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6 Ways I Earn Money on Swagbucks: A 2023 Review for Side Hustlers

Updated: Jul 18

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure

I’ve always been a huge fan of making money in as easy a way as possible. And to be honest, who wouldn’t be? But did you know that there are actually sites that will pay you to play games, watch videos, and online shop?

Thanks to Swagbucks, you too can join in!

Swagbucks is an online rewards program that rewards you for completing surveys, watching videos, and playing games.

Plus - if you sign up here, you'll receive a $10 bonus!

What Is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is an online platform that rewards users for completing certain tasks on its website. I have surveys and watched videos through Swagbucks before, but you also may be able to make money by playing games or online shopping as well.

Each time you complete a task, you’ll be rewarded with Swagbucks points (“SBs” for short). Then, once you’ve accrued enough points, you can cash them out for cash or gift cards.

Founded in 2008, Swagbucks has exploded in popularity and now boasts over 55 million users across the globe.

How does Swagbucks work?

The premise of Swagbucks is really simple. You’ll be compensated in SB points for performing basic tasks and playing basic games. Like I said, you’ll then be able to redeem them for gift cards from major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart or PayPal cash payments.

Beyond performing tasks like taking surveys or watching promotional videos, you can also increase your earnings by taking advantage of cash-back offers through Swagbucks' partners.

You can even automate these cash-back rewards by downloading an SB browser extension (called the SwagButton) that will notify you when new activities/cash-back opportunities are available. This cashback is a great perk for a couple of reasons:

  • You can earn rewards on purchases you were planning on making anyway

  • You'll be able to lower your effective costs on anything you buy

6 ways to make money on Swagbucks

I've been making money on Swagbucks for nearly a year now. And I quickly fell in love with the multitude of ways in which you can use the platform to make some spare money.

In no particular way, you can make money by:

  1. Completing surveys

  2. Searching

  3. Watch videos

  4. Playing games

  5. Sending in receipts

  6. Shopping cash back

Swagbucks review [2023]

While I've spent most of my time answering surveys and using the search bar, I have tried most of the strategies on this list. Now, I'll walk you through these approaches one by one.

1. Swagbucks Answer (surveys)

Like I said, I've spent the most time on Swagbucks completing surveys. There are plenty of offerings online, partly because of the platform's distribution. Major brands and companies take advantage of this distribution and turn to Swagbucks for support.

Not all surveys will be open to everybody, though. When I first created my account, I was asked some basic demographic information, information that is then used to aggregate the surveys that you qualify for. Needless to point out, it is really important that you are completely honest when completing your demographic profile.

Beyond this, some surveys may also have additional prequalification criteria.

❗One insider tip that I quickly learned was that you can get an idea as to whether there are any other prequalification questions/requirements you need to meet by closely reading a survey's instructions or description before you begin. This extra thirty seconds could save you time in moving on from surveys you are unlikely to be eligible to complete.

At this time, Swagbucks offers four different types of surveys you can complete:

  • Daily polls

  • Peanut Lab surveys

  • Gold surveys

  • Your profile

The amount of SBs that you earn will depend on a number of variables, including the length of a survey, how hard it is to qualify for, and other factors.

In general, I usually earn 50-250 SBs per survey (roughly equal to $0.05-$2.50), though you can sometimes find surveys paying up to 1000 SBs - or more!

2. Browsing the web

Another way in which you can make some side money on the portal is by using Swagbucks Search as your search engine browser whenever you need to make online searches.

In fact, this tool is even downloadable as a browser extension through Google Chrome. Powered by Yahoo, the Swagbucks search engine will make you regularly complete Captcha verification to prove you are not a bot.

After this, the number of SB points that you'll earn are somewhat random. But after some research, here's what I learned:

  • The number of SB that you earn depend on you finding what is known as a "winning search"

  • Randomized rewards max out at 25 SBs, though these rewards will be few and far between

​📝 Nate's Notes: In my opinion, spending time trying to earn SBs on the search engine may not be a prudent strategy. I wasted a fair amount of time early on to earn pedestrian amounts of SBs that didn't move the needle much.

Others may disagree with me, and you may have more luck.

3. Watching videos

The third path to monetizing your experience on the platform is to watch videos. Dubbed "Swagbucks Watch," you can pick from ten different categories, including:

  • Travel

  • Entertainment

  • Health

  • Fashion

I haven't spent as much time watching videos as I have shopping or completing surveys, and this is for the simple reason that each video only awards 1-2 SBs on average. I didn't find it a worthwhile use of my time, but plenty of people do, especially if you play the videos in the background and let them play.

You will have to manually advance to the next video each minute or two, which can make the process a little more tedious than you'd like.

Just food for thought.

4. Playing games

Playing games was probably my second favorite way of making money on Swagbucks, after answering surveys, for two simple reasons:

  • First, it didn't really feel like work.

  • And secondly, the potential rewards seemed really clear and transparent to me, more so than with the search function.

Currently, there are three ways in which you can earn money on Swagbucks by playing games:

  • Play online and earn if/when you win

  • Reach a certain level by a certain time

  • Make purchases within an app/game (I never did this)

There are lots of random games you can play, such as Pop & Plunder (maybe you've heard of it, but I haven't). At the same time, though, there are seemingly just as many games I have heard of, including famous ones like Wheel of Fortune, Solitaire, Yahtzee, and more!

I recommend that you explore these games with an open-mind. When I first started out, there were a couple of things that confused me and took me some time to understand.

