How to Earn Swagbucks Passively

I LOVE PASSIVE INCOME!  What’s better than earning money for doing nothing?  Nothing is.  Using Swagbucks is a great way to earn passive money easily.  There are three main ways to earn money passively on Swagbucks: searching, shopping and watching videos.


When you search the web through Swagbucks, you have a chance to be awarded SB’s with each search.  It’s not a lot, but if you’re searching the web already, you might as well earn some money doing it!  I’ve found the least intrusive way to earn SB’s while searching is to make Swagbucks my default search engine.  The results are powered by Yahoo! so they’re pretty good and I always find what I’m looking for.

I earned 10 SB for searching the web.

One note, you must be signed in to your Swagbucks account to earn SB’s through search.


Though shopping obviously requires some action on the part of the shopper, I count this as a passive earning stream because of the way shopping is rewarded on Swagbucks, and because of what I do with the rewards.

Living Social and Amazon examplesSwagbucks can act as a rebate or subsidy of purchases.  Swagbucks partners with thousands of stores (Target, Khols, Home Depot, Walmart, Banana Republic, Nike, Expedia…the list is very extensive) and rewards members for purchases made on those stores (so long as you click through to the store’s website from Swagbucks).  Shoppers can earn anywhere from 1 to 10 or more points per dollar (i.e. 1-10% or more in rebate) doing the shopping their already would be doing (hence part of why I call it passive).

But here is the best part, Swagbucks shopping rewards are not exclusive!  If you have a rewards credit/debit card you use for shopping, or a store card that has awards based on purchase activity, you still earn those rewards along with your Swagbucks…it’s a double reward.  For example I earn points at Banana Republic, Gap, or Old Navy when I use my Gap Inc. store card, but when I shop at any of those stores through Swagbucks, I get the rewards from my Gap Inc. card AND an SB rebate.  As of the writing of this article, I’ll earn 2% back from Swagbucks plus 10% from Gap!  That’s 12% rebate for shopping I’d be doing anyway!

Undoubtedly, many of you will have noted that a rebate is not earnings as rebates cost more than their value to receive.  The way I convert rebate value into earnings is by taking the value of the rebate and investing it in a high-yield checking account, or investing in a well-performing stock/bond and debt portfolio (see my page regarding that for more on my method).

Watching Videos

This is by far my favorite method of earning with Swagbucks, because it is almost 100% passive.  There are two ways to watch videos through Swagbucks: in your browser, on your mobile phone.  Why do I love it?  Because “watch” is a term of convenience, what is really going on is that Swagbucks is paying you to PLAY videos, whether you watch them or not it up to you (hint: I don’t).  Each video is preceded by an advertisement meaning each play takes between 30 seconds and a minute.

Each day you can earn up to 500 SB’s through video plays on your browser.  You can watch certain sponsored videos individually which tend to be longer, but pay more, or you can watch playlists in which the videos are shorter but worth less.  The nice thing is that while the sponsored videos must be selected individually, the playlists automatically advance, so just put them in a browser window in the background and let them play.

Swagbucks has six mobile apps that play videos: Entertainow!,,,, SBTV, and  The apps pay out according to the following schedule:

  • Entertainow! pays 2 SB per 15 videos played with a maximum of 10 SB earned a day. The shortest videos tend to be the “TV Spots”, though recently a new category of “Short Clips” has been added which greatly increases the earnings per minute.
  • pays 2 SB per 15 videos with a max of 10 SB per day.  The shortest videos tend to be Rap or Rock, and this app also has a “Short Clips” category.
  • pays 2 SB per 15 videos with a max of 10 SB per day.  The shortest videos tend to be the Garden videos, and there is a “Short Clips” category as well.
  • pays 2 SB per 15 videos with a max of 10 SB per day.  There is only one category of videos, though there is a “Short Clips” category.
  • SBTV is an outlier – it pays 2 SB per 5 videos with a max of 36 per day.  Home and Garden tends to have the shortest videos, but unlike the other apps, there is no “Short Clips” category.
  • pays out 2 SB per 15 videos with a max of 10 per day.  Like, there is only one category in this app, and a “Short Clips” category as well.
SWagbucks daily goal earning.
Today I nearly maxed out my mobile earnings and met my goal doing so!

The videos play automatically so these apps truly are set-it-and-forget-it easy.  The apps will NOT stop playing videos once your max is reached, so check in on them!  If you continue to watch videos, you have a chance to be awarded SB’s randomly.  You can earn up to 96 SB’s a day only using the mobile apps!

Here is the best part: you can run the apps concurrently on up to five phones per account, which means making money is even easier.  If, like me, you don’t have a bunch of phones lying around, I suggest buying a cheap Android phone from Best Buy or Krogers when they are on sale for $10 or less.  You can also buy from C7 Recycling for really good deals.  Assuming you only run Swagbucks apps, a $5 phone will pay for itself in under three months – but if you max out SB’s and then run, e.g. PerkTV, the phones can ROI in under a month.

I have two “farms” of phones running in my house – five on my account and five on my wife’s account.