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One of my favorite ways to maximize profits is with cash back, or rewards, sites. Since most of us are already shopping online, it’s like getting free money to do what we’d be doing anyway!

Swagbucks is one site that offers a variety of interesting perks. Not just the normal “cash back”.

The company launched in 2005 and offers cash back or gift cards for doing things like shopping, taking surveys, even watching videos. I’m not suggesting this as a way to try an earn an extra income, but all these things add up!

Of course, it’s free to join. And if you use my link to sign up for Swagbucks you will get an extra $5 upon confirming your email address!

Today we’re going to focus on the cash back aspect but will provide a brief overview of the other options as well.

How Swagbucks Works

Tips for Using Swagbucks to Get Cash Back Online

When doing your normal shopping online, you will just go to Swagbucks first. Then find the store where you are shopping. You will click through to that store from within the Swagbucks site, which then tracks your purchases and credits you for what you spent.

Unlike sites like Ebates that just use a straight cash back percentage, Swagbucks is a little different. It may even seem confusing at first, but once you’ve got it down, it’s no biggie!

The site issues “Swagbucks,” in which 1 Swagbuck (or SB) is equivalent to earning 1% cash back. At times you can earn up to 8 SB, or 8% cash back. Most sites offer the standard 1-3%. When you cash in your Swagbucks, they equal about $.01.

Cash back sites like these work because of something called affiliate marketing, in which the “affiliate” - in this case, Swagbucks - gets credit for sending people to a retailer’s website. Target or Amazon, for example, would pay Swagbucks a small portion of any purchase made when a shopper arrived at their site via Swagbucks.

In turn, Swagbucks passes along a cut to you.

At the time of this writing, hotels.com is offering 8 swagbucks for every dollar spent. So if you booked a room at $100/night, you’d get 800 swagbucks, or $8 back. Walmart is currently offering 7 SB per $1 spent, or 7% cash back.

The key is just using these cash back portals in combination with shopping at a site we’d probably already be spending money at! I never make a purchase just for swagbucks or other cash back. It’s just a bonus.

Once you have accumulated a decent amount of Swagbucks, it’s time to cash out. You can even link your PayPal account and have cash deposited directly into it. Or you can request gift cards to your favorite retailers, like Amazon.com

To cash out, you just head to the “Redeem SB” page and scroll through the options available. It’s a little like taking that fistful of tickets you collected at an arcade as a kid and then heading to the prize counter to find out what goodies you can redeem them for.

One of the sales currently on the Redeem SB page is a $10 Nike gift card for 880 Swagbucks, which can be earned in a hurry, especially if you combine sales and promotions (like earning 700 Swagbucks for spending $100 at Walmart during the 7% cash back special).

This is one of the things I really like about Swagbucks! You can get giftcards cheaper than just straight across for the cash back you’ve earned. In the example above, you are getting a $10 giftcard for $8.80 in points.

Ways To Maximize Your Cash Back Opportunities

One great way to ensure you’ll never miss out is to install the Swagbucks extension, or SwagButton. A little icon will sit on your browser bar and will notify you when to activate your SB cash back. This is a great reminder if you’ve headed directly to a website without going there through Swagbucks first. You can click the button and activate the cash back feature; just make sure you do so before checking out.

Another way to earn money is by printing coupons. You not only save by using the coupon, but you then earn 10 SB for every coupon you redeem!

There are coupons for brick and mortar stores as well as online coupons. You can even earn Swagbucks daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social.

Other Ways To Earn Swagbucks

There are a number of other interesting options to earn Swagbucks. While we focus on cash back because of the sourcing we do in our Amazon business, some of these might appeal to you and could provide a small amount of side cash and/or gift cards.

They include:

  • Using Swagbucks as your search engine. The search engine is powered by Yahoo.
  • Watching Videos. Earn a designated number of SB for watching videos. This is an interesting one, but the payout isn’t very much so don’t count on making a living watching cat videos all day!
  • Playing Games. As with watching videos, this is a rather low payout and is best thought of as a way to earn gift cards for playing video games you might play anyway and not as supplementary income.
  • Answering surveys. You can earn SB for filling out surveys.
  • Checking out company’s offers. Earn SB to check out offers from companies that have partnered with Swagbucks.
  • Watch videos and slideshows to earn SB.
  • Buy electronic gift cards through Swagbucks.

Now that you’ve seen some of the great ways you can earn cash by doing the shopping (and more) you are already doing. Are you ready to sign up for Swagbucks and get a $5 bonus? You can sign up right here!

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Are you using any other cash back sites that you love? What’s the biggest amount of swag bucks you’ve ever cashed in?