Is mystery shopping worth the time?

Last month I took one of my good friends out for dinner (tab: paid for by a mystery shopping assignment).

“I wish I could do that for a full time job,” he remarked.

I explained that it’s just not the kind of thing you can do fulltime: rather, it’s a great thing to do on the side. But is it worth the time put in?

Now, I don’t track every dollar, but I went back to try and nail down roughly how much I’ve made through surveys.

OCTOBER 275.00
JULY 50.00
JUNE 50.00
MAY 150.00
APRIL 92.00
MARCH 118.50
JANUARY 197.00

TOTAL = 1671.55 (Seriously, it took me something like five goes to add that up and get the same answer twice. I fail.)

And as for how much I spent, I came up with a rough total of $468.50. At the most, I’d say a margin of error of $50.

What did that get me? Prescriptions, food, alcohol, petrol and beauty products :). The actual money earned mostly went to irregular expenses or savings.

I really couldn’t say how many hours a month on average I spend on surveys, but for over $1000 net for what is very much a spare-time gig, I think I’m definitely coming out ahead. This year, I want to keep a tight rein on this income – keeping a record of all purchases, and closely tracking payments and reimbursements every single month.

3 thoughts on “Is mystery shopping worth the time?

  • Reply The Asian Pear January 12, 2010 at 12:55

    It’s okay if you couldn’t add them the first couple of tries…. You’re a journalism major right? 😉 I’m a sociology major. Same thing happens to me too. XD (Actually, I might be worse because I once said, “No… 5+2 does not equal to 3+4. No. Wait. You’re right. It does…”)

    I always sign up for these surveys and things but they never call me back. 🙁 Although I’d love to them. All I’ve ever done is surveys to get points for store credit at best.

  • Reply eemusings January 12, 2010 at 16:30

    That’s super annoying. Most of the companies I work with release their assignments on the website and it’s a stampede to snatch the plum jobs. One only sends out jobs via email though, and I never used to get any until I started working FT and had my email open constantly!

  • Reply Carnivalistic fun « Musings of an Abstract Aucklander January 19, 2010 at 20:50

    […] 19, 2010 My post on whether mystery shopping is worth the time and effort was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance, Haiti edition at milliondollarjourney and […]

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