Written By Patsy Grant, Customer Impact Scheduler

I am always amazed when a shopper turns down a job because it does not pay enough.  I think many of those shoppers forget to factor in the fact that, in addition to the shopper fee, they usually also get reimbursed for a meal, a product, or a service.

I started mystery shopping after a financial setback put me in a situation where I had no discretionary income (income after taxes and necessities are paid). If I wanted to go out to eat or take my sons to the movies, I needed to get reimbursed.  It really was as simple as that.  It was not just the shopper fee that motivated me, but the opportunity to go out and do things I would not otherwise have been able to afford.  Mystery shopping offered me those opportunities.

mystery-shopping$1 Saved is $1.25 Earned. That might not seem right at first, but it is exactly that if you are in a 20% tax bracket.  You will have to earn $1.25 to have $1 to spend after you have paid your taxes.  So, in order to purchase an item for $20, you would need to earn $25.

While our shops have a wide range of shopper payments and reimbursements, many of our fast food shops total $20 in shopper payment and reimbursement.  If it is a place you would eat anyway, simply writing a report would free up $25 for investment in a pretax retirement account or $20 for other after-tax purchases or investments.

Let’s continue with the above example and suppose I did, on average, two shops per week.  At the end of a year, I could have an extra $2,080 in my pocket (104 x $20) or $2,600 (104 x $25) in my pre-tax investment account.  That is roughly 10% of the mean per capita income in the US.  When you calculate in interest, these numbers add up fast.  (The $2600 per year pre-tax figure above, invested in monthly increments, compounded annually at a 5% rate for ten years, would yield more than $33,500.)  And that is with just two fast food shops per week.  We also offer fine dining shops that are well in excess of $100.  How would you like to go to one of the most highly acclaimed steakhouses in the country, get reimbursed for your meal, and get paid to do it?

Mind the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.  There are many examples of how practicing frugality increases your wealth.  Many of today’s millionaires never made power salaries, but what they did well was to live beneath their means and invest, rather than spend.  While you may not get rich mystery shopping, it can certainly help you increase your discretionary income so that you can enjoy things you might otherwise not be able to afford and/or free up some of your budget for other things.


 To become a mystery shopper for Customer Impact,
go to the New Shopper Sign-Up on our webpage

To find other reputable mystery shopping companies, log onto the Mystery Shopping Providers Association 

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