Have you ever thought of doing mystery shopping or mystery dining? They are great ways to make some extra money, or save money on purchases you were going to make anyway.
In short you are paid to go in to a shop and complete a task, and then feedback on the service. Some of these just require you to answer a few questions and snap a few pictures, and some are more detailed. One of my favourite ones was when I had to go in to a travel agent and pretend I wanted to book a holiday. I was given the brief and spec by the company, so I had to appear natural but also remember what I needed to say and do.
The records of my enquiries saved on the system by the agent formed part of the mystery shop and these are deleted after the feedback has been processed. Another type, which I’ve not done but which I know is super popular, is one where you have to go in to a bank (usually having made an appointment first) and make enquiries about a financial product. Sometimes you have to actually take out the product (these can be removed off your credit report after) and sometimes you even have to record the conversations with a device which you will be provided with. These are bit more effort but usually pay that bit more.
The platform I have used the most is esa-retail. Quite a few of their tasks are self serve which means you don’t have to speak to a human being before doing them, so if they are available you can just take the task. I’ve done a holiday shop enquiry through them, as well as a few supermarket audits. You can view the instructions for any of the tasks before signing up for them but they are usually pretty straight forward and easy to do. I’m a bit rubbish at lying, so tend to stick to the ones where you just have to go to a shop and look around or make a purchase, rather than make up a family at a travel agents but it’s personal preference as to what you like doing. With the shopping ones you quite often have to make a minimum purchase, but you can get this park on top of the payment, so you can get free stuff as well as getting paid for your time.
The next platform which I have used quite a bit is Red Wig Wam. They do tasks like mystery shops, but also merchandising tasks (where you go in to a shop and tidy up the shelves) right through to shift work if you are looking for the odd shift for extra money. I’ve had a load of ready meals through a task through these guys – again, you had a make a minimum purchase, but could get that back when you uploaded your receipt after the shop.
Mystery Dining is basically the same concept, but you are visiting food establishments and ordering food to eat. Some of these mystery dining sites require you to eat in, some are available as take away. The most popular one that I’ve found is MysteryDining.net. They do require that you are able to provide more detailed feedback and have a decent level of written English for their tasks, but they really are worth doing. They are a great way to feed friends and family on a budget!
On the whole, on I Beat Debt, I don’t recommend products or companies which I have no experience with, but there are so many mystery shopping companies out there that I did some research online and on this one occasion I will share some companies who I have not worked with myself, but do appear to be highly recommended online. Obviously, like anything, use your discretion and don’t use something you aren’t happy with. Here’s some of the other popular ones:
Even if you are on a diet or healthy eating plan such as Slimming World, don’t rule out mystery dining or shopping. You really can save yourself a small fortune if you meal plan or look at menus in advance of eating out!