I enjoy mystery shopping. I think it’s a lot of fun, and it’s a fun way to save money by letting other people pay for things and make a little side cash.
The benefits of mystery shopping
What I love about mystery shopping is that you have a lot of freedom. You can schedule the appointments yourself, make phone calls when the kids are napping and it’s all on your schedule, for the most part.
I also love that you can get things for free, plus make a little money on them. While you may not make a ton, your net gains can really add up. We have done a lot of oil changes through mystery shopping, as well as restaurant trips. I really love eating out, so I like being able to do it on someone else’s dime. 😉
The downside of mystery shopping
While I think mystery shopping can be a real asset to your household’s budget when you’re tight on money, it definitely does have some drawbacks. First, you can’t take children on a lot of shops, so as a stay at home mom that can be a hassle. I’ve sent Ian out on some mystery shop trips but have missed out on quite a few opportunities because we have little people. Of course, hiring a babysitter for restaurant mystery shops would defeat the purpose, but it’s also an issue with some other retail shops.
The other issue, my biggest issue with mystery shopping, is that it’s not renewable and it doesn’t build. There’s no higher income potential from mystery shopping and when you stop working, so does the income. Even with income sources like AirBNB, as you host more guests or add in other amenities you can increase your prices.
The problem with non-renewable income is that if you need a break because you’re sick or burned out, or you’re just plain busy, then you lose your income. That’s frustrating because often times when you’re in a busy season that’s when you need extra money, not less!
But what about those bloggers who make tons of money mystery shopping?
I hear this a lot actually. Someone sees a blog post about how one blogger makes $800 a month doing only mystery shopping, and they get so pumped up because they think they can do it too. Here’s the truth about those kinds of blog posts:
- Most bloggers share their mystery shopping referral links to give them money. That probably makes them more money than the actual shopping itself. )That’s part of the reason why I didn’t include any links here, so you know I’m not recommending any specific company because I don’t have any selfish motivation to recommend something specific to you.)
- After asking a lot of people, the most I’ve ever heard a real-life person make
Conclusions about mystery shopping
Mystery shopping is definitely not a bad way to get services for free or cheap, and to make a little extra money doing it. If you are trying to reach a short-term goal then it’s a good way to reach it. If you need an income boost long term, then I wouldn’t recommend it.
I did do mystery shopping for a while, and