As I mentioned last month, I’ve been using Swagbucks to earn a little extra spending money. Unlike similar groups such as MyPoints or Cash Crate, Swagbucks doesn’t use surveys. Instead, the primary way to earn points (Swagbucks) is through searching.
My previous article covered my thoughts on the search engine and other ways to earn money through Swagbucks, such as direct referrals and points for purchases.
Though I’m using it for fun money, I’ve been thinking about other applications. In particular, Swagbucks can be used to cut the cost of Christmas spending. There are three ways you can use Swagbucks to save money on Christmas and another way that your spending on presents can save you on later presents.
1. Buy Christmas Presents Straight from the Swagbucks Store
Swagbucks has a store or “prizes” section, where you redeem the Swagbucks you’ve earned for items, cash, or gift cards. By earning Swagbucks, you can buy these Christmas presents for free.
To give you an idea of what sorts of things are available directly through Swagbucks, here are some items currently in the SwagStore (10/16/09):
- The Office, Season 5 episode (single) – 60 SB
- HD Digital Camcorder – 2440 SB
- Time Subscribtion (28 issues) – 185 SB
- Obsession by Calvin Klein cologne gift set – 790 SB
The selection changes periodically. It’s not always going to be things that people on your gift list will want. At the same time, there are things like the Office Season 5, Fringe Season 1, which people are probably going to be wanting this Christmas.
Since we’re already into October, you may not have time to save up for larger items (depends on how you plan to use Swagbucks) until next Christmas or perhaps for other events during the coming year.
2. Redeem Swagbucks for Christmas Gift Cards
If Swagbucks could only be redeemed for items, it might be harder to find the gifts you want. However, you can redeem Swagbucks for gift cards to various places including Amazon.com, which sells far more than books. These gift cards can be used to purchase presents or can be the presents themselves.
An important thing to know about Swagbuck’s gift card program is that most of the gift cards are electronic and many come in small units (so you can cash out more easily). This means that if you want to give someone $25 in gift cards, you have to give 5 separate cards.
Also, unlike electronic gift cards purchased from some locations, gift cards from Swagbucks have a short waiting period so that the orders can be done in bulk. For example, Amazon.com electronic gift cards codes are posted on the 16th and 30th of every month. Amazon.ca posts on the 1st and 16th of every month. This is good to know for planning.
3. Redeem Swagbucks for Christmas Cash
You can also redeem Swagbucks for plain old cash, which works as a gift or can be used to buy gifts. It’s more economical to redeem them for Amazon gift cards right now (45 SB to $5 on Amazon vs. 70SB to $5 cash), but sometimes cash is the best answer.
4. Shop Swagbucks Partners for Presents and Earn Points
In a reversal, you can also earn Swagbucks for some of your Christmas shopping. This is not unlike getting cashback on purchases, only (like most rewards credit cards) it’s in the form of points you can redeem for something else.
Swagbucks has a number of retail partners (you can check it out at their site even before signing up). If you buy from them through Swagbucks (instead of just going to the retailer’s site or store), then you earn Swagbucks in return, generally 1 SB for every $5 spent.
These Swagbucks earned through Christmas shopping can then be used in turn for presents in any of the three ways listed above.
Little Ways to Save Money for the Holidays
There are a lot of little things you can do to save or earn money for the holidays. Starting in October, you won’t have time to pay for an entire Christmas with Swagbucks, but every bit helps.
(It’d be interesting to see if someone could start saving Swagbucks in January and pay for a whole Christmas with Swagbucks. It shouldn’t be too hard if you’re buying one present each for around 10 people and keeping it to approximately a $20 value…harder if you’re going for something bigger, but you could use it to get one big present for one special someone too. Anyone feel like taking up that challenge?)