Encouraging Mystery Shopping Stories For Aspiring Shoppers

Finding innovative ways to make some extra cash can significantly alter your household income. Whether you work a regular job or not, mystery shopping is a great way to stretch your budget by earning money and getting free products.

What is Mystery Shopping?

“Mystery shopping” refers to the practice of having someone pretend to be an average customer while secretly evaluating various aspects of their shopping experience. Once the shopper is finished with the transaction, he or she fills out a report which details the various elements of their visit.

The evaluation that these mystery shoppers provide is important for the business, because hearing first-hand customer feedback lets them know how and where they need to improve.

At the same time, the mystery shopping benefits because they are paid to shop there. Sometimes they just get compensated to purchase a few items, and other times they’ll get additional money for their time. Either way, this compensation is the motivation they get for providing the needed feedback.

Eat Out or Travel on a Dime

There are a variety of places that you can mystery shop, so it’s easy to customize the experience to make it fit your lifestyle and interests. One mom who uses mystery shopping to both shop and dine shares, “I have taken family and friends out to dinner and sometimes they didn’t know I was working.”

Another family has utilized mystery shopping to pay for dozens of their daily needs, as well as fund a vacation by evaluating a hotel. They noted that mystery shoppers can save on airfare, eating out, staying at hotels, or even getting haircuts and buying clothes.

Finding the Time to Shop

Being a mystery shopper does take effort, commitment, and time. A single transaction isn’t going to take a ton of time, but a good mystery shopper will know that it is important to file their report as soon as possible, before their memory gets hazy. This takes time, and each mystery shopping transaction is going to eat up more time.

According to those who have experience in the field, it’s best to fit mystery shopping into times when you were already planning to frequent the business or were going to be in the area anyway. If you work in the city, for instance, then you might be able to use your lunch break to complete a quick transaction. Another idea would be to simply add a couple of stores to your weekly grocery shopping trip.

Depending on what your life looks like right now, you may or may not be able to take advantage of a ton of offers. However, remember that even a few extra dollars or free items are better than none.

How to Avoid Scams

Are you ready to sign up to become a mystery shopper? That’s awesome! Before you start signing up, however, you should keep some things in mind so as to avoid being scammed.

1. Don’t sign up for sites which ask you for money. Legitimate sites may have you fill out applications and provide your social security number for tax purposes, but they’ll never ask you to pay money.

2. Avoid things which sound too good to be true. Avoid any company which promises outrageous, exorbitant rewards. While people can make good money from mystery shopping, it does take work and effort. If you want to be successful, be willing to start small and be a reliable and responsible secret shopper.

3. Check the Mystery Shopping Providers Association to see if the company is listed there as being safe. While you’re there, you can also check out other resources and tips that they offer to help you on your journey to successful mystery shopping.

Bio: This contribution comes from Sentry Marketing Group. They handle automotive, retail, hospitality, and restaurant mystery shopping campaigns.

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What to do When Your Device Gets Wet

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Nooooo!!! It has happened to most of us, and usually happens in s-l-o-w motion when it does: your phone takes the deep plunge, goes for a swim, dives into the deep end. Any way you say it, when your phone splashes into water, your heart stops for a half second and you immediately pray that somehow, someway, your phone will survive it’s liquid vacation.

There are some great tips to help increase your phone’s survival rate, but if you find yourself unable to resuscitate your beloved device, have no fear – Gazelle is here! Gazelle has you covered with ‘like new’ devices at an affordable price that are all put through an industry-leading 30-point inspection to make sure that all features are fully functional and offers you the peace of mind of a 30-day risk-free return period, all with no contracts or strings attached. So if your device decides to take a bath, make sure to check out Gazelle for your replacement!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

Roses for Valentine’s Day – Still a Classic

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There are certain times where it’s really the classics that continue to have mass appeal on major holidays like Valentines Day. When the beginning of February rolls around, most men are looking for great ideas and booking their favorite restaurants. They are trying hard to please their favorite woman. They might look at the newest trends, but many websites say that it’s best to go with a classic. They’re saying to men, “Get flowers for Valentines Day here!” Men are responding, too, as roses and other flower options are roaring back into popularity.

The red rose remains the most popular choice for a Valentines Day gift. Red roses are classic, and they say to the woman that she is a special lady. The red rose is somewhat intimidating, of course, and it’s usually best used by men who are in serious relationships. Because red roses indicate love, some men might think that they are just too much for those times when they might have just started seeing a woman. That’s alright because there are other options that men can choose when they want to send some message less than, “I’ll love you forever.”

