Shopping

Mystery Shopping As A Side Hustle

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There are many times in life when a little extra spending money is needed. Personal purchases, business expenses or just opening a savings account are many ways to use that extra cash, however, it can often be hard to find ways of making it.

One of the easiest ways to add a side hustle to your life, no matter how busy it might already be, is by becoming a mystery shopper. Yes, you are probably quite skeptical, and you should be! There are lots of scammers out there just waiting to take advantage of anyone who wants to make a few easy extra dollars.

So we’ll start by saying this: if you are ever asked to pay a membership fee, or any other type of fee for that matter, you are dealing with a scammer. No legitimate mystery shop company will ever ask you to pay anything.

Mystery shops are carried out by people just like you, who work to make sure that companies are carrying on with day-to-day business as they should be. The companies that hire you to do so are very serious about good field agents and their vetting processes are all a little different.

Some mystery shops can be done from the comfort of your own home, by submitting emails or website queries and you can even mystery shop some businesses by phone. Others require you to actually visit an establishment in person, but who doesn’t like to shop?

A lot of companies will pay you a certain amount for conducting the shop plus an extra amount, agreed upon before the shop is done, for reimbursement of products they have asked you to purchase.

If you’re wondering how much money you can make doing this, well, that’s completely up to you. The more shops you accept, of course, the more money you will make. You are completely in control of your schedule with this side hustle!

If you would like to start your search for reputable companies to work for as a mystery shopper, you can start that search here.

Good luck!

Socialize the Frugal Way to Spare Your Wallet Sorrow

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Do you have some financial goals but dread that feeling of “keeping up” with your friends as they seem to always choose the most expensive outing possible? Do you love to hang out with them but hate how your debit card balance looks after a day at an amusement park or a night out downtown at the hottest clubs? Well, dread no more! Freshen up your social life and give your wallet a break by taking an initiative to suggest one of these four frugal hangout alternatives.

1. Game Night

pexels-photo-84663.jpegNothing packs fun and saving money into one package like hosting a game night. Invite friends over after dinner so all you will need to provide are a few tasty beverages and snacks, which costs far less than a night out in the town. You can spend hours with your favorite board or card games and don’t have to worry about Ubering your way home at a certain hour.

2. Potluck Food Contest

A great way to get everyone together for a meal without breaking the bank is to take a fresh spin to the potluck. By putting a competition aspect to the event, your friends will show off their edible contributions. Everyone, in turn, spends a fun evening together by spending very little, yet everyone gets to eat like a king.

3. Happy Hour Finder

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Saving money by socializing at home is fun, but getting out once in a while is still in order. The good news is that many restaurants have happy hours during the weekdays and late at night that save you money! These deals also pertain to appetizers and meals. Handy apps like Happy Hour Finder, the very app that Cosmopolitan magazine praised, connects you with all the best food and drink deals in your area. Going out doesn’t have to break the bank when you go at the right times.

4. Look Online for Free or Cheap Events

Your community hosts very cost-effective events if you keep your eyes peeled. Just take a quick trip to your city’s website. They usually have a calendar of events that are open to the public. You will be surprised to see how many free things are out there! Also, websites like Livingsocial and Groupon offer amazing deals for tickets and services. You can save up to 70% and beyond if you buy tickets in pairs which get you in the gates of a renaissance faire or in on a paint and sip night for a fraction of the original cost.

You don’t need to always dress up and go to a fancy restaurant to have a good time with friends. By replacing one of your outings with one of these frugal options, socializing will be friendlier on your finances.

Unexpected Rewards Programs the Reward Things You Already Buy

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When it comes to saving money, reward programs are an excellent way to do so. However, many people tend to over think what rewards programs they should choose. Instead of choosing a program for activities you do sparingly, you will get the most benefit for activities you do every week or even every day. These can often be unexpected, but there are a lot of reward programs out there.

Papa John’s

Let’s be real here, you probably order pizza more than you realize. It is fast, easy, and delicious while cooking for yourself is difficult and often less rewarding. Fortunately for you and your functioning pizza addiction, one of the best rewards programs out there is Papa John’s. Each order nets you points depending on what you order and what you spend. Those points add up surprisingly quickly towards what we all desire – free pizza.

Walgreens

With your health insurance as expensive as it probably is, medicine is one area you don’t expect to save on. However, if you frequently need to go to CVS or Walgreens to get your prescriptions filled, you can save. Walgreens actually beats out CVS in terms of rewards programs since it allows you to accrue points and then put those points toward hefty discounts on your purchases.

AMC

This rewards program probably depends how much you actually go out to the movies. For some people, they go on a date near every week while others only go out maybe once a year. However, if your city is overrun with AMC-owned theaters, as most cities are, you can actually get some great discounts with their rewards programs. From discounts on snacks to free movie tickets, you can accrue them all with the AMC Stubs programs. However, in return for the flat discount rates it also give, you have to pay a yearly fee of $12.

Reward Yourself With These 3 Unique Shopping Apps!

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Did you know that you no longer have to rely just on the rewards programs linked to grocery store loyalty cards and points accrued through using a store-specific credit card? There’s a handful of ways that thrifty shoppers can save money and earn cash back just by continuing to buy the same things they do anytime they hit the store. The biggest problem with these rewards programs is that many people don’t know that they exist, and if they do, where to find them so they can benefit from using them.

Here are three great rewards programs that you can start using to save money and earn cash back today!

1. Ibotta

Ibotta (use my referral link)is a super cool app that you can download to your mobile device for cash back rewards on almost anything. Once you sign up and set your location, the app will search all the stores within a pre-determined radius for all cash back opportunities. You then search for items by keyword or store and begin unlocking your deals. When you’re done shopping, you go back to the app to verify your deals by scanning the barcodes of your purchases and uploading a photo of your receipt. The cash you receive appears in your account within 24 hours, and once you hit $20 in cash back, you can request payment via PayPal. The rewards add up quickly, especially if you’re shopping for a family.

2. Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is another awesome cash back app that you can download to your mobile device. The idea is much the same as Ibotta in that you browse the cash back offers, save the ones you plan to use, buy those products from any store, then upload a photo of your receipt to redeem the cash back. After your account reaches $20 in savings, you can request payment.

3. Shopkick

Shopkick is a little different, but just as nifty in that you earn points (they call them “kicks”) just for walking through the doors of a store. Items featured in the app can be scanned to earn even more kicks. Make purchases with a card that you link with the app to earn yet even more kicks, and see just how quickly it racks up! It’s ridiculously easy to collect kicks, and you can redeem them for gift cards for just about all your favorite stores.

One of the greatest things about these apps is that they don’t cancel each other out. You can use each one simultaneously to earn all sorts of cash back, and they can be used on top of any coupons you choose to clip, as well as in-store sales. So, why not use ’em all? Reward yourself instead of kicking yourself next time you go shopping by giving these sweet apps a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose but great savings!