Friday, May 9, 2014

Paid-To Spotlight: Swagbucks

If you've read my blog for a while, you know by now that I am a huge fan of paid-to sites. Click here to read an overview about Paid-To Sites, and be sure to read the posts I've made about SendEarnings, TreasureTrooper, and MyPoints. Today I'm writing about a point-based site (much like MyPoints) that pays out in gift cards and rewards. Today's Paid-To Spotlight is Swagbucks!

Swagbucks has a lot of easy ways to earn "Swag Bucks," or points that are redeemable for gift cards and prizes in the "Swag Store." To the left is a screenshot of the list of options available for earning SwagBucks, nicknamed SB. Most of them are self explanatory. Here is a quick rundown of each:
- Coupons give you SB for printing and redeeming grocery coupons
- Daily Deals is essentially SB for shopping sponsored sales
- Daily Polls is a fun little poll for SwagBucks members to vote in every day for 1 easy SB
- Games is a place to play games and earn SB
- NOSO is a "No Obligation Special Offers" path that gives you 2SB daily just for clicking through it
- Search is a SwagBucks-sponsored search engine that pays SB randomly for using it to search (there is also a toolbar for this purpose). This is an excellent way to get easy SB - search at least once a day!
- Special Offers are offers from sponsors that you can complete for SB, such as watching advertisements, signing up for newsletters or even purchasing a free Netflix trial.
- Swagbucks TV has short ad-supported clips about various topics that pay you SB for watching them; you will get 3SB once you watch 10 videos! (You don't actually have to watch the entire video - it should credit in the first minute or so)
- Tasks are basically random un-skilled internet jobs that you complete for SB such as Image Searching certain objects, confirming addresses, identifying blurry pictures, or typing descriptions of images. You can complete as many as you like for SB.
- Trade In enables you to recycle various items (Cell phones, games & consoles and books) in exchange for SB
- Trusted Surveys are sponsored market research surveys that pay you SB for completing them. You receive 1 SB daily just for viewing your available surveys.
-Invite & Earn *NEW FEATURE ALERT* Gives you 1sb just for inviting someone from twitter, facebook or other social networking sites to join Swagbucks!

Of these, there are 5 that you can complete daily for quick SB.

1. Download the SwagBucks toolbar for your browser. Every day that you use the browser, you earn 1SB just for loading the toolbar.
2. Earn 1SB each day by voting in the Daily Poll
3. Earn 1SB just for checking the Trusted Survey dashboard each day
4. Earn 2SB daily by clicking through the NOSO - just keep clicking "next" or "skip offer" until you reach the end of the path to collect your 2SB.
5 . Earn 1SB Daily by inviting at least 1 person to join Swagbucks using the "Invite & Earn" feature.
Total: 6 SB per day, aka 180 SB per month!

If you do those every day - it takes about 10 seconds total - along with a couple of searches each day using the SwagBucks search engine, maybe a survey or 2 a month, watch a view video ads .... it adds up FAST and you'll start to see why SwagBucks is one of the top 5 most popular paid-
to sites. It takes 450SB to get one $5 Amazon Gift Card, and it took me 2 months exactly to reach that level doing basically the bare minimum with those 5 SB per day, plus about 5 referrals that I got through Facebook. Pro Tip: One of th e best ways to earn SB is using the Search feature - just type in search terms until you win! Searching can win you anywhere from 5-50 Swagbucks at once!

Oh, but I forgot one of the best features. Swag Codes. If you follow SwagBucks on Facebook and Twitter you will occasionally get codes worth SwagBucks - or links to their blog entries with codes worth SB. You can also find codes using the "Swidget" - on the right hand side of my blog! Click "Codes" to see if there is an active code. If you find a code - it typically looks something like "MadeUpSwagCodeX195" - copy and paste it into the "Enter your Swag Code" box on the homepage and click GIMME! They expire quickly, so get 'em while you can whenever you see them! There is usually one per day, and they are typically worth around 3-8 SB. So if you check online every day for those codes, you could get around another 150 SB per month. If you just completed a couple of offers and surveys on top of that, you could easily get a $5 Amazon Gift Card per month - MINIMUM. The average SB user, from what I've gleaned off their facebook page, typically earns a $5 Amazon Gift card every two weeks.

