Earning money online as a student is one of the most controversial topic I ever explored. Is it possible? The short answer is yes, and in this post I will talk about a great student side hustle I used for that: Swagbucks. I will explain what it is, how I used it to earn money online, how much I made and what you need to do to get there too.
If you want to skip the all background part, then you can go straight to the section below “How to earn money online on Swagbucks”. I would not suggest doing so, but it’s entirely up to you.
Why is this topic is controversial? I’ll tell you why, it’s got to extreme opposite sides. On one, you will find plenty of people saying it’s not worth it, or everything is a scam. On the other, you will find people that say they got rich earning money online as students .
Where is the truth? As usual, it lies in the middle. Whether it is worth it or not, it utterly depends on your financial situation. In my case, I was able to make £900 during my first year using Swagbucks ( £907.32 to be precise), around £75 per month, and even more in the following years.
Using Swagbucks as a side hustle
If that amount is something that won’t make a difference in your situation, then it is not worth the effort. It did take quite few hours a month to get there. However, the positive side is that I was doing it during my free time or in between study breaks, maximising my efficiency online.
This will all make sense later as I will explain how to earn money online with Swagbucks simply by playing games and completing surveys. One thing I want to mention though, is that I obviously did not rely on just that and I had a part-time job. I always considered it as an extra side hustle as a student and you should too.
You can earn even more overtime (as I’m doing now) with consistency and some tips I will give you later in the post. However, if you are looking for get rich quick schemes or high earnings with no effort, then I would suggest to stop reading my blog and go somewhere else.
I’m telling you this because, unsurprisingly, I came across many “gurus” claiming they became rich online. Be aware of false (high) expectations because they can really mess up with your mind! I also mentioned this in my previous article on “how I changed my diet to study more effectively” if you want to have a read through.
What is Swagbucks, a great side hustle
In simple words, Swagbucks is a GPT (get paid to) website where you can earn rewards for completing certain activities such as: watching videos; playing online games; downloading apps; completing surveys; surfing the web; discover offers; buying online (cashback style); and more.
Each of these activities rewards you with Swagbucks points (SBs), that you can then redeem for cash or gift cards from famous brands. Just to give you an idea, 100 SBs are equivalent to $1 (it’s in dollars but you can do the maths according to the current exchange rate).
And yes, it obviously works in the UK (I’ve been using it for years) and it is a legit company. You can find thousands of reviews and ratings on Trustpilot as well. I tried many websites to earn money online (I will talk about the best ones in another article), but this is surely among the best student side hustle available (obviously for non-students as well).
How to earn money online on Swagbucks
Remember what I said at the beginning? I made around £900 in my first year but I put some effort in it. However, I’m now earning more than and I’m putting less, much less, effort into it. How is that possible? Let’s say that I had a good mentor for this student side hustle, and I hope I can be the same for you with this article.
In fact, I did not know about it until, talking to another student about making some extra money online, he told me about Swagbucks. He was earning much more that what I am with less effort! Why is that? The power of the referral scheme…
Now bear with me because this is the key, even more than doing the actual activities. If you sign up to Swagbucks with my referral link, we both get 300 SBs bonus (a bit more than £2 depending on exchange rate). It sounds too good (at least it did to me at that time), so where is the catch?
There is a condition to meet; you must achieve 300SBs within your first 30 days for the bonus to be given. That’s what I did. He told me put some effort during my first 30 days to achieve 300SBs. It was easier than I thought to be honest, so I got 300SBs bonus on top of what I earned. Not bad to begin with! But it’s not over, here is the real deal.
The referral will also get 10% of all future SBs earnings (these are obviously not deducted from anyone). So basically, I entered his network and he now gets the equivalent of 10% of what I’m getting! The bigger (and active) your network, the more you get in passive income.
Create your network!
He told me: “as soon as you get the bonus and become familiar with it, start your own network”; “invite friends and family, university pals, social media contacts, obviously explain how this works to them and encourage to do the same”. That’s how I started and I’m now continuing with this post.
I would suggest you do the same! Put some effort during the first period, get the bonus and then start creating your own Swagbucks network! After that you can take it much more “relaxed”, do some activities now and then to keep the account active and you are sorted. Trust me, it’s a great student hustle that can provide some extra money!
Best activities and tips
Obviously, the easier way to earn more SBs is to do the highest paying activities. Once you sign up you will see all the activities I mentioned earlier as well as SBs they give out for completing them. However, there are some tips I can give you on the best ones to do;
Coupon offers (a must do!)
This is great and you can get 20 SBs per day in few seconds. All you need to do is to go to the coupons section where you will be able to see the available coupons; go to the bottom page and click on “clip all” and then print; you don’t actually need to print them but just save them as pdf; that’s it, the next day you will find the SBs on your account!
You can print/save a maximum of 60 coupons per day and you get rewarded 20 SBs just for doing that!! You don’t need to use them or do anything with them! This is great because sometimes you could find coupons you might actually need or want to use.
Therefore, you will get SBs for printing/saving and the actual coupon/discount for a product you want. Moreover, if that wasn’t enough, you can get 50 SBs for every coupon you actually redeem and use! I myself used some for personal hygiene products and got all that!
This is a great way for reaching your 300 SBs bonus very quickly! As a side note, some days you won’t have 60 coupons available to print/save ad you will need to wait until they restock; or print/save the whatever you have available for you.
