How to Recover from Holiday Spending Using Your Phone


Did you find yourself spending a little more than you had anticipated over the Holidays?It’s easy to do, especially when you want to give all your friends and family the perfect gifts. Well today I have an easy way for you to recover from your holiday spending from the convenience of your mobile phone.

Swagbucks is the web’s most popular rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online. My regular readers will know about this, since I write about them often as they are my main online earning opportunity. I am certain that there are still plenty of you reading this who haven’t yet taken the plunge and signed up!

Whenever you shop, watch videos or search the web, Swagbucks gives you points called SB. You can use your SB to redeem gift cards to hundreds of your favorite stores. With the Swagbucks mobile site, answer and SBTV apps I can use my spare minutes to earn free gift cards on my phone! I leave the apps below running when I’m home and on Wi-Fi. So my phone is earning, whilst I get on with my life! Like the Swagbucks website; I can also rack up SB by shopping, answering surveys and downloading free apps.

Here are some quick tips to get your started:

  • While you wait for the coffee to brew, download free games and other apps through the Discover tab: 20 SB
  • During commercial breaks, take a featured survey or fill out your survey profile: 60-100 SB, and sometimes more!
  • While standing in line at the supermarket, answer the daily poll: 1 SB
  • When you’ve finally made it to the gym, watch style, tech and celeb news through the SBTV app: 2 SB for every 10 videos
  • Just as you’ve put dinner in the oven, your Swagbucks app tells you there’s a new Swag Code!: 3 SB
  • Before you go to sleep, use the Swagbucks app to shop from your favorite stores. You deserve it!: 100 SB

By downloading the Swagbucks mobile apps, I could earn a free £5 gift card by the end of my week. Who knew playing on your phone could be so productive?!    There are 6 apps:

  1. SBTV
  2. Sportly
  3. Lifestylz
  4. EntertaiNow
  5. MovieClips
  6. IndyMusic

So you can instantly start earning your way to free gift cards. It’s 100% free to download and easy to use. They are all available for both iPhone and Android devices. They often give out bonus rounds too, so there are extra earning opportunities. It really is a case of the little things soon add up.

Swagbucks- A ‘How To’ Guide

As many of my regular readers will know, I am talking about the ways I earn money on-line. These help me to pursue my Minimalist and Zero Waste ideals, allow me to work less and stay at home more and allow me to be more generous in my giving. Many of you have recently signed up to Swagbucks, following my endorsement of the site as one of the best ways to earn money on-line. I thought a ‘how to’ guide might be of use – I know it took me a while to get the hang of it.

Homepage tabs  – top to bottom on the left hand side

Shop: You can earn Swagbucks by shopping online with a wide variety of merchants. Click through to the site from Swagbucks to earn SB. I generally prefer to use the cashback sites I have previously mentioned, as I find the rates here poor. But they do have special offers from time to time. If you do choose to use Swagbucks, then make sure you clear your cookies and cache first, to try and ensure it tracks your purchase.

Watch: Earn points by watching Swagbucks TV, can watch videos from watch or via the SB toolbar (10 videos to fill the meter = 3SB). I find this fairly painful to do, as it doesn’t progress unless you sit with it open all the time. So I generally don’t bother – unless I’m really desperate!

Answer: Surveys, Daily Poll, Tasks
Gold Surveys: Answer surveys to earn points from various sources, including GlobalTestMarket, ResearchNow and Toluna. Points/length vary, usually you will get 1SB per survey disqualification (up to 5SB/day), unless it is starred to indicate no payout (usually when it goes through another router). These are your best bet to meet your target quickly and easily, so make sure to fill out your survey profiles for which you will also get awarded 2 SB per 10 questions. This is quick and easy to do. Sometimes you will get screened out for a variety of reasons, including; disqualification because you do not meet the criteria (usually established within a few questions), disqualification because you made an error (sometimes progressing too quickly, writing nonsense answers or making another validation error) or because the survey has met its required number of participants.

I recommend you take a screenshot of the completion page for every survey you complete, in case you are not credited and need to raise a support request to be credited later. This does not happen often, but it usually ensure you are credited for you time.