So... let's go down the checklist. Confirmed legit? Check. Easy to earn rewards with minimal effort? Check. Um.... that's all I need to be convinced! If you want to read more about the site and how to get the most out of it, click here:

Ok. Ready to join? Click here to sign up! See you there!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Looking for Writers: Be a Broke Student Guide for your campus!

So, I'm graduating in 2 weeks. Officially, I won't be a Broke Student anymore. And although I will still update and continue the blog, what I'd really like to do is take on some Broke Student Guides from other campuses to represent their universities while providing meaningful content for the blog that is relevant and useful for the blog's readership. Sound like something you might be able to do? Read on...

As a Broke Student Guide, you'll be representing your university and informing your peers about the best free stuff on your campus. You'll walk around campus and scout out freebies, post about free events, opportunities and more at your campus, and promote the blog at your school. You'll be gaining experience in blogging, social networking, writing, and marketing. You'll get an awesome, stand-out opportunity on your resume (Heck, you could even call it an internship. Plus, you'll get a kickass reference from me if you ever need one!) and a chance to help the blog grow and be a part of its success. As for what's in it for you (um, hello, resume builder??! That's not enough for you??) well, let's just say that the more high-quality entries appear on the blog, the more readers we get, and the more advertisers want to spend money to advertise on the blog. So I can probably toss a couple bucks your way every so often, and as we grow the blog, that will (hopefully) increase. Also, if you discover a good paid-to site or a site that rewards you for referrals, your referral  link will be featured in the blog, which can generate lots of rewards! Ultimately, my goal is to get the blog on it's own domain and have it updated solely by interns, kind of like College Fashionista! So think of it as helping out a startup in its early stages of producing revenue.

If any of the following describes you: literate, great at writing helpful and also humorous things, obsessed with saving money and getting free stuff, in college, and someone who would enjoy writing a few entries a month from the comfort of your own home (in your pajamas, at 3am, you know - whatever), please apply! Just send the following to lia(dot)saunders(at)gmail(dot)com:

  1. A writing sample: an example of a blog entry that fits with the content of the Broke Student's Guide, using any category of your choice (see the tags for ideas). Be creative: you can write about anything under the sun as long as it would fit with the theme of the blog (which is helping busy college students save money, essentially.) Feel free to browse through the blog to get a feel for the content and voice of the BSG. If you want to write an entry without links or references, that is fine (those take the most time to find!) I'm just looking to get a feel for your voice and writing style.
  2. A brief statement about why you want to be a BSG, why you'd be the best BSG ever and what you bring to the table, including what kinds of posts you think you'd be the best at writing. Maybe you'd be best at how-tos, maybe you're super pro at finding freebies online, maybe you're awesome at frugal cooking? Maybe all of the things!?
  3. A little bit about you - could be a resume, or just let me know what school you go to, your major, year you graduate, if you've had any similar experience, etc.

I'm also looking for anyone who would like to take charge of marketing, promotion and social networking for the blog. This would entail regularly updating my facebook, twitter, tumblr and any other forms of social media to engage the readership and gain new followers. If that sounds like your thing, email   lia(dot)saunders(at)gmail(dot)com  with a copy of your resume and a brief explanation of why you'd be the best marketer for the BSG ever, and any samples of social networking and promotion you've got.

Hope to hear from you soon! Please send me an email if you've got any questions.

 Want to know about new freebies, samples, deals and money-saving as soon as they happen? Follow The Broke Student's Guide on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

5 Affordable Places to Get Brand/Designer Items

Northface. Sperry’s. Patagonia. Michael Kors. LL Bean Boots.
Just to name a few.

College campuses all across America have established an unofficial uniform made up of brand name items. Now I’m not saying that everyone’s wearing brand clothing, I’m just saying that you can’t walk past a group of people without seeing some sort of logo. And whether you buy into it or think you don’t want to wear it ‘because everyone else is’, you have to admit that deep down you want a pair of [insert item here] yourself.

The downside though is that they can be expensive. We are broke college kids after all. But luckily for us, there are  a few resources to get these goods for cheap.

