Personally, I hate shopping in malls and big box stores especially when they are packed with Christmas-crazed customers. So whenever possible, I shop online for the things I don’t make, bake or
steal borrow. Just before I clicked on my Cart at amazon.ca, I wondered whether I could get a discount or kickback on my purchase. An internet hunt reminded me about a website called swagbucks.com. It offers rewards for activities including buying stuff. So I looked into the benefits of joining Swagbucks and how to do so.
Is Swagbucks Available to Canadians?
I vaguely remembered looking into this outfit once before and at that time I could not confirm whether it was available to Canadians shopping at Canadian online stores. This time after some clicking and skimming I discovered that it is. You join the same swagbucks.com site (not swagbucks.ca) and yet when you start shopping, you’ll be connected to the Canadian websites of multi-nationals such as Amazon and Walmart.
Rewards to Canadians are generally paid out in Canadian dollar gift cards that can be used at Canadian online retailers.
What’s the Scheme Behind Swagbucks?
From what I can see Swagbucks is just a large affiliate link website. If you click on their link to a store like amazon.ca Swagbucks will get a commission on anything you purchase. In return, Swagbucks will reward you using a part of that commission.
Is It Worth Joining Swagbucks? What Rewards Can I Get?
Realistically, don’t expect to get much. The most commonly earned reward is a $5 gift card for amazon.ca which you can buy using 500 Swagbucks.
Since most Swagbucks are earned at a 1:1 ratio (you get 1 Swagbuck for paying 1 real dollar to an affiliated company) you can see this isn’t a huge profit maker.
On the other hand, during this Christmas-shopping-season, some retailers like Amazon.ca and Walmart.ca were offering 4 Swagbucks for every $1 spent online. Since I had a few things I wanted to pick up from both of these retailers, it made sense for me to join and test the whole system out. (Note: I had already decided what I was going to buy long before I heard about Swagbucks. I didn’t buy anything extra just because of their offers.)
These may have been “Cyber Monday” offers because these same stores are only offering 2 for 1 points this week.
So I Only Get Swagbucks for Buying Stuff?
No. There are other ways to earn Swagbucks. A common way is by completing a very detailed survey for a miniscule number of Swagbucks.
dubious ways to earn small numbers of bucks:
- watching videos (I haven’t watched any, but I suspect ads are involved)
- playing online games (as above)
- using their search engine for your web searches (presumably they either display ads or are selling the resulting marketing information somewhere)
How Fast Do I Get My Reward Gift Cards from Swagbucks?
I hate to say that some people like to scam companies like Swagbucks, but some do. For example, some people would buy stuff online, rack up the Swagbucks, redeem them for gift cards, and then return the merchandise they never intended to keep. Swagbucks would then have to reimburse the merchants for the commission Swagbucks received on the sales, the same commission that was used to purchase the gift cards given to the fraudulent customer. Swagbucks would lose money.
To reduce their losses from this kind of behaviour, Swagbucks puts a hold on your points until they are pretty sure you’re going to pay for and keep your purchases.
I made purchases on November 24 and November 29 and they say the points I earned will be credited to my useable account on December 26 and December 31.
So it’s not fast. But hey it also doesn’t pay much so who cares?!
Does Swagbucks Work?
To be honest, I don’t know yet. I’ve earned some Swagbucks for joining and a few more for filling in my user profile. I made the purchases I wanted to make before I joined and now I have to wait. I’ll see if I can get my $5 gift card in January. I’ll need it more then anyway what with the Year of the Horse galloping into view.
I’ll let you know then.
Thanks to These Financial Writers for Sharing Their Opinions on Swagbucks
These are articles written by some other people who have tried Swagbucks that I read before giving it a buzz myself.
Krystal Yee at GiveMeBackMyFiveBucks described her experiences and the ton of free books she has received in her post “Swagbucks Earned”
Kali at Common Sense Millennial wrote an amusing (to me anyway) article about How I Got My Coworkers’ Christmas Gifts for Free which included using gift cards from Amazon that she earned through Swagbucks.
MochiMac at Save Spend Splurge keeps a running tally on her website and says she has redeemed $2000 using Swagbucks. That’s rather impressive and a tiny bit frightening.
Join Swagbucks: Make Me Richer (or Better Read) !
Ms. Yee admits she earned most of her Swagbucks through their referral program. Being a curious sort, I’ll add my Swagbucks referral to this post in case any of you want to help me earn free books, too. : )
To join Swagbucks, you need to give them an email address and a password. All the rest of the information seems to be optional from what I’ve seen so far. (Just click on the Skip button when filling in your profile if you don’t like the question.)
- Click on my link to get to the Swagbucks website (so I get free bucks!)
If the link doesn’t work, please cut and paste this into your browser:
- In the fine print below the Facebook stuff, click on the Join Today link.
- A new window opens.
- In the Email address field, type your email.
- In the Password field, type a difficult to hack but easy to remember password.
- In the Confirm Password field, type your password a second time.
- Click on the Free! Get Started button.
- Open the Inbox for your email address and find the welcome note from Swagbucks.
- Click on the link in the email to complete your account setup.
You’re ready to fill out your profile for a few Swagbucks. (Remember you can skip any question by clicking on the Skip link.)
You can also go shopping by clicking on the Shop tab at the top of the screen. Select a store from the list and click on it. You will earn Swagbucks on any applicable purchases.
Not all goods earn Swagbucks. For example, buying books from amazon.ca would not earn me any points when I tested it a few weeks ago.
You’re done. Revel in your opportunity to earn $5 back on $500 (or hopefully less) in purchases.
Good luck and thank you for giving me some Swagbucks.
(If I understand this correctly, get 1 Swagbuck for each Swagbuck you earn, up to a maximum for me of about 100 Swagbucks. Or maybe it’s only for bucks you earn doing some specific kind of task. Or maybe it’s 1000 Swagbucks. I could spend a great deal of time trying to find the current details but frankly it’s not worth it to me. Tell you what: Join. Earn lots in different ways. I’ll tell you what I get!)
Remember: only spend money you were spending before you ever heard of Swagbucks. Never spend time or money on something just to get points!
- How to Get Free Money and Discounts for Things like Opening an ING Direct Account or a BMO InvestorLine Account
- How to Join Great Canadian Rebates
Have you ever heard of Swagbucks? Do you use it? Does it seem really bizarre to you? Please air your views with a comment.