "Prefer not to say" underneath every question--and you'll still get the 32 swagbucks.)
  5. Install the Swagbucks TV app on your smartphone. You can let the videos play on mute while doing other things. This is my favorite way to help meet my "Daily Goals" (see #6 below).

  1. Answer the Daily Poll.  In the left-hand column of your homescreen, you'll see a link called "Daily Poll" underneath the heading "To Do List." Click this every day and answer the question given for an easy 1 swagbuck. (Or, you can answer the daily poll from the Swagbucks app on your mobile device!)
  2. View the "No-Obligation Special Offers."  Also on your "To Do List" is a link to the "NOSO" screen. Click the orange "Start Earning Now" button, flip through the offers (you DON'T have to submit any personal information--hence the "no obligation"--just look for the "Skip" or "See Next Offer" button) and enter the Captcha (anti-robot code) at the end for an easy 2 swagbucks each day.
  3. Search the web  for the things you Google anyway. (See #3 above.) Even if you run only a handful of searches daily, you're likely to win between 200-300 swagbucks per month.
  4. Find swag codes.  If you have the toolbar (see #2 above) you'll be alerted by a red dot on the little green Swagbucks icon when there is a code available. When you click on the little lock button and then click "Check Now" it will tell you where to look for the code (the blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Copy and paste the codes (usually a word, number, or sequence of numbers/letters with no spaces) and submit them by hovering over the "Swag Code" button in the top right corner of the Swagbucks homescreen. For more information on swag codes, click here.

  1. Start your online shopping from the Swagbucks website.  There are a ton of stores that you can earn x number of swagbucks per dollar spent, if you click on the store's link from the Swagbucks site instead of heading directly to the storefront itself. Form a habit of checking Swagbucks first, every time you shop online. There are often promotions running as well that offer 2, 3, or even 10 times the normal amounts of 'bucks per dollar.
  2. Print coupons to use on groceries.  Click here to print coupons that come straight from Coupons.com. This is my absolute favorite earning opportunity, because I not only save the face value of the coupons on my grocery bill, but also get 10 swagbucks for every coupon I redeem. (Just keep in mind that it takes up to 12 weeks for coupon earnings to credit to your account.) Note: Check your store's coupon policy on their website before you head to the check-out with your coupon stash. Unfortunately, not all stores accept internet coupons. (I'm currently a loyal Target shopper, and have never had any problems there.)

  1. Special Offers I like to glance through these a couple times a week. Some are easy and free, and a few are even useful, but most require purchases that I wouldn't otherwise be making. DON'T allow yourself to get sucked in to buying something on impulse just for the swagbucks. And be aware that most of the "free trial" offers that require credit card information are recurring subscriptions for which you will be charged with no warning. Most--but not all--special offer redemptions credit to your account instantly. The Special Offers tabs I've had the most success with are TrialPay and RadiumOne. The RadiumOne video offers for 1 swagbuck each will play in the background on mute while you're working in another tab. Learn from my experience: you WILL end up with a ton of junk email if you submit your email address for any special offer. Use a "junk address" if you have one, or be prepared to do a lot of "mark as spam" and "unsubscribe" clicking.
  2. Surveys:  Not something I regularly participate in, but check it out if you've got extra time on your hands and don't mind sharing personal information for marketing/research purposes. There's a daily survey for 60 swagbucks that doesn't usually take very long to complete.
  3. Tasks:  I experimented with these a bit, but didn't find them very worthwhile for myself. Maybe you'll have better luck!
  4. Encrave: The ones with the little white and blue circle icon with a clockwise arrow and tiny play button are video chains that will loop automatically if you open them in a new window (not new tab), while you continue to work on other things. I use these every day!
  5. Games:  Yes, you can even earn a few 'bucks for playing computer games (2 for every 2 games played).
  6. Swagbucks TV:  Earn swagbucks for watching ads, celebrity gossip, mini cooking shows, comedians, and more. They add up faster and fast-track automatically from the mobile app (see #5 above), but there's a daily earning limit of 50. On the computer, you can earn up to 150 per day.
  7. Daily Goals: There's a daily goal meter in the left sidebar on the Swagbucks homepage. Swagbucks sets first and second "goals" for you to attempt that vary from day to day based on your earning history. You get bonus 'bucks at the end of the month for meeting these goals, and additionally, if you meet your first goal for a consecutive 7, 14, or 21 days or for the entire month, you get bonus points at the end of the month. (Click on "Show My Winning Streaks" below the meter to track your progress.)  
  8. Referrals: Between now and 2/25/14, there's a new referral program in effect wherein you'll get 10% of the earnings (for life!) of anyone who uses your referral link to sign up. After 2/25, I assume the program will revert back to its former incentive: up to 1,000 matching swagbucks (instantly!) on your referrals' earnings. On this note, if you've signed up under my name recently, THANK YOU! A few of my new referrals over the last few weeks have really been boosting my income. Props especially to jrs1234, whoever you are, for sending 137 swagbucks my way in just a couple weeks! (That means he or she has earned more than 1,370 'bucks so far--enough for three $5 Amazon gift cards. It can be done, people!)

So, there you have it: Start Earning Swagbucks 101.
Get started today!

What questions do you have? I'd love to be of assistance if you find something confusing or unclear. Ask away!

If YOU have a Swagbucks success story, we'd love to hear it! Tell us your own earning tips in the comments below.


  1. Do the coupons only work at certain stores? I tried them once, and they didn't work.

    1. Alena...good question. Come to think of it, I may have only ever used them at Target. Never had a problem there. I would think that as long as the store accepts printed coupons from the Internet, there wouldn't be a problem. They come from Coupons.com which is probably the most popular coupon site out there. I'm curious, where did you try that they didn't work?

  2. I only tried at Yoder's. After I read your post, I checked their website, and it said they weren't accepting coupons from coupon.com. I'll have to try other places, and definitely keep Target in mind.

    1. Sorry to hear that. Sounds like a good plan. Thanks for the tip!


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