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Find out how to get paid to shop online and off through apps that pay, mystery shopping and more!
I’m a big fan of getting paid to do things I already do. Fortunately, in this day and age of the smartphone, it’s easier than every to get paid watching videos, playing games, testing apps and more.
But my favorite is to make money shopping.
How can you make money shopping?
There are essentially three ways to get paid to shop; 1) Phone Apps 2) Mystery shopping, and 3) a home business. Below I’ll outline each way to make money and tips on how to incorporate making money into your regular shopping.
Smartphone Apps that Pay You to Shop
This is one of my favorite ways to make money shopping both while I’m out in the stores and online. For example, I just earned 3% back from Ebates and 2% back from Swagbucks ordering my dad’s Father’s Day present. I bought something I was going to order anyway, and I earned cash back from 2 places!
My Favorite Smartphone and Browser Apps for Getting Paid
Ebates: This program is one of the oldest online (it’s been around since 1998…like WAHS!!) and it’s gotten better over the years. Now you can not only earn cash back on your online shopping, but also in stores. One of the challenges of programs like this is knowing what stores will give you rewards. But if you add the Ebates applet to your browser, it will pop up anytime you land on a page of a company that you can earn rewards. There is also a smartphone app. There are lots of companies…over 1,700 that Ebates works with and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. I’ve earned rewards buying domains through GoDaddy, presents for friends and family from various online stores, on hotel reservations and more.
Oh…and you can earn even more my referring others. Who of your friends and family shop online or off that would like to earn money back on their shopping?
Swagbucks: Second to Ebates, I love Swagbucks. Swagbucks doesn’t pay cash, but it does earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards, coupons and sweepstakes entries. I alternate between getting Starbucks cards and Amazon Cards with my Swagbuck points. You can also choose to get cards from Target, Wal-Mart, and PayPal. Like Ebates, it has a browser add-on that will pop up if you land on a site that offers Swag Points (I love it when both Ebates and Swagbucks pops up on one site!!), plus it has a smartphone app. Along with earning points by shopping, you can build up more points by watching videos, answering questions, and completing offers.
Refer your friends to Swagbucks and you can earn $5. Plus you get a $5 signup bonus when you join!
Ibotta: Ibotta offers great rebates, but you have to remember to check the app to earn them. Select a reward (i.e. $3.00 for product), do a task, such as watch a video. and then go shopping. When you purchase the item, submit your receipt and then earn cash back. Once you’ve earned $5, which can do quickly as many products have several dollars in rewards, you can have it deposited into your PayPal account. You can earn more by referring other users.
Receipt Hogs: This company collect receipts to learn about consumer buying trends, which means you can shop anywhere and buy anything. When you’re done shopping, take a picture of your receipt, send to Receipt Hog and earn “coins” that can be paid through PayPal or with an Amazon gift card.
Paribus: To be honest, I often find dealing with reward programs is time consuming. If you feel that way, you’ll want to check out Paribus. Paribus will scan your email receipts, determine if you could have paid a lower price elsewhere, let the merchant know about the lower price, and credit your account with the difference. It’s free to sign up. Paribus takes a percentage of your savings return. You can earn higher percentages by sharing on social media and referring new users. Although I’m new to this program, I liked how quick and easy it was to sign up, and the fact that it does the research and merchant contacting for me.
SavingStar: I love earning discounts and money-back on stuff I already do and grocery shopping is something I do a lot. SavingStar allows you earn cash back from shopping at your favorite stores online and off. Find offers online, link your loyalty cards, and shop. You’ll need to scan your receipt for purchases not linked through your loyalty card. You can shop online through it’s portal (like Ebates) or use the SavingStar toolbar in your browser for savings when you shop online. There is a $5 payout threshold that is paid into your bank or PayPal.
Receipt Pal: Works like Receipt Hog, in that you scan your receipt or send an e-receipt to earn points to get gift cards.
Upromise: If you have a child heading off to college, Upromise is a great way to earn cash back for your child’s education. It works like Ebates, in that it’s a shopping portal from which you can shop and earn cash into your account. Plus you can link your credit/debit cards to your account and earn cash when dining out, getting gas and other purchases. You can also have family members join and their use of Upromise can earn cash for your child.
Checkout 51: This phone app provides great deals and money back. When you go to shop, check out current offers, select the ones you like, buy them, then snap a picture of your receipt. Once your account earns $20, you’ll get paid.
GrouponSnap: Like Checkout 51, GrouponSnap provides you with cash-back on your groceries (including Target and Wal-Mart), as well as at other stores, such as Macy’s. View and select your weekly offers, buy them, snap a picture of your receipt and submit it, all through you phone. Receive a check when your account reached $20. You can also earn $1 for each referral who redeems an offer.
