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Is Swagbucks Actually Worth It?

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Sarah has just done a 180-degree turn from impulse shopper to budget-crazed saver.

How Exactly Does Swagbucks Work?

There are numerous blog posts about Swagbucks out there and if you have found your way here looking for an opinion on it, then you probably already know a little bit about how Swagbucks works.

In summary, swagbucks.com is a website that offers its users credit in the form of "Swagbucks" (also called "SB"s for short) for doing different interactions on its site. The most straightforward way certainly is through earning cashback on online shopping. Various online retailers have partnered with Swagbucks so that customers will earn x amount of SB per $/€ spent. Other possibilities include surveys where you get credit for giving your opinion, web searches, watching videos or playing games.

Another way of earning SBs is referring others to the site. Sometimes this is more lucrative than normally but generally speaking (based on my experience), you'd get a referral bonus if the new joiner gains so many SBs in their first month and will always gain 1SB for every 10SBs the new joiner makes.

Swagbucks offers a wide range of vouchers that users get in exchange for a certain number of SBs. It is also possible to trade SBs in for Paypal credit.

Fair Enough – Is It Actually Worth My Time Though?

It might well be. There are, as always, a few things you should bear in mind as well as some tricks you might not realise when you first join (or maybe that is just me, who knows!).

A warning about online shopping (that most of you will probably not need because it is kind of obvious): this is a very easy way to make SBs provided you are buying what you would actually have bought anyway. For me, I've accumulated SBs at a surprisingly decent rate just by ordering groceries online. At first, I stuck to the supermarket/shops we usually go to anyway but then I actually looked around the shopping section a bit, found retailers that offered more SBs overall and forgot all about loyalty provided the real-world price for the stuff we needed was comparable to our usual shops. This has, of course, meant trying out different brands at times but hey, life's too short to only be drinking one brand of orange juice! Bear in mind expenses that are not normally coming your way, too. For us, this was buying a mattress for our little one's new bed and this has been a real SB-earner. For you, it might be a holiday that you want to book through a company that has partnered up with Swagbucks anyway, who knows how much cashback you might earn that way . . . The thing to remember: if you want to get those SBs rolling in, you need to go to the retailer of your choice through swagbucks.com! Otherwise, it doesn't count, obviously . . .

But What About the Other Ways of Earning SBs?

Surveys can potentially also be a quick earner. I say "potentially" because you can't count on the fact that you'll definitely be successful with them. Especially the surveys that can bring in a nice amount of SBs are usually looking for a very specific group of people and you might find having answered a fair few questions already, you don't qualify after all. Swagbucks usually give you a little bit of credit (usually 1SB though once it went up as high as 5SBs for me) for trying, but if you had your heart set on 80SBs that's always a bit of a kick in the teeth.

Personally I have neither really used the Swagbucks-search engine (though I believe you get points for just searching the web but I always forget to go through Swagbucks because I haven't switched off the brand loyalty part of my brain entirely yet) nor played games on Swagbucks.

I have, however, watched videos. Actually, that is not entirely true. See, at the beginning of my Swagbucks journey, I saw you get, say, 2SBs for watching a playlist of videos that might be playing for 10 minutes. And I thought, thank you, but no thank you. I don't really need to sit here wasting time for cents. Then one day I read somebody else report of their experience with Swagbucks and it hit me: I don't have to "watch" these videos, I only need to play them. So now, at night, I occasionally just leave my computer on and let those videos run while I make and have dinner, get ready for bed and sometimes even overnight. Guess what—that actually really builds up those SBs quickly!

Referrals haven't really worked out for me yet. I guess the people in my life don't love Swagbucks as much as me (maybe that's understandable because I have become somewhat obsessed and take it to extremes my friends and family don't).

So What Are You Saying?

As someone who just admitted to having a bit of an obsession, I actually think there's no harm in seeing how it fits around your life. As I explained above, if you are the type who likes online shopping and you are not necessarily loyal to one brand, it might bring in a bit of cashback and that is always nice. However, if you had to actually force yourself to buy things online that you otherwise wouldn't have bought, stay well clear. If you are super popular and have a wide social network, the referrals might really help you make SBs quickly, too.

I always aim to give a balanced view and I would point out that in recent weeks I've had more unsolicited calls than I had before I started getting into Swagbucks. It wouldn't be fair to point the finger at Swagbucks and its partners because it is not always straightforward finding out how companies got hold of your number. Therefore it might be totally coincidental but I thought it's worth mentioning at this point. As always, blocking the numbers in question is a possibility thanks to modern technology and so this hasn't disrupted my life too much.

When I did sign up in June, the goal was to have €60 worth of Amazon vouchers to help purchase Christmas presents this year. Thanks to getting cashback on some bigger purchases that were due over the last weeks I have already achieved this goal. Go me! The plan is to just keep earning SBs and maybe now have a free, rather than a subsidised, Christmas and put all the money we would have otherwise spent on presents into savings. In that sense, I'm really happy with the experience I've had so far and would totally recommend Swagbucks.

If you want to give it a go, why not let me know how you got on in the comments.

What about you?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 Sarah