I started my student side hustle journey by playing games during my study breaks, either at home or at uni. Most games require you to reach a certain level before they pay out SBs, but once you do some of them pay very well.. The best I played gave me 5000 SBs (50 dollars!!).
However, it took me a while to reach the level required (always read the disclaimer that tells you the deadline to achieve it). Moreover, I found it to be quite distractive for my studies as I was attracted by the high earnings and I wanted to play whenever I could.
Therefore, unless you are in a moment with lots of spare time, I would not suggest starting with those! I would also suggest to stay away from them if you are not able to manage the addiction; there are other ways to get SBs.
Now this is an interesting one as it can be very profitable, but also very upsetting. Let me tell you why. Some of the surveys I was able to complete paid very well. Usually these are the ones who require more time (even up to 1 hour) but reward you with thousands of SBs.
However, it is very easy to get “disqualified” from a survey even half way through it (which is very upsetting). I know two reasons for that: firstly, if your answers are ambiguous and contradict with each other; meaning you are answering as fast as you can without reading; you get disqualified from completing the survey.
Secondly, remember that behind these surveys there are real companies looking for feedback on their product and services. They target specific demographic and customer profiles. If, answering those questions, you do not fall into their target market you will be disqualified (annoyingly).
Some personal tips on those surveys. Once you are in the survey section, use the filter and select the estimated survey time from least to most; so you’ll have at the top all surveys that you can fill in quick. Moreover, some surveys will reward you regardless of disqualification… you know what to do with those.
Obviously I would also suggest to attempt the highest paying one, you might fall into the right demographic! Completing online surveys is a very common student side hustle, and there are many websites that do that specifically. Swagbucks is surely a good one, but I will talk about others as well in another post.
Shop online and earn
This basically is a cashback system. You can find offers from the most famous brands and retailers. Some shops I used include Argos, Ebay, Curry PC World, Marks and Spencers, Nike, Saynsburys, Boots and many more. Every retailer has a different cashback rate of return that you can see when selecting a deal.
Moreover, most of them come with a £10 initial bonus which is not bad at all. I particularly like the shop and earn section also for another reason: most offers reward you with SBs for every £1 spent, and that is on top of the cashback! Basically, it’s a double saving.
A useful tip I can give you after you register is to install the SwagButton, this is a no brainer! This feature will not only reward you with few SBs (currently 25); but it will notify you if the website you are visiting offers a cashback! Moreover, once you sign up you will be able to refer somebody and earn 100 SBs if they install it!
This is one of the highest paying categories. Discover offers are basically companies trying to promote their products and services, and they are willing to reward you a lot to try out their products. These offers could involve a single purchase and earn, a sign up service, or an install/download of an app (where most online games are).
I’ll give you an example, I got a discover offer for a platform that compares energy providers, tariffs and deals. I paid £7 to subscribe to their service for one year, and I got 30000 SBs rewards (around £22!). A clear earning there, but how is that possible?
As I said earlier, companies try to win customers at all costs over competitors. They have marketing and campaign budgets to win the initial customer base, and partnerships with platforms like Swagbucks are often used for that.
Don’t get too carried away though, not all discover offers pay like that but there are quite a few. Usually, the highest paying ones include apps/websites about financial services, telecoms deals, money saving, holydays, betting etc. What I would say though is to only get what you need (I actually used that service to switch to another energy provider to save on my bills), do not overwhelm yourself.
I would also suggest to set up an email address for these things only. This is for two reasons; firstly, it will be easier to remember what you have active and eventually when to unsubscribe to avoid the automatic renewal (I usually do that straight after signing up anyway).
Secondly, often these companies will send you quite a few emails promoting their products (you can easily turn that off though).
General tips on Swagbucks side hustle
There are other activities that you could explore; Swagbucks has a research tool bar on the top that will randomly reward you with few SBs when you search for things. Although we are talking about few cents a day, this is worth doing if you are already logged on and need to search for something.
Another tip is to ALWAYS read the disclaimer. This will explain to you how to qualify for the rewards; and how long they will take to appear in your account. Sometimes it can take a while, so don’t worry if you don’t see SBs in your account, the disclaimer will give all details.
Moreover, when you log on you can find on the top right of your screen a daily bonus section. That is a sort of “to do list” of activities that pays you an increasing number of SBs as you complete it; it also comes with a bigger bonus when you reach your daily goal!
Important tip here, sometimes gift cards are better than cash! Why? A lot of times they offer a discount on them; e.g. an £10 Amazon gift card with a 30% discount. Essentially, you can get a £10 gift card by using the equivalent of £7 SBs! Speaking about Amazon, I would really suggest you have a read through this other article I wrote; “The best student discount?”
Conclusions on Swagbucks as a student side hustle
Again, let me disclaim some obvious things here. This is not a job and I never considered it as such. I always treated it as a student side hustle. I should not even say student, as anybody can use it; as a matter of fact, I’m not a student anymore! I guess I call it that way because I started using it at that time.
In my opinion, Swagbucks is one of the best side hustles available, for students and non. It will obviously take some time to familiarise with it and make some money online. However, once you know how to move around, you will find out yourself.
All the tips I gave you will speed up the process, but remember the most important one: you got to create your network. It’s only by doing so that you can earn money online as passive income; otherwise you will be always forced to trade your time for it, and you can be sure that is well below the minimum wage!
I really hope you found this post helpful, thank you for reading.
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