Peanut Labs Surveys (sometimes referred to as PL) are usually lower paying, so look here second. But they are useful on slower days and are sometimes really short & easy to complete. They will also give you up to 5SB per day in disqualification credits (useful on a slow day!)
Daily Poll: 1 question, 1SB per day (also appears on the homepage menu)
Tasks: Requires signup to Crowdflower. I’ve never believed tasks to be worthwhile and I feel they pay an absolute pittance. There are better and more reliable ways to earn. But if you’re used to crowd-sourcing sites, then you might like to give it a go.

Discover: Usually not worth bothering with, many of the offers won’t pay out or will require payment of some kind. Almost always they require either an email address or a phone number which will then get spammed constantly. My advice is to sign up for a separate email account or phone number to use for these sign-up offers. You can also download and install iOS/Android apps onto your phone for SB. These must be brand new apps that you have never downloaded before. I do these from time-to-time, but often they don’t credit. But they can be an easy way to get fast SB, or a total pain if you have to chase it up with the offer wall!

Search: Random amounts of Swagbucks are won from random searches, up to 3 wins a day, sometimes you might be lucky & get 4 wins. But these days I only get 1 win per day and some users report even less. Still worthwhile doing your searches here for the SB, although they use Yahoo which isn’t a patch on Google! I always use the search bar at the top of the homepage to do my searches. You will almost always need to input a captcha to claim your search win SB.

Play: Earn points by playing games for free, 2SB usually awarded for every 2 games completed, up to a max of 10SB a day. I alternate between Swag Jump and Swagasaurus run as these are the fastest. You need to wait 30 seconds between each game, to try and ensure credit but they don’t credit reliably for me and I have to go out and come back in to it later. You don’t need a specific score, so click to play and allow the dinosaur to fall off the cliff or the man to fall.

Rewards: Rewards Store, Swagstakes
– Rewards Store: Link to the Swagbucks store where you can redeem your swagbucks balance against e-giftcards such as Paypal, Amazon, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, etc
– Swagstakes: Use your swagbucks balance to buy tickets for draws to win prizes. This is gambling, so I don’t know why you’d bother to waste your hard earned Swagbucks here, but maybe it’s your thing?

To Do List

  1. Daily Poll (mentioned above) – 1sb/day
  2. Daily nCrave (watch 1 series of nCrave video, takes about 1 1/2 mins)
  3. Daily Search (mentioned above, make 1 winning search win)
  4. Daily Watch (Earn SB on your phone)
  5. Daily Discover (Use one of the offer walls successfully, look for a 1 SB video or download an app if you can). But this is the one I generally don’t achieve most days).
  6. Daily Answer (Complete 1 survey)
  7. Deal of the Day (Click through to be taken to a shop & earn page, you don’t need to make a purchase).

If you complete 6 out of 7 on this list, you will be awarded a random SB bonus (usually only 1 SB, but sometimes more).

Quick Links
— SwagButton: Browser extension that will alert you about swag codes, some swag codes are only valid when submitted via the SwagButton (not the Swag Code box at the top of the homepage). I personally don’t use this as I had a bad experience with a previous version crashing my computer and it was full of spyware and malware. Use at your own risk!
— Mobile Apps: There are 6 apps (see below for more info), can get 60sb/day minimum (more if bonus offers appear). These are the main way I get to my daily target as they can usually be left to run unattended and on silent.

Homepage Top Nav – left to right at the top of the homepage

Search: Can search the web (for possible SB wins) or shop (to see current offers)

Swag Code: If there is a current swag code, can enter it here (see above re: some codes only being valid via the SwagButton). Codes are generally valid for 1 hour when posted and copying and pasting is the quickest way to redeem them. Some are only valid for a specific country. There is a thread dedicated to Swag Codes here: so you can subscribe to get e-mail alerts instantly. I highly recommend you use this!

Daily Goal: You can enter more SBs by meeting your first or second daily goal (see below for more info)

Refer & Earn: Gives you forms/links to use for referrals

Inbox: Swagbucks may sometimes send you offers to your Swagbucks inbox found here, this can occasionally include survey opportunities and extra videos. Most of the time I find these hugely irrelevant and annoying, so I just trash them immediately. Unfortunately you cannot opt out currently.