Men will be happy to learn that roses come in many colors, and there are other kinds of flowers that can make a nice substitute on the big day, as well. Lilies and tulips are popular among women today and can send the right message when the man is somewhat unsure of where the relationship is at. The important thing that men must remember is that flowers are always a good idea, and no matter what kind he chooses, he will get credit for thoughtfulness and romanticism. It’s long been a great way to spice up a relationship, and it remains so today.

Flowers aren’t the only things you can send when the big day comes around. You might also send chocolates for the woman who has that insatiable sweet tooth. Chocolates come in many different forms. Gourmet chocolate might cost a bit more, but the quality more than makes up for the spike in price. On top of that, the truly romantic man may choose to send a bottle of champagne to show his woman that she is truly special. The good news for men is that it’s possible to send all of these things in one package that can be ordered right online.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

3 Reasons A Work-From-Home Cleaning Business Can Succeed

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Many work-related frustrations prompt people to consider starting their own businesses. A demanding schedule, lack of promotion opportunities, and a stagnant income all make people want to take charge of how they earn their livings.

If you are like this, you are probably searching for viable ideas for starting a business, especially a work-from-home business.

A home or office cleaning business is a type of opportunity that is worth taking a look at because it has many things in its favor.

Demand For Services

People make messes. Dust settles. Toilets and sinks need to be cleaned. These are simple facts for both commercial and residential buildings. Add to this the fact people are busy and don’t have time to keep a place tidy, and you have a business opportunity. In every town and in every state there are going to be people willing to pay to have their homes or businesses cleaned. Because of this pervasive and ongoing demand, you have a chance to build a profitable clientele if you work hard.

Little To No Technical Training Needed

This is not meant to denigrate the hard work that goes into making a home clean and inviting, but house cleaning does not require higher education or skill certifications. You or your employees can learn to use cleaning supplies and equipment in a short amount of time. Staying safe is easy if you follow a few well-known rules, like avoiding the mixing of chlorine and ammonia. Whatever your background has been, you can master the skills to clean buildings.

Low Start Up Investment

Any business requires you to spend money to get it going, but a cleaning business has a relatively low start up cost, especially if you do it from home and don’t rent or buy a commercial building. The equipment and supplies needed for the business might only require a couple thousand dollars to get started. However, other expenses are necessary too, like business cards, licensing, and insurance. Home cleaning franchising opportunities also exist. By working with a franchise company you can get training and marketing support.

A good way to begin planning for your work-from-home business is to start listing the equipment, supplies, and other expenses you would pay to get started. This information lets you assess if you have the financial means to go forward as an entrepreneur.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

Does Your Bra Fit Correctly?

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Probably Not.

As women we know that we are not all created equally. We all have different body types and different clothes flatter different figures. But the one thing that every woman has to wear no matter what shape or size is a bra. There are so many options when it comes to clothes, bathing suits, and accessories, but when it comes to bras we are left with just two factors: band size and cup size. This is why almost 80% of women wear the wrong bra size, with so many women falling between traditional cup sizes the game changer is finally here, half cup bras.

Do you ever wonder if you are wearing the correct size bra? Or maybe it feels okay and you’re just not sure if you can do better. Luckily, there are many different guides and tutorials just a search away on the Internet. One company has even gotten rid of the old fashioned measuring tape by turning your iPhone into a virtual measuring tape and brafitting machine. If you’re not feeling adventurous and you have access to a measuring tape and a computer you will be just fine.

There is actually a tutorial written by lingerie expert Marie Redding that only requires a mirror to tell if your bra is the correct fit. Redding’s Tutorial takes a simple approach to understanding how YOUR bra should fit YOUR body.

Step 1: Checking the Gore
The first step talks about checking the gore, which is the center part of the underwire where the cups of the bra connect in the front. According to her, the gore should lie flat on your sternum at all times and if it rises off of your chest that is a common sign that the cups are too small.

Step 2: Straps
The straps should not slip over your shoulder or make an indentation on your skin. A common misconception is that the support comes from the straps, but the back band and the cups should be contributing to the support.

Step 3: The Band
The band should lie flat on your back and parallel to the ground, if you ever wonder why your band rides up it is probably because the band size is too big. By now I am sure most of you are realizing that your bra is not fitting correctly, but if you have passed all of those tests here are the next three.