First, depending on the game that you're playing, it is not always clear what you need to do to earn points. Winning helps, sure, but there were also times that I would earn 1-2 SBs even while losing a free game. Exactly why, I'm not sure, but I'll take it!

Secondly, pay attention to the categories that each game falls within. The Swagbucks site will tell you whether you'll need to make in-game purchases to earn SBs. So if that is a hard pass for you, like it was for me, you can easily exclude these games.

​​📝 Nate's Notes: Playing these games can be a great way to earn just a little extra spending money, particularly when relaxing or watching television. Outside of that, these games may not be worth it for everyone.

5. Send in receipts

I'll be the first to admit - I was surprised that this was an option to make money on Swagbucks. But I love it!

Dubbed "Magic Receipts," Swagbucks will compensate you for either uploading e-receipts or mailing in hard copies. And I firmly believe it is worth it. Here is how it works:

  • As you're browsing Swagbucks online shopping portal, add items you want to buy to your list

  • Purchase it/them from Swagbucks participating stores such as Walmart, Target, and others

  • Upload/mail in your receipt(s)

Of course, you'll only truly "make money" if you're sending in receipts for purchases you needed to make, so you'll definitely want to keep that in mind. Herein lies my favorite part of the Magic Receipts program.

You have options far beyond buying expensive technology to earn SBs. Rather, I recommend you use it to purchase groceries, toiletries, and other necessities that you buy regularly.

Plus - if you use a cash back credit card to make these purchases and upload your receipts after, you'll earn double rewards. Uploading your receipts is an easy process and can be completed on either the app or the actual website.

6. Shopping cash back

The sixth way to make money is to earn cash back on your online shopping. Operating very similarly to Rakuten, Ibotta, and other cash back apps, "Shop" is a feature that will pay you cash back (in SBs) anytime you make a qualifying purchase through a qualifying retailer.

For instance, a retailer like Target may offer 5% cashback on the platform. If you go ahead and make a purchase, you'll earn 5 SBs for each dollar that you spend.

When I last checked, there was a whole host of participating retailers, including high profile retailers such as:

  • Walmart

  • eBay

  • Macy's

  • Best Buy

  • Expedia

❗I have a recommendation while shopping through Swagbucks Shop. You'll want to be careful to the exact reward parameters. This can be a little tricky at first, but you'll want to read the fine print. Sometimes, companies post cash back bonuses, but put fine print may exclude certain purchases such as gift cards and expensive electronics.

You may also see multiplier rewards from time to time that may give you 5x or even 10x the 1% cashback offered. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Swagbucks is an online rewards program that rewards you for completing surveys, watching videos, and playing games.

Don't forget to collect your $10 bonus!

Tips to maximize Swagbucks rewards

I've already explained the types of activities you can complete in order to earn SBs to redeem for cash or gift cards. But as you get started, you may notice that you're not making money as quickly as you expected to.

If you find yourself in this situation, follow these tips that I created to help me increase my Swagbucks earnings:

  1. Use the Swagbucks search engine

  2. Refer as many friends as possible

  3. Meet your daily goals and maintain streaks

1. Use the Swagbucks search engine

To truly maximize your chances of making good money on SB, you can actually set the site as your default search engine. Doing so helps you in a couple of ways.

First, using SB as your default search engine may lead to you receiving a SB bonus, which is great.

And secondly, you'll earn SB for actually using it to browse the web! It's a win-win situation!

2. Refer your friends

Many Swagbucks users don't realize that they can actually earn money by referring their friends to join the site. And the program is actually quite lucrative.

As of the time this post was written, rather than offering a flat $5 or $10 referral fee, Swagbucks will actually compensate you with SBs equal to 10% of what your referrals earn on the site.

This way, you get rewarded for life for all the work that your referrals complete on the site!

3. Meet your daily SB goals (bonus points)

The third approach you may consider to boost your earnings is to pay close attention to any bonus point opportunities as they become available to you. For example, as you meet and exceed your daily goals, you'll begin to earn bonuses.

There are other ways to earn these bonuses too, but should you exceed your daily goals for a week straight, you'll earn a 25 SB bonus.

Swagbucks frequently asked questions

If I know my readers the way I think I do, I bet you still have questions. Luckily, I've got more answers below.

1. Is Swagbucks legit?

Yes, Swagbucks is a legitimate company that I can confirm does pay out SBs that can redeemed for real cash and gift card rewards. Swagbucks, operated through a parent company known as Prodege, LLC, has a proven track record as a business with few BBB complaints for a platform with over 50 million users.

2. Does Swagbucks have any competitors?

Yes, there are a variety of companies doing the same type of work as Swagbucks. I recommend that you also take a look at the following companies:

  • MyPoints: MyPoints offers rewards (known as "MyPoints") for completing tasks such as survey completion, watching videos, and making purchase from participating retailers. In time, you'll be able to cash in those points for cash or gift card rewards. The business model is very similar to Swagbucks.

  • InboxDollars: Another option to consider is InboxDollars, another site that allows you to earn rewards points for completing the same basic tasks as MyPoints and Swagbucks.

Is Swagbucks right for you?

Let's get something straight - you will not get rich working on this platform. But that isn't what it was designed for either. If you're looking for easy (and potentially cheap) ways to make an extra $100 or so per month, then Swagbucks is a great option for you.

That's why I've decided to rank Swagbucks with 4.5/5 stars.

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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