[XXX SB]: This is your current Swagbucks balance

[SB Icon/Your Avatar]:Drop down menu
– My SB: Swagbucks ledger of points received over the full history, can be filtered by earning types and date, and record of collectors bills received (see below)
– Redeem SB: link to Swagbucks store
– My Shop & Earn: record of shop & earn qualifying orders
– My Swag Ups: list of earned swag ups (can be instant rebates when redeeming SB, or be linked to SB shop purchases)
– My Gift Cards: Your received gift cards
– Order Status: Record of all giftcard orders
– My Referrals: record of your referrals and how much they have earned for you.
– My Swagstakes: Record of Swagstakes entries
– My Settings: including survey profiles

Daily Goal (Bonus Targets)
Swagbucks have individual daily targets for users, your target is shown at the top left of your homepage with a meter showing your progress. By hitting the target they have set you you will earn yourself a bonus for that day [daily meter bonus] (generally 10% of the target, so 100SB target = 10SB bonus).

You will have 2 targets each day (1st = blue and 2nd = red), if you meet the 2nd target you get that amount of SB, not the total of 1st/2nd targets (e.g. 1st target 70SB for 7SB bonus, 2nd target 90SB for 9SB bonus; if you earn 72SB you will get 7SB bonus, if you earn 90SB you will get 9SB bonus). You can earn larger additional bonuses when you consistently meet your daily targets in a ‘winning streak’, winning streaks are recorded by meeting your 1st/blue daily target only and run by the calendar month. You can see which winning streak you’ve achieved by clicking “Show My Winning Streaks”). A day can only count in 1 winning streak and it is the maximum number of days you get in a row, ie 15 days in a row in 1 month you would get paid 1 bonus for 14 days only plus the daily bonuses for all 15 days, you can get separate winning streaks though ie 2 runs of 7 day streaks that were separate in that month.
Winning Streak Bonuses (meter super bonus)
– 7 Straight Days: 25 SB + Daily Bonuses
– 14 Straight Days: 100 SB + Daily Bonuses
– 21 Straight Days: 200 SB + Daily Bonuses
– Full month: 300 SB + Daily Bonuses

I highly recommend you try to meet your full month target, as it adds a nice top-up each month for free! It is doable, I meet it everyday.

You can see your history of daily targets if you click the calendar icon in the top right next to today’s date, from there you can click on any day and it will display what your targets were and how many SB you earned that day.

Bonuses are paid once a month by the 5th of the following month (e.g. Dec bonuses paid 5th Jan), they are not paid daily. They are paid as 2 amounts 1 for the Daily Meter Bonuses and 1 for the Super Meter Bonuses (winning streaks). You have to opt-in to collect your bonus. Your Daily Meter dropdown will have a large badge telling you to check your bonus, if you click on that it will display the bonus you’ve earned. You have to click Claim Bonus to get your bonus amounts. You generally have 2 weeks to do this once the bonuses have been calculated at the start of the month.

Can be found on the Watch page, but does not appear all the time/for everyone. Usually the offerings are links that you can click on (need to stay on the pages for a set amount of time for it to credit), or pages with content/videos (sometimes these can auto-update if there’s a Discover toggle in the top left, you need to stay on the page for it to progress). Generally it’s 2-3SB per page and this can be repeated many times, so a good earner when it’s available. I usually only do 1 or 2 of these a day, as I think they’re a slow and painful way to earn!

Instant Surveys
These appear on the homepage in the Answer section. They will always be the first card displayed (immediately to the right of Answer) – they are green and say “Instant”. They usually go quite quickly (sometimes in a couple of minutes). Generally they’re only 1-2 questions and are worth anywhere from 4sb to 20+ sb. Well worth doing!

Mobile Apps (Available on iOS and Android)

All award 2SB for watching videos (15 videos for 2SB on all except SB TV which is 5 videos for 2SB). You can earn 10SB per app, plus any bonus rounds. Bonus rounds are awarded once you’ve reached your 10SB. It will say you’ve reached your earning limit but you’ve qualified for a bonus round and tell you to watch X videos for 2SB more. These can repeat so if you’re willing to let it sit for a long time you can earn quite a bit extra. Bonus rounds are random, so don’t count on them. Do SBTV first, as it’s quicker to pay out if you need the SB.

