How I’m Paying to Ship 20 Operation Christmas Child Boxes Using Swagbucks

Today’s Swagbucks success story is from Kimber:

Two Christmases ago, my family wanted to find an act of service that we could do in honor of my mother-in-law. We decided to pack three shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

We shopped, packed the boxes, and took them to the drop-off location as a family. We took pictures of our kids with the boxes, wrapped up the pictures with a printed copy of the e-mail that said where our boxes ended up (Mexico), and presented the gift to my mother-in-law on Christmas morning.

I was hooked!

Last year, I eagerly shopped in October and November, hosted a fun craft night/packing party for my friends, and filled 13 shoeboxes. My only problem was, I had used most of my “shoebox budget” when I shopped.

Several friends and family members contributed cash to help pay for shipping, and my husband was very gracious about the fact that I ended up spending more than we’d planned on. But this year, I set a few goals for myself. I wanted to pack 20 shoeboxes. I wanted to shop all year long, stocking up on the best deals. And I wanted to earn the $140 for shipping ($7 per box) before November.

Shopping all year has been a joy. I have found wonderful treasures (ranging from cute notepads to warm hats and mittens) on clearance. I’ve scored great deals on hygiene items at CVS. I have collected over half of the items I need to fill my shoeboxes already, and it hasn’t even touched my budget. But that leaves one thing remaining: the shipping fees.

Enter Swagbucks!

If you’d like to track your shoeboxes, you need to pay your $7 shipping fee online using a credit or debit card. A few months ago, I made a decision: I would start saving up all of my Swagbucks.

When I reached the 10,000 point mark, I would cash out for a $100 PayPal deposit. And when I had earned another 5,000, I would again cash out for a $50 PayPal gift card.

Although OCC doesn’t accept PayPal, I planned on paying for it with my debit card and depositing the $150 from PayPal into my bank account. Voila! Shipping for 20 shoeboxes covered, plus an extra $10 to buy a few more filler items.

Our Creative Plan

But as I approached the 9,000 point mark (yay!), I realized something – I could get a better deal if I cashed out in Amazon gift cards. It is a bit more complicated, but here is the plan I worked out:

Each month, starting in June, I will use my Swagbucks to purchase 5 $5 Amazon gift cards (the maximum). By November, I will have earned $150 in Amazon gift cards, but only paid 13,500 points.

Our family frequently uses Amazon, so I will apply the $150 to our Amazon account, then use the $150 “saved” from our household budget to pay to ship my shoeboxes. With the 1500 points I’m saving this way, I can cash out for $15 in gift cards to fill another box!

How I Earn At Least 50 Swagbucks Per Day

To the new Swagbucks user, 13,500 points might seem like a huge goal. But I’ve found that just by casually using Swagbucks (as my search engine, to print my coupons from, entering codes when I see them pop up on Facebook, and occasionally using Shop and Earn), I can easily earn an average of 50 Swagbucks per day.

And if I have a bit more time to put into it (doing special offers, taking surveys, and completing other activities like the daily poll), I can earn 100 Swagbucks per day (and sometimes significantly more).

Since setting this goal for myself, I have had a lot more motivation to use Swagbucks. I am now only 3,000 Swagbucks away from my goal, and I’m getting so excited for November – shoebox packing time!

Have you saved up and purchased something using your Swagbucks? If so, you could get a $50 gift card just for sharing your Swagbucks success stories with MoneySavingMom.com readers!

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Comments

  1. Tanya B. says

    That’s awesome! I might have to start using Swagbucks again :) I always fill a bunch of boxes and then have to come up with the money from some other part of our budget.

  2. Stephanie says

    Great Job!!! I too use Swagbucks to help our family’s budget. I get the 5, $5 Amazon cards each month and utilize them to buy diapers for my little ones. I currently have 2 in diapers and am due with our next bundle of joy in February. Hopefully, I will have one of my darlings potty trained by then. I find that I save more money doing disposables than paying for laundry soap and doing laundry of cloth diapers.

  3. Mother Lydia says

    I am amazed you can earn 50 swagbucks a day casually using Swagbucks. I use it exactly the way you describe, but I only get about 20 swagbucks a day! Its a red letter day if I get 30!

    • Kimber says

      I think a big help is the coupons, and Shop and Earn. There are a lot of days where I don’t hit 50, but some days (when a coupon redemption happens or when Shop and Earn goes through) I earn a lot more, and it averages to 50. :) Mega Swagbucks Friday helps too – the wins are higher that day, bumping up my average a bit.

  4. Lisa says

    Great idea! I completely followed your logic for redeeming for Amazon cards! I don’t always explain it so well to friends or my husband, but I’ve decided some people just don’t have a “coupon” brain! :)

  5. says

    We do a similar thing with our Christmas budget. We redeem Amazon cards all year long and use them for our regular household purchases. The savings go into our Christmas fund! That way, we can save more for buying nice gifts at places other than Amazon (like the farmer’s market or local artisan shops). It’s been working great for us, though takes a little book keeping. Love the idea of using them for OCC!

  6. Kim says

    I love Operation Christmas Child!! I was blessed to help in our regional distribution center where we packed the shoe boxes in standard size crates to ship to OCC head quarters. Since shipping is so costly, we found we could pack 12 standard size plastic shoe boxes (or 20 of the smaller shoe boxes which can be obtained through Operation Christmas Child/Samaritan’s Purse) in each shipping crate. We found the varying sizes of boxes end up wasting space in the crates, therefore costing more to ship. The plastic shoe boxes are more durable & can be multi-purposed by the children & their families.

  7. Blessed Mama says

    We did Operation Christmas Child for the first time last year and my daughters just loved it! My oldest (age 7) was so excited about it that she wanted to do way more than 1 each, so I told the girls that they could do as many as they could save for. I would pay for the items to go in them and they could pay for the shipping. My oldest even saved most of her birthday money, because she was so excited to save for more boxes. My youngest (age 5) has begged to do extra jobs to earn money for saving for the shoe boxes. It has been wonderful to see how hard my girls have worked to save their money for a whole year! We actually just finished buying items to go in the shoe boxes a few days ago and put their boxes together.

    My children have loved OCC so much that they even have fun playing it! My oldest likes going on the website and looking at the stories on their too. OCC is such a wonderful organization!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your post on another great way to pay for the shoe boxes! $7 each can get kinda pricey when you want to do a bunch of them (especially on a very low limited income). Swagbucks is another great idea!

    • Kimber says

      What a sweet story! I love getting my kids involved in shoebox-ing too. I hope as they get a little older, they will want to save up for it like your girls do!

  8. Jacquelyn says

    This is such a good idea. I was just wondering if you can use more than one $5 amazon gift card per purchase. I just started using swagbucks (because of this post) and couldn’t find anything about using more than one gift card per order. Do you use your cards together or just use one card and make a lot of purchases?

    • says

      You can just add your Amazon gift cards to your Amazon account and they will accrue until you’re ready to cash them out. There is no limit on how many you can add.