It's the holiday time of year again, where everyone (I should say almost everyone, with some people you just never know) likes so save as much as they can while still giving meaningful and thoughtful gifts to the friends and family that they love. I fall in to this group, and since I've been out of work money is a little tight this year. This situation led me to the blog series over at Money Saving Mom called 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. **Quick note about Money Saving Mom - her blog is fantabulous! I don't know how she keeps up with it. She has so many different great ideas and tips. Major kudos to her. I read her book, The Money Saving Mom's Budget and it inspired me to attempt to use cash only in March - June of 2013 and see what happens to my budget. You can buy the book here if you're interested. She also just came out with a new e-book called 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life that is available for Kindle apps here. I haven't read it yet; it's going to be my non-fiction read for the month of December, for when finals are over and I have a little time to focus on reading. Anyway, Crystal's blog and books are an inspiration to me. So, thanks Crystal!!
Aaaanyway, on Day 2 of Money Saving Mom's Christmas Cash series, she posted about this site I'd not head of before called Swagbucks. Basically, if you complete special offers and activities located on Swagbucks's site, you're awarded points which can add up to things like free merchandise or free gift cards. Hey, I'm all about free, and Husband's Christmas list almost always includes a video game for his PS3 on it, and Swagbucks has Amazon gift cards, so I thought, "Why not? I'll give it a try!"
|The homepage, before you're a Swagbucks member|
|This is what you see when you come to Swagbucks after you've signed up|
After signing up, I started wanting to earn points right away. After all, that's what I was there for, wasn't it? I wanted to see those points by my name climb, and climb fast! The gift cards right now are 2,500 points for a $25 gift card, and 5,000 for a $50 gift card, so I needed points, and quick. Some of the ways to earn points are directly from Swagbucks themselves. You can take a Daily Poll for 1 point, complete the NOSOs each day for 2 points, and watch Swagbucks TV. Every 10 videos earns you 3 points, and you can earn a maximum of 15 points a day from watching Swagbucks TV. Some of the videos are super short (Hollyscoop averages less than a minute and a half) and there's a Martha Stewart channel that I actually enjoyed watching to get some ideas for crafts my niece and I could do together.
|The SwagBucks meter in the upper right shows your progress towards your next 3 points|
The biggest point earners on Swagbucks are the Special Offers. These are trials, downloads, and/or surveys you complete for SwagBucks. Many of them are free; some do require a purchase. These are through outside companies who validate if you have completed the offer, then award your points.
|Some of the Special Offers available|
It was these companies through which I had the biggest problem. I have many offers that according to them I only viewed, when I in fact completed them. Some of them I was able to contact the company's customer support and offer proof that I had completed the offer, which resulted in them manually crediting my account, but from many of these companies I have no way of proving that I completed it because it was just a Congratulations! screen on a website, and I don't take screenshots of every website I visit. This has added up to dozens of lost points, which would have put me over my 2,500 point goal by this point in time. (See in the upper right? I have 2,459 points)
|Three of the offers that say "viewed" I completed, two I had to look at again to make sure I completed everything correctly before contacting customer support. One was no longer valid, and the top one did not work properly.|
I'm only touching on a few of the ways you can earn points through SwagBucks here, for other ways I would definitely recommend that you check out the website if you're interested. For me, it's too much work monitoring the companies that I completed the offers for and making sure they credit me the points. I'm going to work to complete my goal of the 2,500 points to get Stepdad an iTunes gift card for Christmas (because wouldn't you know it, this is the one year Husband decided NOT to put any video games on his Christmas list after all) and then that will be the end of my adventure with Swagbucks. I like to order online for many things, so I'll probably just stick with ebates.com.