 1.       The THRIFT STORE

Thrifting has become popular thanks to Macklemore’s hit song, and for good reason. You can find just about anything at a thrift store- including lightly worn designer goods! I myself have gotten two pairs of Sperry’s, a Banana Republic coat, and a Patagonia jacket for under $20- combined. A quick Google map search for ‘thrift store’ will help you locate nearby shops. Some of them even have membership cards or daily sales events, so watch out for those for extra savings.

2.       eBay

Watches, coats, jackets, jewelry- ebay’s got it all AND for about 60% off what you’d normall pay for. Just make sure you keep updated on the bids and double check the item description and return policies to avoid buyers remorse.

But if you’re not a fan of the second hand market, here are cheap options for NEW goods.


Usually when stores overbuy goods and can’t afford to keep them in store long enough to sell them, they send them out to stores like Items get quickly sold out, but you can get a new pair of Frye boots for about half the price you’d buy from them directly.

4.       Hautelook

Hautelook hosts ‘events’ which feature sales that last a few days. They have a few going on at a time and the categories range from clothing to housewares to accessories. You get to create a free account and they’ll send you emails letting you know of events (aka sales). They’ve had designers like Michael Kors and Hunter Boots for around $60!


Gilt is another events site which functions like Hautelook, but they have different items and categories. They’ve had FRYE, M Missoni, Gucci, and more. You’re best bet is to sign up for both of them to get the most options to save.


Don’t let your budget limit your style. With these options, you won’t have to!
My favorite paid-to site is Swagbucks. I earn at least $25 in Amazon Gift cards each and every month! Read more about Swagbucks in this entry. Want to know about new freebies, samples, deals and money-saving as soon as they happen? Follow The Broke Student's Guide on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Never Pay for Movie Rentals Again

You heard me! Gone are the days of Blockbuster and $4 movie rentals (though I admit I do miss browsing video stores). You can even consider Redbox fees to be history, because with these few tips you can definitely find movies at no cost!

Beleive it or not, libraries aren't just for taking out books. They're now offering CD's, workout videos, and even DVD's! The best part is that they're totally free, and you usually get to borrow them for a week or two, which is SO much better than paying a 1-day late charge. I've been able to rent out Mean Girls, The DaVinci code, and even the Godfather Trilogy from my library, so I'd definitely recommend visiting yours soon! Try to come visit on Monday because that's usually when people have returned their rentals from the weekend.

1. Red BoxEvery now and then, Redbox sends out codes that let you rent a movie for free. But because of social media, many people have access to codes that can be used anytime you visit. The rule is 1 code/credit card (which you still need to swipe incase of late charges), but if you have more than one card, then you can use the same code for each of them!
So three cards + one code = 3 free rentals.It's all about working with the system.
Here are some great sites that you can use to look up codes:
If you sign up for their program, they'll send you weekly rental codes!
Current and updated list of valid codes, check often!  Same as above, but some codes might show up at one and not the other, so I'd recommend getting on the list of both!

Just remember to return it my 9pm the next day or you'll end up paying the $1.20 fee!

2. YouTube

To rival popular movie companies like Netflix, YouTube launched their own movie program that let's you watch full length movies. The prices range from a dollar to $4 (the highest I've seen so far), but my favorite section is the 'Free Movies'. And these aren't just some crappy clips - I'm talking FREE, FULL LENGTH  MOVIES. They've got Big Daddy, Pineapple Express, as well as a few others that are worth checking out!

3. Your Local Library

Libraries aren't just for studying anymore (given that you've stepped into one lately..) Many now let you 'rent' CD's, workout videos, language learning programs, and even DVD's! Sometimes the selection isn't impressive, but I've been able to find Mean Girls, The Godfather Trilogy, as well as a few other popular titles, so it's all a matter of timing. I'd recommend going on Mondays and Tuesdays, which is when people have returned their movie rentals from the weekend. On top of being absolutely free, the other benefit is that you usually get to keep then for a week or two, which gives you plenty of time to rehearse those Mean Girls quotes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Dorm Deals for Under $10

A big part of being a broke college student is, well, being broke.
But that doesn't mean you have to miss out on some great dorm gear, especially if it's at a pretty good price!
I've rounded up 5 items that'll help you get through the year, and the best part is that they're all under $10!

