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Wednesday, March 17

Making Money Mystery Shopping: Can it be a Full Time Job?

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is a philosophy I have found useful in the world of mystery shopping. As long as I can justify the effort to the pay, I accept just about every mystery shop I am offered. There seems to be a lot of lazy people in the world. As long as there are lazy people in the world I can make money by mystery shopping.

I expect to earn well over $2,000 in March from shopping. In addition to the fees, some of the reimbursements are pretty valuable, too. Most of my gas is free, as is a lot of my food. I'm not getting rich doing this, but I'm covering my mortgage, car payment and utilities just by mystery shopping.

For those of you interested in pursuing this, I offer this tip: be open minded, and jump on every opportunity. Your shopping will start out slow as you figure out where the good shops are and learn some shortcuts to be more efficient. But persistence will pay off. This week I am traveling through 2-3 states just to perform mystery shops.


  1. I gave a link up to this post, maybe someone will follow your whole series on this, you do so well at this!

  2. Maybe I'll try to make mystery shopping a full-time job when I get back from my trip. $2000 a month is more than I made at my last job. I guess I need to sign up for a lot more mystery shopping companies so I can find enough jobs.

  3. Marilyn - thanks for helping me spread the gospel!

    Andy - good luck. I'd like to know if the same opportunities I have exist everywhere else. Sometimes I wonder if in my area there just happens to be a shortage of shoppers, but since I regularly do shops throughout 5 states I think the opportunities are everywhere if you are motivated. How's the AT hiking going? I read that you are taking a week off.

  4. The hike is going well. I'm staying at my brother's this week but I'll be back on the trail Sunday.

    I do see lots of mystery shopping opportunities in my area but most of them pay too little to be worthwhile in my opinion.

  5. What experience have you encountered at the end of the year when calculating taxes on the hundreds(thousands?) of shops you have to process for tax?

  6. I complete 250+ shops per month. I keep a daily log of my fee income, reimbursements and miles traveled. The mileage cancels out just about all of the income so taxes on mystery shopping income are little or nothing. Mileage is your friend: you get to deduct $.50 per mile, but my vehicle costs are only $.226 per mile. Nice arbitrage play here courtesy of Uncle Sam.