How I used Swagbucks to pay for our Disney family vacation.
Yes you read correctly — I am taking my family of three to Disney for virtually nothing.
From October 6th 2017 when I joined Swagbucks until now (mid January 2018), I have made over $1000. Yup -- One. Thousand. Flipping. Dollars.
First I would like to point out that none of this would have been possible without two fabulous Disney Facebook groups: Swagging Your Way to Disney and Ways to Save for Disney. The women & men in these groups are so very helpful and kind.
There are other groups you can join on Facebook but be careful -- some of them are run by women who have strict rules (like not sharing other Disney groups within their group) and try to sell you a book they wrote for a whopping $98. It was available for purchase on Amazon, but has since been removed. You will find everything you need for Disney planning & money saving in the two groups I mentioned above.
Ok, so let's get down to the nitty gritty. There are two sites you will want to join. The first is Retail Me Not. Not only do they have a lot of coupons you can use on everyday purchases, but they also have cashback offers (more on this later). Basically if you make a purchase for a certain dollar amount at specific stores, they give you cash back via PayPal. If you don't have a PayPal account, you will also want to sign up for one.
The second website you will want to join is Swagbucks. They have multiple ways you can earn extra cash. Like Retail Me Not, they offer cashback on items for online shopping. They also offer cash back for making purchases through their Discover offers (more on this below), taking surveys, participating in promotions they have, and watching videos. Let's dive in & I will try to keep this as simple as possible.
1. Discover Offers through Swagbucks:
Discover offers are quick ways to make big chunks of cash. Discover offers require you to “spend” money in order to make money BUT don’t panic just yet! You will not have to dive into your savings account to do so.
Have a dog or want to donate toys to an animal shelter? Start with BarkBox. When I did this offer, I used a referral code for a free box and received 2,000 Swagbucks (or $20) in return. BarkBox is a monthly subscription but you can cancel after you receive your first box if you are not satisfied with the products. (Note: BarkBox has this cool thing where if people signup with your BarkBox referral code you get a FREE BarkBox! We are now getting 8 months of BarkBoxes for free because of this!) Barkbox pends for 30 days but I seem to remember my Swagbucks crediting within a few weeks.
So just like that you have spent $0 and made $20. You can either cash that money out for gift cards or transfer it directly to your PayPal account. If you don’t want to use money out of your everyday bank account for future purchases with Swagbucks, I suggest transferring it to PayPal. You can then use your money you earn from Swagbucks towards other offers.
Next example: GameFly had a deal where if you rented a game for $15, you got $30 back in Swagbucks (again, GameFly is a monthly subscription so make sure you cancel after the first month if you are not satisfied with your purchase). So if you used your money from your PayPal account, this is what your earnings would look like:
Bark box SwagBucks: +$20
GameFly Purchase: -$15
GameFly SwagBucks: +$30
Total Earnings: $35
Personally, I never completed a Swagbucks offer unless I had every intention of keeping the subscription if I like the products I was purchasing. Example: offers from Lola Tampons, Home Chef, Dollar Shave Club, Bark Box, Gamefly, etc are all offers that we ended up keeping a subscription to. I would normally buy these products on a weekly or monthly basis with or without Swagbucks, so I completed these offers.
I will make a separate blog post showing all the offers I’ve completed and what I’ve earned vs what I spent on them.
2. Surveys through Swagbucks
Ok so surveys can be the most rewarding and yet the most frustrating part of Swagbucks. To put it bluntly — you WILL not qualify for about 85% of the surveys that you take. But keep on keeping on!
Most surveys are worth 60-100 Swagbucks once completed. This may seem small, but trust me the points add up quickly. If you’re lucky enough, one of these pesky surveys will turn into a group study or an In Home Trial.
I qualified for a group study on hybrid vehicles. It was super easy, took me about 20 min a day to complete over a 5 day period. Oh yeah — and I made $170 worth of Swagbucks off of it! Jackpot!
