Get free gift cards from Swagbucks
The popular online program lets you earn Amazon cards, PayPal cash and other rewards.
The cards also helped me pay for Christmas presents (read "Christmas for less than $100") and for things like flax seed, quinoa and vitamins. It's great when your get-healthy New Year's resolution costs nothing out of pocket. (Post continues after video.)
I think Swagbucks is the best rewards program out there. Here's why:
- You can earn seven to 59 points at a time just by using its search engine. There's never been a day when I didn't win at least twice; usually I win three to five times daily.
- Survey opportunities (some as short as 10 minutes) appear throughout the day. Generally they're worth between 50 and 150 points. Recently a survey paid 10,000.
- Everyone qualifies for the one-question daily poll.
- You can earn points by watching movie trailers on your smartphone or by viewing short videos (generally 30 seconds to three minutes).
- You can also earn by buying stuff (which I don't) and through the usual mix of "special offers," such as Netflix memberships.
- An hourly random drawing awards 4,000 points.
- "Swag Code" clues, good for extra points are released almost every day, sometimes two or three times per day.
Sound complicated? It isn't. I'm probably one of the least-savvy Swagbucks users out there, yet I earn points steadily. Sometimes I've gotten 100 or more per day just through the search engine.
Although you can cash in for physical prizes, gift cards are "our most popular item," according to spokesman Scott Dudelson. Cards are available for restaurants and retailers as well as for Amazon.com and PayPal.
A $5 Amazon card costs 450 points; a $5 PayPal one is 700. Points add up quickly, though, especially if you get bonuses for referring new users. For specifics, visit the site's FAQ section.
How much you earn depends on how much time you want to spend. On the Facebook page, many “Swaggernauts” post daily earnings in the hundreds or thousands.
I'm nowhere near that productive. But I'm persistent, and I've had some referrals, so every month I add up to an additional $25 worth of Amazon scrip to my account. Christmas will be here before you know it. I might also want to buy more socks.
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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Summer visits to amusement parks and the like can be costly, but with some preparation and research, you can may be able to do it for less than you think.