Friday, March 1, 2013

What I've Been Up To

I've had a very busy month...mystery shopping! Just as I jumped head-first into couponing many years ago, I've jumped straight into the world of being a secret shopper.  Do any of you do this as well?  I started during the last week of January, plowed on through February and did my first March shop this afternoon.  Including items/meals that I've been reimbursed for, I've made $682.49!!!!!  I can hardly believe it myself.  Now granted, when I start something new, I almost always go overboard, so I've been doing shops just about every day of the week.  Some shops are straight reimbursement - you buy an item, they pay you back, some are straight pay - $10 to go somewhere and evaluate something, and some are a combo of both.  I've done a bunch of shops at grocery stores that reimbursed me for my purchases - I combined these purchases with rebate items, Savingstar credits and catalina deals wherever possible.  My hunny and I have eaten out at a bunch of restaurants for free or close to it and I even did a shop at an oil change joint and got reimbursed for all the charges.

If you shop too, I'd love to hear which companies you use.  I've had very nice experiences so far with Market Force, GFK and Reality Based Group. You can search for legitimate mystery shopping companies and/or jobs through MSPA's website. As with anything else, do some research before signing up with a company to see what other folks are saying. And you gotta be organized. I've been keeping a spreadsheet of what jobs I've completed, how much I'm owed, what format the money will arrive in (Paypal, check, direct deposit, etc) and if/when the money has arrived. And you'll need to keep copies of your documentation for a while, depending on the company's policies.  Its been similar to the system I use for tracking my rebates.  A little organization goes a long way.

Happy shopping!


Sheila said...

Thanks for sharing. Is there any company you like over the others? You made some good $$$!

Jim said...

That is great to hear. I am a long time mystery shopper. I have toned it down quite a bit with the price of gas. Usually I only take a shop if it is mutually beneficial to both me and the company, i.e. I love to do bank, gas, or auto shops.

First, I can usually do many bank shops all at one time and make it a route. They are fast and easy.

I already have to get gas, so I usually snag these up, but usually closer to the end of the month when their pay increases.

And the auto shop, well who doesn't need an oil change or wipers replaced.

I agree with you on the companies that treated you good, but in my opinion they are definitely for the novice shopper, as they don't really pay that well.

Have you thought about becoming certified? I am gold certified and I have to say that it lead to some amazing opportunities. Some companies come to me, before they even post the shops. While others will only use someone that is at least silver certified.

frugalsuz said...

Market Force seems to have the most jobs in my area. I've done a lot of work for them.

Thanks for your feedback! I just started this so its great to hear some tips from someone who's been doing this for a while. I've seen the certifications on various sites, that's through MSPA right? I'll have to look into that. Do you mind sharing which companies you work for? I'm especially interested in the gas station shops. I haven't been able to find any of those. Thanks!

Sheila said...

Thanks Suz. I will look to see if they have anything here ;)

Erin said...

Very cool! I've always wanted to do this - thanks for the info :-)

Susan said...

Hi, I live in Dutchess County. I am not gold certified but have done shops for Bare including post office, new cars and movie theaters. I also did a great Pandora bead shop. I only do it if it's convenient for me, with the price of gas it doesn't make sense to drive 45 min for $20, but they are not hard to do and the extra money comes in handy!

Sheila said...

Suz I got my first assignment from MF. That was quick!

frugalsuz said...

I have too, I'm glad I finally got started with it.

I'm signed up with Bare Intl, but haven't done any jobs yet. How are the post office ones? I see those posted all the time. Are they a hassle?

That's great! I just got home from doing a shop at ShopRite. Spent $11.23, will get reimbursed $10.50 plus a $5 fee because it was last minute and I'll send away for a $2.69 rebate on one of the items I bought! Love it.

susan said...

The post office shops are pretty easy if you are just mailing something anyway. Read the directions carefully, for some you have to purchase a particular size box which I finally found at the UPS Store. Then you have to ship something in it. I prefer to mail what I want to who I want, lol. Waiting till the end of the month will sometimes get you a bonus too!

Anonymous said...

Can I refuse assignments? Do you have to do them once they are assigned to you? Or do you have the option of accepting/denying them? I just signed up for market force...

frugalsuz said...

Thanks for the info Susan, I'm going to keep an eye out for those jobs. Seems easy enough!

Typically, you'd search through a job board of all available assignments and only sign up for the ones that you want to do. Its very flexible - you can do as much or as little as you want.

Sheila said...

I made my first $50 doing Woodforest bank. It was so easy! TYVM and hope all is well!

frugalsuz said...

That's great Sheila! I've been shopping most days during the week. Its really nice to have a little extra money coming in.