The $50k thread had me thinking today while I was driving. In relation to $$ left over after taxes and expenses and quality of life, how do you think Shopping income stacks up against "normal" income? I'm mostly talking about people who shop full time compared to someone with a normal 8 to 5 job.
Let's take a hypothetical shopper who, after actual expenses (not deductions but ACTUAL expenses: gas, wear and tear, supplies, etc) clears $40,000 a year. First, how do they compare in actual $$ left over at the end of the month to someone with a regular 8-5 job who also makes $40,000 a year? When you factor in less grocery cost, less eating out cost, oil changes, paying less taxes on income thanks to huge mileage deductions. Obviously this is going to vary as some people had rather pay for food on a route instead of doing a shop for it (LISA!), etc. Just curious on thoughts.
Second part of that, what about quality of life? I'm not talking about long hours, etc. I'm talking about things like eating at restaurants you couldn't normally afford. Racking up hotel points on shops and getting a vacation every year you couldn't afford, that kind of thing. Again, I know some shoppers don't do many shops that would increase that and some shoppers only do those. I imagine most full time shoppers do some but not a lot.
For me, I'm used to being self employed and paying ridiculous taxes because of it, and I feel like I can make at least 20% less per year and still have the same amount of money left over at the end of the month. As for quality of life, I'm guessing maybe a 10-15% bump. Again, there's no science to it, just guesses based on experience. I haven't been doing this long so kind of interested in others' opinion, especially those who are doing this full time and have been doing it awhile.
Just thought it might make an interesting discussion.
There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
At the very least, my quality of life has improved with this gig.
I used to travel 4-5 days per week with my 'regular' job. I would wake up in chain hotels some mornings and have no idea where I was...they all look alike. I was never home, I had no time to do things I enjoyed, and I worked regularly 12-14 hour days. I frequently was away from home straight through the weekend. The 'payoff' was the salary...well over 6 figures. I burnt out, and I quit....gave notice and exited gracefully.
I now make less than a third what I used to, but I make my own hours, I'm home weekends, I get to choose shops that I enjoy, I always know where I am :-), and I have time to do the things I really enjoy. (Art quilting anyone??)
I have a lot of years left till retirement, so I need to make due with the income I earn now. I have managed for the last two years, and I have enjoyed almost all of it!
I wouldn't mind knowing the answer to that as well...
According to Census data, median income in the U.S. is $50,000. That means some people may make much more or less than that, but most people make around that. If that is true, and assuming $30,000 or even $40,000 is a realistic estimate of the yearly earnings that can be made doing mystery shopping, it'd still fall below that $50,000 in face value, yet I would still think quality of life as a mystery shopper would still be much better than that of a min. wage job where annual income might be something like $18,000 a year and without all of the perks that can come with mystery shopping, but I don't know.
I'm sure some of the more experienced shoppers probably have a better idea about this than I do.
I wasn't really looking for estimates of how much shoppers should make or information about more free time, setting own hours etc. I'm asking more of...someone making $20,000 a year as a mystery shopper has the same amount of $$$ after taxes, etc as someone working a normal job making $21,456. Not that exact of course, just kind of a rough idea.
In the same vein, someone making $20,000 gets to do things like eat expensive meals, go to the movies, vacation in nice hotels, at about the same rate as someone making $28,765 in a normal job. Or whatever.
There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Just because it is the median does not mean "most" people make around $50,000. Take a group of 10 people, five of them make minimum wage, two make $30,000 a year, two make $50,000 and one makes $250,000. The median for that group will be $48,540 and only three make $50,000 or above.
Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
> I wasn't really looking for estimates of how much
> shoppers should make or information about more
> free time, setting own hours etc.
The quality of life and affordability will vary by the shoppers location as well, so it's not that simple.
The one thing I maintain is true is that a shopper will get the most value out of shopping if they are employed outside of the MS industry in addition to shopping. Here's how I come to that conclusion.
I tried to make a living FT as a shopper when I was unemployed and first discovered it. While I have an amazing selection of jobs where I live, the cost of living is quite high and the cost of transportation even more so. I was required to accept assignments I didn't really want in order to bring in the income I needed to get by. Annually, I made much less that anyone could live on in my area but got by with the perks of shopping. My quality of life was poor, however. I worked 7 days per week and often did not have a choice in the food I was eating.
