How to Earn Money as a Mystery Shopper

Ever wondered how people earn money mystery shopping? Well, my friend Chelsea is doing a 31-day series on her blog this month on How to Earn Money as a Mystery Shopper.

Here’s what she says:

Would you like to be making extra income by Christmastime? How would you like to be reimbursed for some of the gifts you buy in addition to that income? I would love to help you get there!

Every day in October, I will be sharing tips, suggestions, and information in my series: Earn Money as a Mystery Shopper. We will be debunking mystery shopping myths (like mystery shopping is more work than it’s worth!) and find out my favorite companies to work for, how to set yourself up for success, and more.

fter reading about mystery shopping on two years ago, I completed my first job and was hooked. Since then, each month I have been able to use that income to expand our monthly budget. It is a job I am passionate that almost anybody can take on, and it’s the perfect, creative opportunity to save money or pay down existing debt. I hope you’ll be able to join me!

This was something I did when Jesse and I were first married. It can be a lot of work, but it really does work and, once you get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun, too!

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  1. says

    I can’t wait to read this series, I have always wanted to do that, but was not sure what companies were legit or non-legit. Glad there are sites like these that help us figure out which ones are the best! Thanks

  2. michelle says

    I have done mystery shops for several years for about 10 different companies. The pay/reimbursement is typically $10 and took me 1 – 1 1/2 hours with shopping time and time to type up the report. It was very fun to feel like I was shopping for free! However, if you have small children often they are not supposed to join you as they are a distraction to giving your full attention to the shop.

  3. melissa says

    I never knew if this was legit either. Sounds interesting, but I live in a small town with a Walmart and a Food Lion, Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday’s and a handful of fast food restaurants. I’d be interested to know if this is something that someone like me could still do.

    • Jessica Claire says

      Sure is something you could do! Arbys, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, and SO many more to even name! They even have breakfast, lunch or dinner to choose from a lot of times! Also stores like Meijer and Target along with TONS of mall stores!!

    • sarah y says

      Melissa: Most towns have several gas stations. These can also be mystery shopped. In smaller areas the number of jobs can be limited but if you are going to be in a city anyway you often pick up an assignment or two or three. One thing to remember though is that you have to complete most shops on your own (not necessarily fast food but things like gas station, bank, etc) which means that if you have children you may have to make arrangements for them to be a babysitters or grandparents while you complete the work.

  4. Kristen Cowan says

    I love Mystery Shopping! I usually do between 3 and 10 shops a month depending on the extra time I have. It’s not just for food! My favorite shop lately has been a shop where I can get reimbursed for my Pandora charms ($70 each) at various locations. Love getting nice things for basically free!

    • Christina says

      I would love to know what company does pandora. I have been dojng this for years and havent found that one.

    • says

      There are too many to list here. A good place to start is However, this series will cover that specific question in quite a bit of depth, so if you want more details, it would be a good place to look. :-)

  5. Tanya Galloway says

    Can you tell me how to contact the secret shopping companies? I have wanted to do this for years but did not know where to find them.


    • says

      You can get in touch with them by filling out applications on a legitimate site like If you’re approved, the companies will start emailing you offers in your area. If it’s something you’re really interested in, I’d recommend checking out the series linked in this post. It will answer a lot of your questions on the process!

  6. DL says

    Can someone tell me if you provide these companies with your Social Security number to get paid? I have experienced this, and it kept me from participating with some companies. I suppose it’s standard. I have also heard that if you don’t respond perfectly (ie – the correct form in a certain amount of time) you won’t get reimbursed. Can someone give more details, please?

    • says

      SS #’s are required for proof of income purposes. Also, each company is different on report guidelines. But for the most part, there is a time deadline (typically 12 hours from shop completion) and if you make errors, your report is sent back for correction. I’ve only had a report sent back once.

      • Nina says

        I got a free business tax ID #, which is very easy to attain online. I use that in place of using my SSN# when I sign up with these mystery shopping companies.