Step 4: Cups
There should be no spillage of any aspect. Lift your arms above your head and make sure there isn’t spillage on the bottom too. This is where the half-cup bra sizes from earlier come into play. If you see just a small amount of spillage maybe you just need that extra half an inch of room.

Step 5: Underwire
The fifth check point is just a matter of how comfortable the underwire is on your body.

Step 6: Overall Fit
The final check is obvious, how does the bra look on your body overall. Don’t settle for a bra that doesn’t make your body look good. With the amount of bras on the market you will be able to find one that fits your body perfectly. Do not give up!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

Five Tips to Finding a Safe and Secure Neighborhood


When it comes time to move into a new location, it can be difficult to determine if the city or neighborhood is a safe area for you and your family. Safety is a parent’s number one concern, and finding a home in a safe neighborhood is a top priority.

Here are five tips to help you find a well-secured neighborhood.

1. Talk to the Locals
If possible, try to talk to the local police department or neighbors in the neighborhood you’re looking at. Locals will have the best information about the safety of the neighborhood and the surrounding areas. Likewise, the police department will be your best source for information on city safety as a whole.

If you’re still concerned over safety since the town is unfamiliar territory, investing in a security system is a wise idea. Ask the locals and police for recommendation, and use a keyword online search that includes your location like Roseville, CA ADT or something similar.

2. Crime Rate
Checking a city’s crime rate can alleviate any concerns you have regarding a city you are considering. Using a search engine to look up the best and worst cities, or searching about a particular city, will provide fairly sound results.

Most city websites have a crime listing that gives a crime percentage and timeline. Larger, urban cities tend to have more detailed crime statistics, while smaller, lesser known cities tend to have more general information listed.

3. Local Schools
School test scores and academic performance can determine if the students in the area are motivated and driven, as well as the quality of the teachers. Most often students who perform well tend to be less affiliated with crime.

If you can, take a tour of the school. Well-kept schools generally denote a safe school. Schools with bars around the windows, graffiti lining the walls, and metal detectors could potentially indicate the area is not entirely safe.

4. Drive Around
Most cities usually have a well-kept neighborhood somewhere. However, just because the city has one or two nice neighborhoods does not always determine the city’s safety as a whole.

Drive around the city and see how the neighborhoods change from street to street, what types of stores are in the area, and if people tend to loiter on street corners. Did you see an excess of graffiti? Does there appear to be vandalism, or broken storefront windows? These might be signs of an unsafe area. Also, neighborhoods tend to look different at various times of the day. Take a look at the neighborhood at night and on weekends to formulate a picture of what a typical day in the neighborhood looks like.

5. Property Value
Knowing the property value of the homes in the area can help to determine the fate of the city in a few years. If the value of homes have increased, that is a positive sign the area is trending upward. If it has decreased significantly, that could reveal the area is not being taken care of as well.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

adidas Pure Boost is here!


**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

The adidas Pure Boost running shoes are floating off the shelves…well, maybe not floating as much as they are flying! These crazy light and comfy shoes are creating quite the buzz in the running community not only for their athletic prowess but also for their stylish components. A.K.A…they can be worn as cool sneakers with any outfit! They have some very cute colors for the ladies and all the stylish tones the guys love to wear…

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

How to Get Your Facebook Updates

How to Get Your Facebook Updates

If you use Facebook, you have probably noticed that you’re only seeing a fraction of the updates from pages you subscribe to. This is one of those things that has kind of been frustrating for us bloggers. We take the time to post deals and then post them on our Facebook pages, only for you to not see them. In addition, many of the deals that I post are very time sensitive, meaning that if you don’t see it within a few minutes (sometimes seconds) of me posting it, the free sample may be gone or the hot deal may be over, which can be frustrating for you.

I have a couple of quick fixes for you that hopefully will help you keep up with Facebook updates in general and hopefully with my page too.

How to Get Your Facebook Updates

Option 1: Get notifications. You know, on Facebook, when the little world on the top lights up red? That would be a notification. That is the fastest way to get notified when I (or another page) post something.

How to Get Your Facebook Updates

To set this up you will need to visit my Facebook page. Hover over “liked” and then choose “Get Notifcations”.

How to Get Your Facebook Updates

Option 2: On my Facebook page, hover over “liked”, then choose “Show in News Feed”.

How to Get Your Facebook Updates

Next, go to “Settings” and then choose “All updates”. You should then see all of my posts on your wall, theoretically.

I have been using option 1 for a while and it’s been working well for me. So if you are following on Facebook, please give these a try and let me know how it’s working for you. I’d like to get your feedback. Thanks!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.