1. Kikkerland USB Hubman - $9.99
A great accessory for your laptop,  the USB Hubman provides extra USB ports for in your room or on the go. That allows you to plug in your hardrive, iPod, phone, and others at the same time, saving both time and space. Plus, he's just darn cute.

2. 72 Pocket Hanging Organizer - $8.45 + shipping
This item is a great way to organize, and I'd definitely recommend investing in one. It can store all your earrings, bracelets, and necklaces in a handy organizer that fits in perfectly to your closet. And considering most dorms (especially at VT) are smaller than jail cells, that's even more of a reason to buy.

3. Set of 10 Microwave Safe Containers - $5.99
Great for leftovers or just storage. The best part is that it's microwave safe, so hopefully you won't be starting any fires.

4. Two Desktop Cellphone Holders - $4.99
A great way to keep your phone safe!
I also want to metion that I lose my phone almost everday - I swear I'd  be JUST using it - so having these on my desk gives me a secure place to keep them. It also comes in a 2 pack, which could make for a great welcome/housewarming present for your room mate!

5. Table Top Ironing Board - $7.59
You'll definitely have dates, interviews, or both at one point in college, and you NEVER want to show up with a wrinkled shirt. A table top ironing board will get you looking slick in no time, and using almost no space.
Table not included.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pssckk... Ashley to BSG readers...psscckk

Not sure how well you heard it over the internet, but that was suppose to be a walkie-talkie noise.

My name is Ashley Baboota, and after an extensive interview that consisted of exactly three emails, a treasure hunt through my computer files, and a few weeks of waiting to see where on earth Lia was, I am finally able to say that I'll be one of your new BSG bloggers!

I'll be attending Virginia Tech in the fall [go Hokies!], but hopefully my tips will apply to broke college students all around America...except you Cavaliers out there.

Just kidding.

I am personally interested in freebies, DIY projects, and traveling so definitely expect tips relating to those!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Freebies of the week 7/7/12! Tea, music, condoms, and more!

Hey all! My apologies for the break in updates. I just graduated from college and moved across the country (to San Francisco!), so I've been all kinds of busy and away from the computer. While I'm not technically a broke student guide anymore, I'm going to continue updating - but I'm really searching for Broke Student Guides to represent their universities! If you're pro at being frugal, like to write and need something awesome to put on your resume, you definitely want to check this out. Now, back to your regularly scheduled freebies!

FREE Sample Bodycology Wild Poppy Nourishing Body Cream Click Here

FREE Starbucks K-Cup Packs Click Here

FREE Tea at McAllister's Deli on July 26!

FREE Shout Color Catcher Cli

FREE 60-Day Trial Membership to BJ's (a wholesale retailer like Costco) Click Here
FREE One-Year Membership to Ebony Click Here

FREE Sample of Heinz Squeeze-N-Stir Soup Click Here

FREE Gillette Venus Razor (UK only) Click Here

FREE Vitanity drink mix sample. Choose your own flavors and health benefits! Click Here

FREE 10 song summer playlist download. Artists include The Band Perry and Feist. Offer is available on iTunes through 8/31/12. Click Here

FREE 60-minute workout playlist downloads from Secret. There are 3 available: low intensity, moderate intensity and high intensity. Click Here

FREE Vans 2012 Warped Tour 34-song playlist download! Click Here

FREE Sample Packets of Mrs. Dash Original Blend seasoning. Click Here

FREE Lipton Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea Sample. Click Here

FREE Garnier Fructis Fall Fight Shampoo & Conditioner sample! Click Here

FREE Sebamed Facial Wash Sample.
Click Here

FREE sample of Find Your Bliss Shower Gel and Body Butter. Click Here

FREE SKYN condom sample. Click Here

FREE Gas-X Thin Strips Sample.
Click Here

FREE sample of L’Oreal EverPure Shampoo & Conditioner. Click Here

FREE sample of BiPro Whey Protein. Click Here

FREE Sample of VPlesnish Vitamin Boost.
Click Here (Orange box in the upper righthand corner!)

My favorite paid-to site is Swagbucks. I earn at least $25 in Amazon Gift cards each and every month! Read more about Swagbucks in this entry. Want to know about new freebies, samples, deals and money-saving as soon as they happen? Follow The Broke Student's Guide on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
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