How to maximise your success and your finances as a mystery shopper!
By: Kayleigh, redwigwam
At redwigwam we often have mystery shopping roles which require you to make a purchase. These purchase amounts can vary greatly – sometimes it’s a couple of pounds, sometimes upwards £100.
When you take on these roles, it is important you ensure you don’t leave yourself short of money and are able to cover the expenses until we reimburse you. While we pride ourselves on getting our workers paid in the quickest possible time, sometimes payments are delayed beyond our control, especially if there is a query on your timesheet.
So, we thought we’d put this blog together to help with ideas on how to make the most of being a mystery shopper and avoid running into financial difficulty.
Use a Credit Card
One option you could try is to use a credit card specifically for mystery shop purchases. This way you’re not spending the money in your account, and you will be building up your credit score as you go along.
Martin Lewis recommends the following tips to get the best from a reward credit card:
- Set up a direct debit to pay back what you owe in full each month to avoid having to pay interest
- Don’t view your credit card as a reason to overspend, just spend what you would usually
- Check you can make the most of the rewards that the specific cards are offering you and that they meet your needs i.e., some offer Nectar Points, Amazon gift cards, Air Miles etc. Make sure you get a card that’s going to give you a reward that you can actually make use of!
- If you have debts, clear them before taking out a rewards card
- Don’t borrow or withdraw cash using these cards
Wigwammer Carole has shared her advice with us about how she uses credit cards to help to manage her mystery shopping roles:
“I tend to use my AmEx card as it’s linked to Nectar, so I get Nectar points which I save up to buy my drinks at Christmas.
I’ve also got a credit card which I get points on and can convert them to vouchers for airline miles, Sainsburys, M&S etc. I’ve got it set to send them automatically so every few months I get a £5 Amazon voucher in the post.
Have a look for a cash back credit card, most banks do them!”
Build Up Your Profile
As a mystery shopper, your income won’t be a fixed amount each month, but as you become more accustomed to these types of roles, learn what is expected of you, and start to deliver good results for a company, you’ll usually find you begin to receive preferential treatment.
When you work for redwigwam, we have a star rating system which allows each hirer to rate you when you complete a job.
If you earn a 4 or 5-star rating, you’ll be matched to jobs first, meaning you have the pick of shifts.
Think transferable skills
You can also build up your skills which could help you if you wanted to apply for other jobs. Some of the transferable skills you’ll learn as a mystery shopper will include: communication, interpersonal skills, timekeeping, teamwork and organisation skills to name just a few.
And don’t forgot you can condense all this into a redwigwam certification by completing our e-learning module on mystery shopping.
Manage your finances
If mystery shopping is your main source of income, managing your finances is essential, as the amount you earn is never guaranteed.
It’s a good idea to try to work out a rough average of the amount you earn, you can then make a note of all the bills you need to pay. Even if you have another job and are using mystery shopping as an extra stream of income, it is still handy to map out all your bills, so you know how much money you need and when for.
Keep a record of expenses so you know how much money you are due back if you’ve completed an assignment which involves making a purchase. This could be an electronic record, or you could buy yourself a separate diary for mystery shopping purposes.
And please make sure you keep all your receipts safe as they are essential to being reimbursed.
It is also a good idea to have a savings account for unexpected expenses. Set yourself some financial goals, which can include long and short term. Think about how you’d like your financial situation to be in the next 6 to 12 months and then how you’d like it to look in 3 to 5 years. Do you have a sinking fund for upcoming events such as birthdays, Christmas or a holiday, and another savings account for a bigger purchase such as a house?
Of course, you don’t have to follow all this advice to be a successful mystery shopper, but we do hope you find it useful.
Try a Variety of Roles
One final tip is to try out different types of roles to add to your knowledge and experience, and to complete any courses and accreditations you come across. Mystery shopping can be competitive at times, so it is good to have the edge over other people and put yourself in prime position to secure as much work as you can.
Overall, mystery shopping is a worthwhile job choice, especially when there are plenty of freebies involved.