I then took a job for an MSC which paid me above the medium income. I could get by on it, but the company prohibited me from shopping while I was an employee and my quality of life was in many ways worse that when I was a FT shopper, since I received none of the perks and spent my days reviewing reports of others' 5-star vacations.
In the end, I returned to the workforce outside of MSing and continued to shop for lifestyle perks. Medical and detail paid. Better salary the the MSC paid me. I can now pick and choose my shops, taking only the best ones. I haven't paid for a vacation in over 7 years. Much better and happier lifestyle.
While I had trouble generating $30k of profit shopping full time, I can generate over $50k in reimbursements alone with only a part time effort, not to mention the credit card points, hotel and air miles, etc. If you can make $50k in another job and shop like that, you have the lifestyle of someone that makes six figures.
Much like Steve pointed out, to me the ideal situation is to have a reasonable and steady income from a non-MS job, and then supplement it with shops as an independent contractor. That way, you have guaranteed income, insurance, 401k, vacations, etc. from the job, and you can pick and choose only those shops that are fun or highly profitable. Works for me anyway, although I doubt that many of you shoppers do what I do for a living outside the mystery shopping world.
Lisa said "Just because it is the median does not mean "most" people make around $50,000. Take a group of 10 people, five of them make minimum wage, two make $30,000 a year, two make $50,000 and one makes $250,000. The median for that group will be $48,540 and only three make $50,000 or above."
The Median is the "middle number" (in a sorted list of numbers)
So by my calculation, since it is an even number you add salary number 5 and 6. Which is minimum wage (I don't know how much this is a year) plus 30,000 and divide by two.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2013 03:10PM by pony123lucy.
No one told me there was math on this test!
Duz speling countt two???
Oh, and by the way...
Hate to sound "mean", but you are all wrong on "median." That is the thing that separates traffic lanes moving in opposite directions. I should know, given my "mode" of transportation.
it will largely depend what type of shopper you are.
I prefer to do 30 shops in one day, over doing 10 shops a day
for 3 days. Would rather have the 2 days to do nothing.
I have numerous permanent routes for various msc's that
all pay well. I've said it before, if you want the good routes
you need to hunt down the botique msc's that frequently
only have 1 or 2 clients. They are smaller msc's but generally
offer more personalized service, are more friendly, more understanding
pay above industry average and don't treat you like a number like some of the big msc's do.
As for as median.....lets not confuse median...with mean...or average.
= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2013 03:00PM by techman01.
Mean = average
Mode = number that appears most frequently in a list
Median = middle number
So for Lisa's example above:
The mode is minimum wage.
The median is what Pony calculated - salary 5 and 6, divided by 2.
The mean is what Lisa calculated (although I am not sure what she used for minimum wage since it varies from place to place).
If the "median" income in the US is $50,000 - that means, 50% of the population make less than $50,000, and 50% of the population make more than $50,000.
Always take the high road.
I think I did a poor job explaining my original question so I'll try again. I'm using fictional numbers to make the math easy.
Let's say I'm used to making $100,000 per year at my normal 8-5 job. After taxes I'm bringing home $70,000. I decide to quit my job and start mystery shopping instead. Taking into consideration all FINANCIAL things only, what's an equivalent mystery shopping income? Do you think it would need to be more or less than $100k to be the same? For instance, let's say I make $100,000 this year, but I drive 100,000 miles to do it. For tax purposes my $100k just became $45k. Let's say taxes on $45k would be $10k. Well now that $100k after taxes would be $90k, let's say you have other expenses that increase because you don't have a "regular" job (like health insurance) that equal $10k. Now that bringing home number is $80k, compared to $70k to my "normal" job. So for these numbers $100k mystery shopping income would be a little over 10% better than a "regular" $100k income. *THAT'S* the number I'm looking for. I know it would vary a decent amount, but in general, what do you think the difference is? Should a mystery shopper aim higher or lower than a "real job" income to get the same "at the end of the month I have x left over number."
* yes I know these numbers are not accurate.
** yes I know like 2 people in the world might make $100k from mystery shopping
*** yes I know nobody is going to quit a full time job and suddenly be making full time shopper income
**** yes I know there are other considerations like amount of time involved, I'm just looking for $$$$$ comparisons only.
