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Friday, April 2

A Month in the Life of a Mystery Shopper


I haven't posted in nearly a week because I've been mystery shopping so much. For March I set a new record. I earned $3,294 in fees and $1,130 in reimbursements. In case you don't have a calculator handy, that's close to $40,000 annually if I could keep up the pace.

It wasn't easy. In fact, I drove over 6,000 miles in March. That's $1,356 in vehicle expenses. Fortunately a large part of the reimbursement was for fuel, so the actual vehicle expense was less.

I did a little of everything last month, but gas stations were #1 by a wide margin, followed by restaurants. Some of the other shops included working out at a gym, checking out a mini-storage, confirming the right ads were playing at the second run movie theatre and getting my carpets cleaned.

I hope I can make the month of April just as busy, but I'm close to capacity as there were few slow days. My only hope is that I become increasingly more efficient with planning and paperwork/data entry.

Tonight I'll be spending the night at a business-class hotel as part of a mystery shop. Of course, I would never waste all that travel time: I'll be visiting 17 gas stations on the way and several on the return trip.


  1. That is impressive. I am planning on increasing my mystery shopping this month but there aren't many shops available. I guess I need to sign up for a few more companies.

  2. My problem is that I have 2 little ones & cannot take them with me on my shops...if I could, I too would be quite busy. As it is now, I have to schedule shops around my husbands schedule (which is quite tight). We hardley ever see him.

  3. Hi! I am the Vice President of the IMSC ~ Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition. I was hoping to get in touch with My Frugal Miser so we can discuss the upcoming IMSC Conference in Las Vegas this summer. You can contact me at Thanks!

  4. Andy... I'm itching to come to KC and prove you wrong (or, at the least, to find out if the phenomenon really is isolated to my neck of the woods). At the end of the month I'll be driving to Omaha so maybe I'll have the chance to try my hand at Kansas City shopping.

    Vermont... I totally understand your challenge. Some shops specifically require you to be alone. What about gas stations? Wouldn't you be able to take them along for some of those?

    Servanne... check your email. Thanks.

  5. I'm just curious..which company do you mystery shop for? It's something I'd like to try but want to find a company thats reputable..

  6. Stephanie, I shop several. Since you are just getting started, I would recommend you select a couple companies that have national accounts: and There are hundreds of companies out there but these two have several national clients... you'll have a chance to see whether you like it or not before spending a ton of time signing up with other companies. Best of luck!

  7. Stephanie,

    There are several free resources available to help you get started and network with other shoppers and companies. Having worked as a shopper, scheduler, editor and recruiter before launching Integrity Consultants, I've worked in one capacity or another on just about every type of shop there is and used most if not all of these resources myself. One of the most important things I explain to new shoppers is that you don't need to pay to mystery shop. Here's an article with some of these resources that should be very helpful to you and other readers.!/topic.php?uid=118302991638&topic=13992

    To My Frugal Miser, Very nice blog! Thank you for sharing.