Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I will never forget when I learned about TINSTAFL with my sister and our friend Julie in our Economics class at Lee University. Our professor, a hilarious young Hispanic man, always used to make us laugh by telling us his stories from when he was in college. He taught us the economic principle of "TINSTAFL": There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch." Basically, the princple states that even "free things" have some sort of catch or strings attached. Most of us generally have that understanding even if we do not know the specific name for this economic principle.

In case you didn't know, however, I'm all about free stuff, especially when it doesn't require a whole lot of effort on my part! So when I heard about Swagbucks, where you get points, called Swagbucks, that you can turn into prizes just for searching the internet and other things I already do, to say I was really excited is an understatement. But part of me hesitated, with my understanding of TINSTAFL, I wondered what the catch was. As I read about it on blog after blog, I thought there was a gimmick somewhere. But these people were winning gift cards, and video games, and birthday and christmas presents for their families. I decided I'd give it a try, and see how long it took to find the "catch".

I am pleased to report 17 months later, I've yet to find it! I've not had to buy any thing, I don't have to give out any personal information (unless I choose to) and my family has benefited from it tremendously!
Search & Win

The prizes are awesome, like gift cards to Amazon, Target, Southwest, Starbucks, etc. But you can actually get actual items too! They have clothes, jewelry, video games, school supplies, etc. The best thing is that points, aka "Swagbucks" (or SB's from now on) add up quickly and it doesn't take thousands just to get stuff. A $5 Amazon gift card "costs" 450 SBs and $5 Paypal cash "costs" 700 SBs! I used to use a lot of my points for Amazon gift cards to buy diapers, but lately, something else has caught my eye and the SB-hoarder come out!

The Keurig single serve coffee maker is one of those luxuries that I would just melt to have. My mom got a similar one and every time I went over there, I'd come home with my mind set on finding a way to budget it in. My frugal, practical side, however says, "You have a coffee maker that works just fine and you didn't have to pay a penny for it." Usually it ends there. Then my sister got one and when we went to Florida for Christmas, again, my "must have it now" fleshly impulse ALMOST took over. Fortunately, the bank account said "NO!" for me when I was weak and wanted to say yes!! When I saw it as a prize on Swagbucks, I was sooooo excited because it was a way for me to get something that I really wanted but not take away from our families' budget to get it! It is also a lesson I am teaching my kids about denying myself instant gratification and practicing patience and self-control while I "save" up for it.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Swagbucks:

1.) How does it work?

Swagbucks is basically a search engine like google or ask, only you get rewarded for doing what you normally do! Swagbucks for searching the internet are usually between 5 and 12 Swagbucks. You aren't awarded everytime you search though, they are awarded randomly. Once you earn SBs, they can then be collected and "cashed in" for rewards!

2.) Does it really work?

ABSOLUTELY! I've gotten $50 in Paypal deposited into my account as well as $75 in Amazon gift cards in 514 days that I've been a swagernaut! I've purchased diapers, books, (Side note: In the beginning, I didn't do as much as I do now daily, and there are also a LOT more opportunities to earn SBs so earning is much easier now than when I joined!) I've also introduced a LOT of my friends and family to swagbucks who've gotten gift cards and other prizes from this awesome site! And the neat thing is when you refer your friends, you'll earn referal SB's when they earn search SB's! You can earn up to 1,000 SB's from each referal!!

3) How do I earn SB's?

There are all sorts of ways that you earn points, as I mentioned earlier. You can participate in polls, quizzes, trade-in items, watch videos, etc. All of these points add up quickly and are easy to do! I will be doing a tutorial soon, so check back later today for the post!

4.) Is there a limit?

Internet searches are usually awarded several times a day, although I've read that if you delete your cookies they can be awarded more than that. I'm not technical like that, so I don't know if this is true, but it doesn't hurt to try! There are limits for how many times you can get credit for the daily poll, the Swagbucks TV, and some others as well.

As far as prizes are concerned, you can get a maximum of 2 rewards per day and a total of 5 per individual item per month. So for example, you can purchase 2 amazon $5 gift cards today, 2 $5 amazon gift cards tomorrow and 1 more Amazon $5 gift card in the month of April. You could buy (5) $5 gift cards, (5) $25 gift cards, as they are two different types of rewards. You can buy a maximum of 62 items on a 31-day month, per their policy.

5) How do I sign up?

It is really easy to do! Just fill out this form and you're ready to go! You can even opt to register by connecting via your favorite social media outlet!

Remember to check back for the Getting Started With Swagbucks Tutorial!

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