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