Points Prizes: This site is mostly about earning points doing surveys, watching videos and taking advantage of offer. But you can get free samples. Points can be redeemed for giftcards from Amazon, PayPal, Netflix, eBay, iTunes, Spotify, The Gap, gaming sites, and more.
Don’t forget to check out all the other great apps that pay you to shop, watch videos, and more.
Mystery shoppers are essentially spies who visit businesses (or calls them on the phone) to investigate the facility, quality of service and more. The mystery shopper files a report of the experience with the mystery shop company, that then shares it with the business. Mystery shoppers can be sent into just about any type of business including big-name stores, restaurants, gas stations and more. You might even be asked to test drive a car. Other shops don’t require you to leave your home at all and instead, you’ll call companies asking for information. Others allow you to use your smartphone to make money on your regular shopping excursions.
What does mystery shopping pay?
Mystery shopping, like taking surveys, doesn’t pay enough to live on. In most cases, you’ll make $10 to $25 per shop, with a few paying up to $50. When you calculate the time to commute to the shop, as well as touring and testing the facility and writing a report, the pay isn’t great, , but it can be a fun way to make mad money.
Avoiding mystery shopping scams.
Like many work-at-home industries, there are scammers out there trying to pass off their duds as mystery shopping jobs. Never pay money to join a mystery shopping program. The legitimate mystery shopping companies never charge money to join. There are a few resources that will charge you for their list of companies, but with a little research (and checking below) you can find a list of mystery shop companies for free.
I have seen “jobs” advertised as “mystery shop” that ask you test out wire transfer companies using your personal bank account. NEVER do this. This is a fake check scam and you’ll lose money.
Check that the company is part of MSPA, an organization that provides information about mystery shopping and other customer experience resources.
How to become a mystery shopper.
To become a mystery shopping, fill out the company’s application and once accepted, you’ll either get assignments or be able to search their database for shops. Be sure to read and follow all the instructions. Shopping assignments usually have very specific tasks you need to do and report on, such as ask for customer service, check the bathroom or buy something. If you don’t do the assignment as given and report back all the details requested, you might not get paid.
Mystery Shopping Companies
Note that not all these companies may be taking on new shoppers at this time. I’ve identified some of the telephone mystery shop companies; however, some provide both home-based phone and in-person mystery shops, so it’s worth checking out all the options listed.
ARC (telephone mystery shop)
Call Center QA (phone mystery shopping)
Intellicheck (telephone mystery shop)
Perception Strategies (telephone and in-person shops)
Sassy Jobslinger (mystery shop job board)
Telexpertise (telephone mystery shop)
Yardi Matrix (phone mystery shop)
Smartphone Apps that Pay for Mystery Shopping
The shopping apps below pay (money or rewards) for visiting stores and doing tasks, such as scanning a barcode. Many pay for other non-shop tasks such as taking a quiz or watching a video.
Checkpoints: Earn points by visiting your local stores, scanning the bar codes of certain items, and other tasks. Available on iPhone and Android.
EasyShift: Pays via PayPal for tasks such as scanning a barcode, taking a photograph of displays, checking stock availability and more. It appears to be available only on iPhone at this time.
Field Agent: This is a microwork-type site except instead of doing work at home, you do tasks on the go such as checking stock availability or prices, mystery shopping, and surveys. It appears to be available only on iPhone at this time.
Gigwalk: Register and get the app, then take on assignments that interest you. Assignments can include just about anything such as getting menu information, checking road signs, and more. App available on both iPhone and Android.
iSecretShop: This is a secret shop job portal that is web or app based.
Jingit: Earn cash while you shop. Also can earn by watching videos or taking surveys. iOS and Android
Mobee: Get paid to mystery shop. Find a mission near you, review as you’re out and about, and earn cash, gift cards and prizes. iOs and Android.
Rewardable: Get paid to do tasks such as scan a barcode while you shop. Earn cash and rewards. iOs and Android.
Shopalong: Complete tasks while out and about to earn immediate rewards, typically $5 to $50 (according to the site). iOS and Android
Shopkick: Is actually a shopping app designed to help you find great stuff at the stores you visit, but it also rewards you with free stuff and “ShopKicks” that can be redeemed for gift cards. You can also do small jobs such as scanning a bar code to earn “Shopkicks”. Finally, refer your friends for more “Shopkicks.” App available on iPhone and Android.
Home Business Opportunity
I have one more resource that sends me a check every month simply for shopping with it. I figure, I use toothpaste everyday, why not get paid to brush? I order all my household goods such as cleaning products, personal care items (shampoo, soap etc), make up, and more. The products are great, safe, and environmentally-friendly. The company works similar to an online Sam’s Club, in which you have a membership ($29…sometimes there’s a special $1 enrollment) and order what you need each month. You can earn Loyalty Dollars that you can put towards your order to save or get stuff for free, plus you can earn more by referring new members who also shop. I pretty much get my products for free for helping others shop there too. If you’d like to know more, contact me here.