Paying For Your Holiday Shopping By Doing Your Holiday Shopping

by : Melanie R. Jordan

Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us. If you're smart, whether you are first considering mystery shopping, or are a seasoned mystery shopper, this year, instead of running up the credit card bills, how about doing your holiday shopping the smart way? By getting paid while doing it!

I am not a big fan of relying on retail mystery shopping as a major source of income. Top-earning mystery shoppers focus on conducting research for companies that fall into the service category such as apartment complexes, home builders, financial service companies, testing centers, car dealers and fitness centers, and do the technology-based shops (audio and video-taped). But since you are likely going to be hitting the malls and your local stores, as well as eating out more as you rush around trying to get everything done once the season is in full swing, you might as well have a game plan in place to get paid for as much of that effort as possible.

For those of you who are new to retail mystery shopping, you can expect to make $7-$25 for each retail-based assignment you do between actual cash and free merchandise. The more you are asked to do, the more the assignment pays. I suggest that everyone focus on the best-paying retail shops--"purchase and return" shops, where you buy something and then return it anywhere from a half an hour to a day later to report on how both parts of the transaction were handled. So, for example, if you did 10 of these shops, you would make $250 to help stretch the holiday budget. Plus, while you are out and about, you can take on a fast-food or restaurant shop and have that paid for as well.

Once the holidays are over, if you enjoyed the experience, you can keep doing mystery shopping as an ongoing source of income on a flexible schedule. If there is a good demand for mystery shoppers in your area, it is entirely possible to make up to $1,000 in a month's time in actual cash and high-end freebies depending upon the types of assignments you do. Mystery shoppers in strong markets who get into the hot new fields of audio and video mystery shopping can make double this amount. Many good shoppers make between $300 and $600 monthly.

So how do you get these assignments to help pay for your holiday shopping and maybe even launch a new, home-based career as a professional mystery shopper? I go over the many ways to do this in great detail, along with lots of other great tips and techniques in my book "The Perfect Work-At-Home Job: Mystery Shopping". But feel free to start by visiting the "Mystery Shopper Lead Resources" page of my web site for a few free links at (click on the left-hand button that says "Leads").

There's a lot more to being a professional, top-earning mystery shopper than just this, but it's a way for you to dabble, make some money this holiday season and get a feel for what is possible. And for those of you who regularly do mystery shopping, this is a great time to make retail and fast food shops worthwhile and use your time wisely for the upcoming holiday season.

Copyright 2002, Melanie R. Jordan E-Publishing