By: Revanche

What I wish I’d known about Swagbucks

September 4, 2015

I’ve been using Swagbucks for a few years now but Rookie Me relied entirely on Search and Earn in the early years. Naturally, earning was hit or miss and the whole enterprise was unsatisfying.

This summer, I finally got my act together! When I’m paying attention, I can earn an average of 30-60 SBs per day with minimum effort. At the higher end, about 1800 SBs in 30 days is 80% of the way to the monthly discounted 2250 SBs/$25 gift card redemption. With a little more effort, say qualifying for a few surveys a month, we’re regularly getting one GC redemption a month. It’s mostly been Amazon cards since we use it regularly for diapers and wipes but if I ever get enough saved up, I can switch over to PayPal and that’d be all savings. This isn’t a steady income by any means but it saves a tidy sum over time.

I’m probably not the only one who floundered getting into Swagbucks so I’m sharing what I do or have done. There are lots of ways to earn, though, these aren’t the only ones.

Because some SBs can only be earned on one or the other, I’ll break it down by Desktop and Mobile.


I spend a lot of time in front of the computer for one reason or another, so I either run this stuff in the background or on my (really old, first generation) iPad. It just depends on what makes life easier for me.

  • First, the Daily Sidebar for regular points: hit the Daily Poll [1 SB], the Daily Offers [2 SB], and sometimes the Daily Crave works too. It doesn’t run smoothly on my computer but it’s worth doing if it does for you. Daily Crave cannot be run on mobile. [average: 3-8 SB].
  • “Most Popular Ways to Earn” section: there are usually a few Watch & Earn activities (Watch & Earn, nGage, Take a Discovery Break) that are worth 2 or 3 SBs per activity. Some of them only require one or two clicks. Since I’m busy, those are the ones I go for. If I’m just puttering around online waiting for something more important to happen, then I do all of them. There have been times these made up a full day’s haul up to 80 SB from one activity alone! Take a Discovery Break works on the iPad but the others aren’t mobile-compatible. [average: 2-12 SB]
  • Surveys: Qualifying for surveys can also be hit or miss but it’s worth giving it five good tries because even if you don’t qualify at all for any surveys, you’re still getting 1 SB per DQed survey up to 5. If you do qualify, you can earn anywhere between 50-200 SB per completed survey. It’s possible to do surveys on the iPad or even your phone but I’m not a fan of doing it on the phone. Too hard to see. [average: 5 SB-???]
  • Play: If you pick your game right, every 2 games nets 2 SB. I like Swag Jump and Swagasaurus Run. I’m weird. Make it quick and don’t get sucked in!  🙂


I finally downloaded the Swagbucks and Swagbucks TV apps on my phone – it’s well past time for this smartphone to earn its keep!

  • SB Mobile TV: This has been my bread and butter.  It doesn’t always tell me what the earning limit is but it can be anywhere between 36 SB to 100 SB. I just set it and mostly forget it: 5 videos earns 2 SB. At some point, it’ll say you’ve earned everything you can, but once in a while, it says you qualify for a Bonus, so let it run even longer and rack up those ‘bucks! [average: 36 SB]
    • Hints: I keep the screen brightness down to save battery life and keep the phone plugged in when possible so that it can just keep going and going and going.
  • SB app: You’ll get notifications of where to find Swag Codes. When they’re doing a promotion, this can be up to 30+ SB for just entering a code on your mobile app. On days when I’m running around like mad and don’t have time to look at Swagbucks, this can save me from a zero earnings day.

Other things

  • Shop and Earn: I think you get better cashback, most of the time, from Mr. Rebates and Ebates, but from now until November, your first purchase each month through Swagbucks Shop and Earn will net you an extra 500 SBs, in addition to the per dollar SB payout. There is fine print which Abby summarized so clearly I’m quoting her:
    • Your order needs to actually generate Swagbucks
    • The bonuses won’t appear until December 1st and will expire on December 31st
    • You can’t redeem them for GCs less than $5: remember that your first $25 GC of the month is now discounted to 2,250 SB. Meaning that if you have all five months’ bonuses (2,500 SB) and you redeem them for a $25 GC first thing, you’ll end up with 250 SB that you can’t use.
  • SwagButton: This is an extension you download and install onto your browser. I have problems with my computer so I avoid adding any extensions to it but some Swag Codes are only redeemable through the SwagButton.
  • Setting your browser: They’ve done a few big pushes to get people to default their search engines to Swagbucks. I’d wait til they have another promotion for this, personally.
  • Swaganigans: They run activities on the blog where you can compete for prizes. Usually it involves some kind of clever or witty thing, like this. I’m too lazy busy for this.

Bonus ways to earn

  • Team Challenges: These come along every few weeks or so. Keep an eye on the upper left hand corner of the home page – they will promote the link to the sign up for Team Challenges there. Sign up for a team first thing and then go on your merry ‘bucks earning way. SBs you earn during the Team Challenges counts toward the team total and you get the teams that earn the most together gets bonuses.
  • Daily Goal Bonus: When you hit the daily goal of earning per day, it kicks in another set of SBs depending on what the daily goal was. It looks like the minimum goal is 30 SB which earns 3 SB, 40 SB earns 4 SB and so on.
  • Referrals: You earn 10% of whatever your referred person earns, not counting bonus SBs. This is pretty awesome, even if I only have a couple active referrals. Since my own earnings have been robust of late, the person who referred me ages ago is getting a nice 10% bonus. I can’t remember if I signed up through Donna or Abby, but I’m hoping it’s one of them. At least I know they’ll put the earnings to good use!

Go forth, friends, and rack up the Swagbucks!  And if you haven’t got an account and would like to, I’d surely appreciate it if you were to use my referral code to sign up.

7 Responses to “What I wish I’d known about Swagbucks”

  1. Kay says:

    This is good information — thanks for sharing. I am just a newbie at the whole Swagbucks thing, so this will come in handy. Just curious, does one need to declare an Swagbucks earnings on his/her taxes, in case you might know? Didn’t know how that would work…

    • Revanche says:

      You’re welcome! I believe you do not have to. Whether it’s because they don’t actually pay you in cash, or that they don’t collect your tax ID and send 1099s, I have seen several sources (including a TurboTax CPA) say that it is not considered taxable income unless it’s your sole means of income.

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  6. Amber says:

    This is SO helpful, Revanche! I’ve been using Swagbucks for a couple of years now (off and on), but I’ve never seen tips as great as these. Thank you for sharing!


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