Money Hacks

Using Swagbucks to increase your monthly savings

Swagbucks is an online reward site that is pretty well known in the survey/online rebate world.  Swagbucks works as an affiliate and then gives part of their kickback to you, the user.

You are NOT going to get rich using Swagbucks.  It CAN help with some of your regular expenses and earn you a little extra every month if you are dedicated.

If you feel like you are living paycheck to paycheck and don’t have any save anything, you can use Swagbucks to find some savings each month and start building an emergency fund.

Each Swagbuck is worth 1 cent.  That doesn’t seem like much, and if you are only filling out surveys, you will be making pennies an hour!   The key to Swagbucks is being smart about how you use it.

Why use Swagbucks?

Using a kickback tool when shopping online gets you double points if you are also using a rewards card.  If I’m shopping online at Old Navy, I always go through Swagbucks’ shop and earn link.  That way, I get cash back from Swagbucks (sometimes as much as 10%, but usually more like 1%) AND cash back on my rewards credit card that I use for every-day purchases.

If I wait for a special on Swagbucks, I can spend $25 and get 6% back from Swagbucks and 3% back on my credit card.  That’s I get $2.25 back ($1.50 from Swagbucks and $0.75 on the credit card).  Boom!  Double rewards.

Ebates is another shop and earn tool, but I prefer Swagbucks because they have additional earning methods.

Ways to earn

Swagbucks is well known as a survey site, but I have had the most success with other methods of earning.

The Swagbucks home page is filled with deals from affiliates.  You can poke through and sign up for anything that might be relevant.  I use proactive facewash, and I always buy through Swagbucks because they almost always have a promo for bonus Swagbucks.

You can watch videos from pre-selected playlists, or interact with ad video content from marketers who need views.

You can also get small Swagbucks for entering in codes found on their facebook page, however the denominations are so small and the code posts so hard to see that it’s really hit or miss.

They also have a daily survey that will throw you a Swagbuck every day you participate.

Around the holidays, they offer special deals where you can join a team and your Swagbucks count towards a team total.  Usually they give bonus Swagbucks out for participation, and the winning team gets an extra chunk.

Using the Swagbucks search engine will also throw you a few free Swagbucks every couple of searches.

 

Earn through shopping

My biggest earning with Swagbucks is cash back from shopping online.  Any time I purchase from Amazon, I use a swag link (not all Amazon categories qualify for cash back, but the categories change often so I always use a swag link just in case).

 

Swagbucks is connected with a huge network of online retailers, so anytime I’m shopping online I check for a Swagbucks shop and earn link before I make a purchase.

Lately, I don’t have to go through Swagbucks every time I shop.  I have the Swagbucks browser tool installed, so when I’m on a site that can earn cash back, I get a little popup with a button that activates my swagbucks tracking so I can earn on any purchases I make.

Most online bookings you make, including travel, can qualify for Swagbuck rebates.

Sadly, they don’t have an affiliate relationship with airbnb yet, but when we do stay in hotels, I book through hotels.com (through a Swagbucks link, of course).

Swagbucks also does kickbacks when you print and redeem coupons through them.  After making my grocery list each week, I do a quick search in their coupon section for the items I’m already buying.  After printing and using the coupon in stores, I get my Swagbucks!

Note that many, many rewards take a month or more to get credited to your account.  I always keep track of major purchases that should have big rewards and watch for them to show up.  I have never had an issue, but it isn’t unheard of that you have to file a claim to get your Swagbucks.

 

Earn through engagement

However, I don’t do tons of shopping, period.  Since we’ve been students for so long, old habits die hard and I keep our monthly spending pretty low.

So while my big earnings on Swagbucks come from purchases and shopping, the daily hundred or so I earn is through different engagement activities.

In the morning, I hope on my desktop computer and open Swagbucks.  They have a few different earning forms that are pretty much automated.  I try to get one of these started and leave it on all day, for automatic earning.  The two I use most are nGage and watch.

 

I prefer nGage because it has a higher earning rate, but there isn’t always an offer available.  NGage is a tool for providing people with page views, as I understand it.  Basically, you will have a page opened in your browser for a certain amount of time, then the next page is opened.  It not always automated, which means I sometimes have to click buttons to get through each page of ads.

If I’m on the computer browsing pinterest, email, or facebook, I use this method because it only takes a little bit of attention to keep clicking through.  I have a second monitor on my desktop, which makes it easy to see when the timer for each page is up.

Watch is Swagbucks’ video player.  They have set playlists and you get Swagbucks when you watch all the videos on the list.  Usually, they will automatically start a new video when one ends, and a new playlist when one finishes.

Occasionally this feature isn’t working and you have to click through.  When this is the case, I don’t bother with videos because the earning rate is so low.  However, if it is automated, leaving it running all day can earn an easy 50 – 100 Swagbucks.

On really great days, I can get videos running on one screen and nGage running on the other, and then I double my daily total.

Surveys

Swagbucks has a few different survey providers on there site.  Some people swear by earning the big bucks this way, but in reality, I only get selected (and rewarded) for about one in every ten surveys I try.

 

Ultimately, the return rate is low and not guaranteed.  However, I usually try to earn when I am sitting watching netflix.  Sometimes I’ll do surveys, and on a good night, I can earn about 200 Swagbucks this way.  Most nights, I earn less than 100.

While I don’t discourage surveys, I will say that more and more often, I do nGage clicking when I’m watching a show these days.  If nGage isn’t available, that is when I go to surveys.

 

How it makes you money

This probably seems like small change, and it is.  But a little bit adds up.  I usually cash out once a month for at least $25.  On a month when I’m really dedicated, I can sometimes get to $50, but mostly that is more work than I care to do.

But if you are smart, you can use what your making to save big bucks!  Here is the fun part.

Using swagbucks to save $600

Our grocery budget is $300 a month.  If I can cash out $50 a month in Walmart gift cards, I can lower my grocery bill to $250 and invest that extra $50 or put it in a high-yield savings account.  This way, a small investment of time in Swagbucks can give bigger yields over time through the invested savings.

Read all about how and why to use a high-yield savings account here!

If you save that $50 you would have spent on groceries every month, you will have $600 saved by the end of the year!

If you put that in a savings account with 1% interest or higher, your numbers could look like this.  (Nerdwallet has a sweet list of high-yield savings accounts here.)

Notice that each month, the capitol amount increases by the $50 you are saving by using Swagbucks, plus the interest you earned last month.

In just twelve months, your $600 has earned almost $90 extra without you doing any extra work!  Free money!  And look at that – now you have a little emergency fund.

Of course, that depends on how often interest is compounded.  This scenario assumes interest is compounded monthly.  (If you are wondering how interest and compound interest work, read this helpful article from Investopedia).

Even if you are just saving $25 a month, which is closer to what I’m making, that’s $300 saved, or up to $345 with a 1% return compounding monthly.

The moral?  If you are desperate to start saving, swagbucks combined with a high-yield savings account can get you started.

Sign up here for free and let me know what you think in the comments below!

How to use swagbucks to jump start your emergency fund

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