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Monday, August 26

Mystery Shopping Road Trip: Week Three Recap

My second full week is in the books.  I have now completed 60 of the 157 shops on this route, including 26 in Week 3.

Last week I started east of Dallas, working my way through rural Texas.  I spent a day in the Beaumont area before following I-10 to New Orleans.  My car  (AKA the Magical ATM Machine) is currently parked at the New Orleans airport as I flew home to complete a time share mystery shop.

Week Three Gross:  $2132
Week Three Expenses:  $594
Week Three Net Income:  $1538

I set a goal of having $879 in weekly net income.  I did even better last week.  I kept my expenses low by mystery shopping two of my 7 hotels and by calling up Delta Downs (owned by Boyd Gaming) and asking for a free stay.  The old adage, "It never hurts to ask" was proven true by that little experiment.  Of course, the $200 contribution I made to the one-armed bandit hardly justified my free hotel, buffet and glass of wine, but it didn't hurt too bad.  So, three hotels were free and two were under $40 (using points + dollars rewards redemptions with Hilton Honors).  I only paid the going rate for one hotel night last week.  Using my AAA discount, that room was $71.

All my expenses are being tracked through four categories:  hotel, food, gas and other.  I don't worry too much about gas - the only way I control that is by driving the speed limit and filling up when I see lower prices.  Once again I find my food spending intriguing.  Last week I spent $68 on food.  What I have discovered is that I only need to spend money on the last meal of the day.  Grabbing a banana or box of cereal at the free hotel breakfast sustains me through lunch.  Some nights I "splurge" on a decent meal; others I spend $3 on fast food.

The route picks back up in New Orleans on September 1st.

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