Do you sometimes find that you run out of money before you run out of month? These days it seems as though everyone is looking for ways to make more money and make the money they have go further.
Mystery shopping can help you make up a budget shortfall in a few ways. Here are some of the ways you can use secret shopping to help your finances.
Use secret shopping to get some of the “extras” your budget can not accommodate. It may be that spending $150 on dinner out, or getting away to a hotel for the weekend, is not something you could usually afford. However, if you are doing it as part of a mystery shop, you do not have to pay the bill.
Choose shops where you are reimbursed for something you need. It can be fun to get a fine dining shop where you get to splurge on an expensive meal; however, a shop where you get an oil change for your car, groceries, a haircut, eyeglasses or something else you really need may be more important. Look for shops where you get reimbursed for things you would have purchased even without the mystery shop.
Earn extra money. In addition to reimbursements, many shops pay a fee. And mystery shopper jobs that do not include a reimbursed expense (e.g., banks, car dealers, apartments) will generally have larger fees than those where you receive something of value, such as products, a meal or a service. Looking for fee-only shops may be a good way to put more cash in your pocket.
Use credit cards wisely, and get rewarded. Although some shops will specify that you are to pay cash, usually you may use any payment method you wish. Paying with a credit card that gives you rewards—cash, airline miles, gift cards or other benefits—means that you get rewarded for spending someone else’s money! Just make sure you are not paying interest on those purchases, as that will cost you money.
Turn expenses into tax deductions. As an independent contractor, you may deduct the reasonable and necessary costs of doing business. For secret shoppers, those expenses may include at least some of the cost of Internet access, computers, car expenses, supplies, cell phone service and other necessary expenditures. That means that some things you were paying for before you became a mystery shopper will now be at least partially deductible. For example, you probably had a monthly bill for Internet access, but as a mystery shopper you may deduct the portion of the expense that represents your business use. You have converted a formerly after-tax expense to one that is paid with tax-free dollars, leaving more money in your pocket.
Make wise choices when choosing mystery shopper jobs and you can add a tidy sum to your family’s bottom line.