Swagbucks 101: A Primer for Getting Started & Earning Free Prizes!

I've had a few people ask me to share more about Swagbucks—what it is and how it works. So, I decided to compile a little "Swagbucks 101" to hopefully provide some more insight to those interested in learning how by simply switching the search engine you use, you can get free gift cards and prizes. Read on to find out how to sign up for Swagbucks for free, what kinds of prizes you can win and more!

What is Swagbucks?
Basically, Swagbucks.com is a new search engine, with the perk that they reward you for searching with them. Swagbucks uses Google and Ask.com to generate its search results so it's not really any different if you already use either of those. Except that you can get rewarded for it!

You sign up for an account with them, and they reward you with points as you perform your searches through Swagbucks. When you rack up enough points, you can cash them in for gift certificates or selected products. If you want to sign up, follow this link. If you do, it'll show that I referred you, and I'll get extra points for doing that!

And I can vouch from my own personal experience that Swagbucks is 100% not a scam. I was a little weary at first of whether it was legit or not. I've been using it for more than a year now, and have accumulated thousands of points which I've redeemed for more than $100-worth of gift cards.

(My assumption is that they earn money through advertising and rather than pocket all that money like the other search engine sites do, they pass some of that off to users in the form of Swagbucks and rewards. I'm not certain that's how it works, but that's my educated guess!) Plus, I don't receive any spam from them; the only emails they ever send are to let me know when one of my prizes is available.

The kinds of prizes you can get
Prizes run the gamut and it seems like they're continually expanding options. Most of the rewards I've chosen have been for Amazon.com gift certificates, however you can also choose from gift certificates to Starbucks, Target, iTunes, Macy's, Restaurant.com, Red Envelope, as well as PayPal Cash.

They also offer products as prizes, including perfumes, magazine subscriptions (including Woman's Day, Shape or Paste), DVDs, reusable water bottles, video games, school supplies, and even electronics like a turntable or flat panel tv (although, as you might guess, those last ones cost a lot more points!). 

Do keep in mind is that when you redeem your Swagbucks for a prize, it will take about a week to fulfill your request, but that hasn't been too much of a problem for me. I normally just make sure to redeem them as soon as they add up in my account so that they're ready whenever I have the whim to do some online shopping.

Try Swagbucks for yourself
Type in a search in the box below, and see how easy it is for yourself:

My experience using Swagbucks
I originally found out about Swagbucks from a coworker in April 2009. Since then, I've cashed in more than $100-worth of rewards.

Looking back at my rewards history, it seems pretty consistent that I've earned enough points every month to cash in for at least one $5 Amazon gift card. The $5 Amazon card is worth 450 points. I tend to get between 8 and 13 points for my searches, although not every search will result in points. And recently I got 47 points for a single search! It's usually random, but if I do a few in a row, one of them is bound to add points to my account. And make sure you definitely search on Fridays, because every Friday is Mega Swagbucks Day where they award extra points.

Plus (and most importantly), I haven't noticed any difference in the "answers" I get from my searches. Since Swagbucks is an aggregate of Google.com and Ask.com, the search results remain pretty spot on. You can also limit your search to images and news items, which I love!

Making the most of Swagbucks
One of the best things I did to make sure I am earning as many Swagbucks as possible, is that I changed my internet settings and set my search toolbar to automatically direct any searches through Swagbucks. (Usually in your internet browser window/toolbar, there should be a place where you can change your options. When you go in there, you can type in the address of the search engine you want your browser to use automatically. Add Swagbucks.com, and then you can search without having to open a new window for every search.)

Swagbucks has been expanding a great deal since I joined over a year ago, adding a variety of ways to earn additional points beyond just your regular browsing. You can download their toolbar, answer surveys and polls, shop through the Swagbucks site, as well as earn points for trading in old electronics. 

I haven't really done any of those extras; just the normal everyday search engine usage and I've still done quite well! It's been a nice way to pay for some of our little extras; I know some people who save up all their Swagbucks points and redeem them at Christmas so that they don't have to spend any money out-of-pocket on presents. I just don't have that kind of patience :)

How to sign up for Swagbucks
If you want to sign up, please follow this link. If you do, it'll show that I referred you, and I'll get extra points for doing that!


  1. very informative, thanks
    i never understood it till now :)

  2. No problem! My coworkers used it so that's how I found out about it, otherwise I'm not sure I would have ever given it a try. Let me know if you decide to give it a try!

  3. i love swagbucks :)


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