Friday, 13 September 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Mystery Shopping

I know it's not technically Thursday anymore but I desperately needed an old person nap before work this evening so my blog post was sacraficed slightly!

I'll admit it, when I was at college with a part-time job and nothing to spend my earnings on other than my car, I was a rather frivolous spender. Coffee shops and the inevitable accompanying cake was verging on a daily expense and it was easy to not think twice about buying the latest Topshop outfit I had my eye on.

Since starting university two years ago, my bank card spends less time in Starbucks and Topshop and more time in my purse, as moving out brings with it many financial commitments. My boyfriend and I have also started to save for a house so that means being even more savvy when it comes to spending.
Image courtesy of twobee at

I'm no money expert and we could have saved more money by working every day and only spending money on essentials like food, bills and rent, but we've managed to strike a good balance. We still socialise and treat ourselves and travel, as that's what we love but we've definitely picked up some money-saving tips along the way.

This is the first in what will be a series of posts sharing with you some ways that we have saved money so I thought I'd start with one of the first things I did to save money - Mystery Shopping.

Firstly, it's important to note that very few people are able to actually make money mystery shopping. You should see mystery shopping more as a way to treat yourself for free, that's not to say that people don't make money, I know someone living in London who made around £350 a month mystery shopping (not accounting for his travel expenses). But how many assignments you can get and how much they pay is very much location dependant.

I signed up to a few mystery shopping sites and passed the required tests (they vary from site to site but they generally aim to test your writing/spelling skills). Once I was officially a mystery shopper, I was able to start accepting assignments. Until I turned 20, age restriction mystery shops were the most common assignments that I completed - they're generally quick and it's possible to make a worthwhile amount of money. Age restriction assignments involve purchasing age restricted products in stores where there is a Think 21 or Think 25 policy, other assignments can range from restaurant trips to making purchases in high street clothing retailers.

Image courtesy of Apolonia at

Payment is divided into two or three categories, depending on the company. All companies tend to have a completion fee and a reimbursement, and some also cover travel costs. Where travels costs aren't covered it's important to consider whether you'll actually end up spending more than you are saving, or getting for 'free'.

Seems like a great way to get something for nothing right? It is a great idea, but there are some important things to remember:

  • Don't ever pay to become a mystery shopper unless you are completely sure that the site is genuine. I'm aware of a few sites that ask you to hand over money before you can begin mystery shopping and I stay well clear. There are plenty of sites that don't ask for money.
  • Make sure you read and completely understand the assignment instructions, otherwise you may not get any money for the assignment.
  • Consider how long the post-visit report will take you to write before you accept the assignment.

There are loads of Mystery Shopping companies out there but here are a few to get you started, just remember -do your research before you sign up!

TNS Global
GfK Mystery Shopping



  1. sounds awesome! i definitely need to stop over spending and start saving too.

    from Brigitte at // BreezeyBee Blog | BlogLovin'

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  2. Loved this post - Im just going into my second year at uni and still living at home and knowing that Il be in your shoes one day soon has just made me what to go on a bit of a shopping buzz to enjoy spending money while i can before i do have to start saving ;)

    Iv also decided to give mystery shopping ago and I cant wait to read the next posts in this series

    LUVS THAT | Megan and Nicole