It’s been a few months and I thought that I would share my experiences with Swagbucks and Ebates, two great sites that help you earn money and rewards back for doing things you would normally do anyways. While I was a little skeptical at first, I must say that both of these websites have won me over and I’m now a regular visitor to the sites. Both of these websites are free and do not have any fees to participate. If you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider signing up through one of my referral links.
What is it?
Swagbucks is a search and win site. By using the downloadable Swagbucks Toolbar, the Swagbucks website, or the Swagbucks widget to perform your normal web searches (instead of Google or Bing, for example) you have the opportunity to win Swagbucks. Swagbucks can then be exchanged from prizes ranging from desktop backgrounds to gift cards to high end electronics such as an iPhone or digital camera. Other ways to earn Swagbucks include trading in video games, cell phones or mp3 players, viewing special offers and shopping through the Swagbucks site.
Does it pay off?
I joined Swagbucks in October 2009, but didn’t start actively using the site until about January of 2010. Since then, I’ve redeemed one $5 Amazon e-gift card and I almost have enough for two more. I think it would be fairly accurate to say that within a 2 month span, I’ve earned $15 in Amazon e-gift cards. You may be able to get a little more bang for your Swagbuck by exchanging them for different store e-gift certificates. For example, for fewer Swagbucks than it takes for the Amazon e-gift cards you can get a $25 restaurant.com e-gift certificate. Either way, they have a lot of options that pay off your searching. I earn anywhere from 10 to 50 Swagbucks a day depending on how much I search. That number jumps significantly if I’m diligently following their social media (see tips.)
Swagbucks offers lots of little things that you can do to help you earn Swagbucks. Not only will you earn Swagbucks when your referrals earn Swagbucks, but they also have many opportunities for you to earn Swagbucks daily, such as through using the Swagbucks Toolbar or by visiting their Special Offers page. I would also recommend following their blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account since Swagbuck codes are known to pop up on any or all of these sites.
The Swagbucks referral program allows you to earn up to 1000 Swagbucks per referral. I know that I came in through someone else’s referral program (I forget whose) and they have already earned the maximum number of referral bucks from me. I have three referrals and have earned enough for one $5 Amazon e-gift card. Swagbucks provides links and banner ads that you can use to help build your referral base.
How to Join:
If you are interested in joining Swagbucks, I hope you’ll sign up through my referral link.
What is it?
Ebates.com is essentially a shopping portal. Stop at Ebates.com first, then click through to your favorite store using their link and you will receive a specific percentage back on your purchase. They have 1,200 stores, including the big ones such as Macy’s, Gap and Sephora. After your purchase has been completed, your cash back goes into the “pending” bucket until the next payout period. You can then opt to receive your cash back via PayPal or check, or have the payment given to a charity or a friend.
Does it pay off?
I made my first purchase through ebates.com towards the end of November, 2009. Since then, I ALWAYS visit Ebates first to see if the store I want to shop at is listed. I also do a quick comparison with ShopDiscover to make sure I’m maximizing my cash back (you can read more about this in my ShopDiscover vs. Ebates post.) If Ebates comes out on top (which it frequently does) then I go ahead and make the purchase. What I really like about Ebates is that other than clicking through their site, there are no other restrictions on your purchase – you can use whatever credit card you like and you can use coupon codes if you have them, and you’ll still earn the full percentage back.
Here are my actual numbers for Ebates:
Money spent: $1715.62 (includes this year’s Christmas shopping)
Cash Back received: $21.37
Cash Back pending: $54.12
Average percentage back: 4.4%
Ebates frequently offers double cashback offers on certain stores. Keep your eye out for the current specials so you can maximize your money back. Also make sure to click through Ebates if you’re an Ebay shopper. You’ll get 2% back on all of your Ebay purchases.
Ebates does offer a referral program where you will earn $5 for every person who signs up through your referral. I believe this is a one-time referral bonus. They are also running a contest through March 31, 2010 where the person with the most referrals will win a trip to Hawaii!
How to Join:
If you are interested in shopping through Ebates, you can sign up through my referral link.
If you know of any other rewards programs or have experience with either one of these, I hope you’ll share with me.