Other people I know have qualified for In Home trials for things like coffee makers and dry shampoo. Payouts range anywhere from $5 to upwards of $500 depending on how much time you need to put into it. (I got paid $3 to eat pistachios that were shipped to my house and then take a survey on if they helped my hunger. Not even joking.)
3. Cashback for shopping via Swagbucks and Retail Me Not:
If you log into your Swagbucks account they will list stores that offer cashback for shopping with them. A fun trick is if you need something now and can’t wait for it to be shipped to you, you can order items for “in store pickup” and still get credit for these items. Winning!
Need toilet paper? Baby diapers? Formula? Shampoo? Order it though Target or Walmart for in store or same day pickup (or have it shipped to your home with free 2 day shipping from Walmart) and get anywhere from 2% - 3% cash back via Swagbucks.
Also make sure to check out Retail Me Not and see if there are any offers you can stack with your Swagbucks. We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen and needed cabinets for our new kitchen island. I ordered them through Lowe’s for in store pickup. I got 3% cash back through Swagbucks PLUS since we ordered over $150 worth of items, Retail Me Not gave us $35 cash back via PayPal which all went directly to our Disney fund.
4. Swagbucks Promos & More
Swagbucks has a game monthly (sometimes weekly) called Swago. It's kind of like bingo, but the only way to fill in your squares is to complete the tasks listed. Doing so earns you Swagbucks for completing the whole board.
Some Swago boards also have "Spin & Win" wheels (kind of like Wheel of Fortune). Once you complete a task on your Swago board, you will be awarded a certain number of spins. The wheel has everything from winning 1 Swag buck, earning double points on your next survey, or earning entries in their sweepstakes.
Swagbucks also releases Swagcodes throughout the day via various social media sites. You can enter them through the Swagbucks site and earn Swagbucks this way.
5. Earn Swagbucks by watching videos
This is another task that will seem like a giant pain in the butt. Again -- points add up quickly! I watch the videos while I'm cooking dinner. It's just an easy way to earn some extra points.
6. Flying to Disney? Get a JetBlue Plus MasterCard.
We pay for EVERYTHING with our JetBlue Plus card.
Regularly monthly bills? Credit card. Down payment on a vehicle? Credit card. Christmas shopping? Credit card.
JetBlue Plus offers 1x points back for everyday purchases, 2x points on dining out, and 6x the points back on JetBlue flights booked with their credit card. Also, if you spend $1000 in the first 3 months you get 30,000 miles which is more than enough for a round trip ticket from Boston to Orlando. With the plus card you also earn 5,000 bonus miles annually on your cards approval anniversary date.
Just by paying for everyday items with our JetBlue Plus card, we earned enough sky miles for 3 round trip tickets.
I should also mention that if you have a JetBlue plus card, you get up to 1 checked bags free per person on your flights. At $25 a bag, this helps out a lot. 4 Bags each way will cost you $200. That's a good chunk of your money that could be spent on food or souvenirs gone!
So here’s the breakdown of our trip costs:
Airfare: $997 — free with sky miles
Disney Tickets for 2 days: $425 — Swagbucks
Rental Car for 6 days: $135 — Swagbucks
Condo through Time Share: About $400 — Swagbucks
Cinderella’s Royal Table (dinner in Cinderella’s Castle.) — $169 (Swagbucks)
Be Our Guest (Breakfast at the Beasts castle) $50 — Swagbucks
So there’s the general breakdown. I still have 4 months to save so I’m confident I will make enough to pay for our other meals, souvenirs, and other activities we plan on doing in Florida.
Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Happy saving!
*Disclaimer - rules and stipulations for all offers completed through Swagbucks & Retail Me Not can change at any time. Please review terms and conditions carefully before completing offers and signing up. Never complete an offer or sign up for a subscription that you have 0 intentions of keeping. That will get you banned! This was not a paid or sponsored post by any of the companies listed above.