The holidays are just around the corner. Your children have probably presented you with their list of demands…uh, gift ideas, and you are preparing to start buying the gifts, foods, cards and other holiday trappings. You may be wondering how much of your holiday spending you can cover with mystery shopping assignments.
Here are some ideas to help you make your time and money go further this holiday season.
Many retail mystery shops do not have a significant reimbursement, so buying a lot of gifts with secret shopper dollars is probably not realistic. However, you may be able to pick up a few items, such as batteries, cards and stocking stuffers with your reimbursements.
You can also save time by combining mystery shopping with holiday shopping. While you are at the mall doing a few shop assignments, pop in to another store or two and pick up items on your shopping list.
You may even be able to buy a few gifts while mystery shopping, if you are fortunate enough to get assignments in the right stores. Even if they are in excess of the maximum reimbursement, buying gifts while on a mystery shop can save you time. Make sure that even if you are doing your personal shopping you follow the shop guidelines to the letter. Don’t get so wrapped up in choosing gifts that you forget to follow the shop scenario. (Note: Some clients will not mind if you go over your reimbursement limit, but others want you to make only a small, token purchase. Read the guidelines carefully to make sure that you may buy items totaling more than your reimbursement maximum.)
Some restaurant shops now pay with gift cards. That means that when you do the shop, you pay out of pocket, then receive reimbursement in the form of a gift card for the restaurant. Rather than return to the restaurant, you may choose to give the gift card to someone on your shopping list who would enjoy the meal. (This can be a better deal than it may seem. Some of the gift card shops reimburse a flat amount, even if you spent less. Keep your expenses low, and you pocket the difference.)
Of course, another way mystery shopping can help is by helping you to earn some extra cash to finance your holiday celebrations. Although you may not be paid until January for many shops performed during November and December, if you take advantage of your credit cards’ grace period, you may have the cash in time to pay for your holiday spending. (The grace period typically only applies if you do not carry a balance. That is why it is useful to have a credit card you use for mystery shopping that you pay off, in full, every month.)
With a little planning, mystery shopping can help to make your holiday season brighter by saving time and bringing in extra cash to fund your purchases. Happy holidays!