SB Blog (
Top right: Hourly Random Winner: If your picture/username comes up here you can claim 1000SB, check regularly while you are online.

Homepage cards
The majority of the homepage under the search box is made up of ‘cards’ these are links to various earning opportunities.

Other Useful Info
The Swagbucks day starts and ends at 8am our time in the UK (except when UK/US daylight savings times are offset, then it’s 7am). Their Facebook pages are a good source of info, though tends to be relating to offers in US rather than here (Swagbucks and Swagbucks UK).
Collectors Bills
Sometimes Swagbucks release limited edition collections of ‘swagbills’ of various denominations on a theme which you can earn on searches randomly (as you normally would get a search win). If you collect them all during a specified time limit, you earn a bonus (usually 25SB  which does not count towards your daily target).

Sometimes Swagbucks run ‘team challenges’, you can join one of the teams to contribute points to that team by going about your normal daily earning, the members of the winning team get a bonus (usually 25SB does not count towards your daily target).

Pay outs take between  1-10 days to receive once requested (they send an email once it is fulfilled), occasionally it takes longer! It is up to you when you cash out, but I personally cash out at the lowest amount I am prepared to lose (often £10, sometimes £25). Swagbucks has been around for years, but sometimes these internet earning sites do go down without warning. You will be asked to verify your order – this is via the verify link which will ask you one of your security questions OR by email. I use security questions. At some point, often when placing your first order, you will be asked to verify your account. This only needs to be done once. The option to do this via mobile phone does not work for UK users, so will have to be done via postcard sent to the address in your profile. Postcards take around 7 to 10 days to arrive and will contain a PIN number for you to enter.

I hope that helps you to get started and isn’t completely overwhelming. There is a great thread about Swagbucks on the MoneySavingExpert Forums which you really should read. I would like to acknowledge their thread as my source for this post. Please ask here if you have any questions too. Happy Swagging!

Money-Saving Shopping Apps

It’s hard to decide what to tell you about next, but I’ve plumped for money-saving shopping apps. There are several out there and they really do help to cut your bill. I don’t use them all the time because I don’t tend to buy branded goods much of the time and I also try to support smaller, independent businesses for much of my shopping. However, as Zero Waste is a burgeoning concept in the UK and our shopping landscape is dominated by the supermarkets- I imagine these are going to be useful to a lot of people.

I think my favourite is Checkoutsmart, this is because they have a lot of completely free products on their weekly offers. Who doesn’t love trying something for free?! Take this week, for example, they have £179 worth of offers on their app. All you have to do is buy the product and upload your receipt. You get reimbursed with these apps into your bank account or Paypal account. My top tips are to make sure you’re buying the right product (check the variety and size carefully), in the right supermarkets (some offers are store specific) and take a legible photo of your receipt (don’t screw it up and then try to flatten it out!) Some apps have a minimum payment amount, or an amount above which you don’t have to pay a fee and others reimburse you after every purchase.

I’m not sure how it works, but I think Checkoutsmart must also own ClickSnap because you can’t redeem offers on both apps (I’ve tried!) ClickSnap is run by Quidco, a cashback site that I’ve been using for a while (more on that opportunity later). If you care to sign up to Quidco using my referral link we’ll both get £1.25 bonus.

Shopitize is another one of these apps, they sometimes have free products and lots of money off offers.

A new one that I’ve just discovered is Shopinium- They don’t have a website, just the app. They run on the same format and if you sign up using my referral code KYMYYHHW, you’ll get a free bar of Green and Black’s chocolate. I’ll also get a small amount as a thank you for you using my link.

There is also one called ShopScanSave but I found it awkward to use (you were supposed to show your barcode to the till operator) and it now isn’t displaying any offers, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it is no longer active. However, you might like to try it in your area.

I hope these apps allow you to save some money off your weekly shopping and enjoy some new products too. Thanks for reading!