Tuesday, April 14

Road to rewards revenue: Xbox 360 here we come!

About three weeks ago, Tim's Xbox 360 died. To be more exact, it stopped showing any video -- which is, arguably, a large obstacle to enjoying video games.

First we tried to determine the problem. (I'll actually do a separate post about our troubleshooting and research because it's important to know how to try and fix things first.) When it became clear we could not fix it, we agreed to replace it.

Of course, given our financial situation we cannot afford to buy one. This weekend, I got a Keynote evaluation opportunity. If you've never heard of this, it's a cool little program. From time to time (maybe 1-4 times a year) you can try to qualify for a survey. It usually takes about half an hour. You check out a website and are asked to give reactions. If you complete it, you're rewarded with $10 in Amazon credit.

That made me realize how well our current rewards program efforts are going. Here's how I'm finding the three top programs I'm working on.

Swagbucks Success

I'm really loving Swagbucks. I signed up Mom and Tim. Each time they get a Swagbuck, I get one, too -- up to the first 100. Even without their help, I got over 100 in the first two months. A month later, I'm at 179.

The $20 Target cards are only 220 Swagbucks. We can also get $5 Amazon e-cards for 45 Swagbucks, which we'll use to buy Target cards on Amazon. Yes, I'm truly that Machievellian.

One thing I like about this program is that you can get rewards so quickly. There are plenty of things you can get for under 100 Swagbucks. And the variety of merchandise is pretty wide, if slightly eccentric.

I like it so much, in fact, that I got a special Swagcode for those of you interested in signing up. By using the code IPICKUPPENNIES, you'll start off with 5 Swagbucks instead of the normal 3. So just by signing up, you're 1/9 of the way to an Amazon gift card!

To get the points to accumulate fast, here are a few tips:

  1. Download the toolbar, which will remind you to do searches.
  2. Check the blog/Facebook page for extra codes.
  3. Use Twitter to enter for the daily 20-buck giveaway
  4. Be sure to do your searches on Friday, when more are given away.
  5. Offer up poll ideas. If one is accepted, that's an instant 10 Swagbucks.
  6. And, if you feel comfortable doing it, get others to join. You'll earn Swagbucks right along with them. C'mon... All the cool kids are doin' it! (Which, by the way, should be the line you use.)

There are plenty of other ways to earn Swagbucks, so check out the site for all the details.

Just don't forget to use "IPICKUPPENNIES" when you sign up. And do it soon: The code expires on Thursday, April 16th, midnight PST. (If you miss the deadline, don't beat yourself up. You can still get 3 Swagbucks as a new citizen of the Swagnation.)

Multitudes of MyPoints

Of course, Swagbucks is still a relative newcomer to the rewards program scene. Probably one of the oldest and best is MyPoints. I've been with this site for more than 8 years now. I've gotten tons of gift cards from it.

MyPoints is terrific. Why? There are several ways to earn points without spending anything or completing free trials. They go from easy (email) to more in-depth (searches and coupons). No matter how you do it, you're on your way to fast rewards!

Personally, I get around 3-5 emails a day. With most worth 5 points, I could cash in for a $10 gift card (1,450 points) in about 3 months. Just for checking my inbox.

I like to go a bit further, though. Here are a few tips if you want the points to accumulate quickly:

  1. Choose the maximum number of topics in each category of your profile. The more interest you have, the more emails you'll receive.
  2. Print out your Coupons.com coupons through MyPoints. For each one redeemed, you get 10 points. If you redeem 10 or more in a month, you get an extra 25 points.
  3. Download the MyPoints search toolbar. It's a quick 100 points. Plus you get up to 75 points a month for searches.
  4. Visit the homepage. Fill out the "Tell Us & Earn" section for a quick 20-30 points. These refresh every 1-2 days.
  5. Act quickly on the survey offers. If you actually want to participate in one, they fill up quickly.
  6. Don't refer people right away. Seems counterintuitive, right? But every 2 months or so, MyPoints offers double points for referrals. So, once again, good things come to those who wait.

When you first register, you'll get between 60-100 points for signing up/filling out a profile. That will put you on your way to your first reward.

So, on the off-chance that there are still people on the Web who aren't MyPoints members, here's a link to the site. If you do sign up, please consider using me as a referrer: seattlegirluw@yahoo.com.

Memolink Merits

Finally, I'm working on Memolink. After about a month of concerted effort, I'm at nearly 9,000 points. That's about half of what I need for a minimum reward.

I think that may actually be what initially detracts from this program. Compared to MyPoints, you need a lot more to get as much as $10. In addition, the emails pay only one point more (6 vs 5). So people may give up too easily on Memolink.

But I can say that I've had some decent success here. I don't know how viable it is in the long-term, but at least for now I'm making good progress.

Memolink has the distinction of offering you cash rewards, in addition to gift cards. That could certainly intrigue some people. More importantly, the program offers a few items that really let you rack up points:

  1. Memolink Lotto. Through Lucky Surf, you get a double reward here: points and a chance to win money. You can play up to 10 grids a day (only the 10th has a cash prize) and each one gets you 10 Memolinkpoints. Now that I have the routine down, it takes me about 3 minutes. Total points: 100 points.
  2. Homepage. There are four "Videos of the Day" (2 pts each) and one "Site of the Day" (3 pts) that you can click through. Total points: 11 points.
  3. Memolink Surveys. These refresh daily. None should take more than a couple of minutes to complete. You get anywhere from 3-10 points each. (If you qualify for the daily survey, you'll get an additional 720.) Total points: 30-50.
  4. Easy Points. These include "surveys" that are really just excuses to get you to look at ads. One caveat: If you've ever completed Big Bucks Surveys and/or Eversave with the same email address, don't bother with those; they won't credit points. But there are still usually 8-15 quizzes from Quiz Jungle et al that will give you the points. (I've gotten credit for at least three or four, with others still pending.) They take around 3-5 minutes each, once you start to memorize where the "No Thanks" and "Skip" buttons are. Simple, free. Total points: 200-500 each.
  5. Store ratings. Each time you get credited for a store, which can also include the easy point surveys, you can obtain 5 points for reviewing the experience. This is located in your account, under "Pending Store Ratings." Total Points: 5 each.

Of course, with any of these programs, you can ramp up points and rewards faster if you shop through the portals or do free trials. But Tim and I are trying to keep shopping to strict necessities, and I'm dealing with enough stress right now. So, I'm approaching these programs from the viewpoint of someone refusing to spend any money. And I think I'm relatively pleased with the results:

For Swagbucks, Tim should have at least $5 in Amazon e-cards. If Mom is feeling generous, she'll probably have $10 of Amazon e-cards. Between those two and my own searches, I should net a $20 Target card and $10 of Amazon e-cards. That would be a total of $45 worth.

For MyPoints, Tim and I each are approaching enough for a $25 Target card. So that will be $50. (We both last cashed in around Christmas, so that's about 3 months' effort there.) Mom has graciously offered up some of her MyPoints. That's between $50-75.

I should have enough in another two or three weeks to get a $10 gift card from Memolink.

Combine that with the successful Keynote Panel $10 reward, and that's already $115-140 of the $250 ($200 for the basic system, $29 for the extended warranty, $11 for sales tax) that we need for the replacement Xbox 360.



Blogger Shtinkykat said...

Great post on how to earn "snowflaking" money. Your snowflakes allows you to replace Tim's Xbox 360; just amazing. Good job!

April 14, 2009 at 5:19 AM

Blogger Alane said...

Great and timely post for me. I hope to be announcing some changes going on in my life by Thursday so this explanation of these sites is great.

April 14, 2009 at 3:25 PM


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