***** yes I know I missed some $$$$ factors, that's why I'm asking this question.
There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
> I wouldn't mind knowing the answer to that as
> According to Census data, median income in the
> U.S. is $50,000. That means some people may make
> much more or less than that, but most people make
> around that. If that is true, and assuming $30,000
> or even $40,000 is a realistic estimate of the
> yearly earnings that can be made doing mystery
> shopping, it'd still fall below that $50,000 in
> face value, yet I would still think quality of
> life as a mystery shopper would still be much
> better than that of a min. wage job where annual
> income might be something like $18,000 a year and
> without all of the perks that can come with
> mystery shopping, but I don't know.
> I'm sure some of the more experienced shoppers
> probably have a better idea about this than I do.
FYI-Median means the mid point. In other words, if the median income is stated as 50k, then that is midway between the highest and lowest income in the sample group.. Average income of 50k would mean that most people are close to that, leaving out extreme outliers.
Example: if 1 person makes 100k, and 10 people make 10k, the median would be the middle of the two number, or 55k. The average of those same 11 people would be 18k. Big difference in how you interpret numbers. Great book to read: How to Lie With Statistics. It was required reading during my college days for rhetoric....and it explains how people can be extremely misleading with facts without outright lying about them. (Think political parties, ads, and candidates!)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2013 07:45PM by quilter.
> Example: if 1 person makes 100k, and 10 people make 10k, the median would be the middle of the
> two number, or 55k.
Actually Quilter, that is incorrect. The median in your example is 10k. That is the middle number, if you list them out. Five numbers above, five numbers below. The middle number is the median in a list of numbers.
Always take the high road.
bg - Maybe you could make a go of it if you MSed full time and had an assistant professorship just for the benefits, teaching something like "Statistical Analysis for Mystery Shopping." Seems to be both a need and demand.
> quilter Wrote:
> > FYI-Median means the mid point.
> > Example: if 1 person makes 100k, and 10 people
> make 10k, the median would be the middle of the
> > two number, or 55k.
> Actually Quilter, that is incorrect. The median
> in your example is 10k. That is the middle
> number, if you list them out. Five numbers above,
> five numbers below. The middle number is the
> median in a list of numbers.
You're right....I had a brain fart in the middle of the example. Thought it through in the car after I left the house and had already posted. Fine example of leaving the highly demanding, regular work force with the need to think things through on a daily basis :-)
Glad I'm not the only one bad at math. Makes me feel a little better. Oh, and I have heard of that book, "How to lie with statistics". Too bad I didn't get around to reading it though. Math just doesn't seem to be my thing.
Back to the question: We are talking about two different worlds that are hard to compare.
After working for many years in the corporate world with all its' perks including fine hotels and top restaurants; I burned out like many do. Travel, stress, handling emergencies on week-ends...I loved it for many years. Sometimes I had a company car but other times I was expected to own a newer model with those higher costs. I was expected to wear expensive clothes, have regular professional manicures/hair care/dry cleaning. I had to "front" the money for travel expenses and collect it only after lengthy expense account forms which had a two month turn-around. However, I had a "real" job and was able to buy a house that I'd not be able to qualify for now.
Now I'm getting social security (less the Medicare payments and taxes) for far, far less. Yikes! I found the trick is multiple income streams. I have a mini-farm that provides food and eggs, I have a plant sale in the spring, I work at a short seasonal job, I barter, trade and have found pockets of money in hidden places. But best of all, I mystery shop!! What a wonderful way to stay in touch with the business world and pick/choose my hours and jobs.
I also have time to do thrift store shopping for the same brand of clothes I wore in the business world...at 10% of the cost.
I've enjoyed my normal income job for the past five years and could never work as a shopper full-time because there's no way I'd make the same money as a shopper. However, my regular job is going up in level of how hard I have to work (without an increase in pay) due to a staffing shortage so the mental benefit is definitely decreasing, especially since, as a shopper, I get to pick my own hours and how little/often I want to do shops. Still, my regular job enables me to have those "perks" I'd not have as a full-time shopper -- sick/vacation leave, paid holidays, pension plan, healthcare.
My full time job is working as a statistician. I am constantly in the median of things at work. As a part time mystery shopper for many years, I would think it fairly impossible to compare the two in terms of bottom line income. Each person has likes and dislikes in whatever job they have. I enjoy my job working with trend analysis and such because I love that sort of thing. If someone offered me a job for $100,000 a year cleaning toilets I would not take it. Even if they gave me free parking! But there are always hidden costs too in any job and when figuring out costs, especially time costs, you need to figure in the time it takes do every part of this job, from signing up with companies to reading and rereading instructions, to getting your printer fixed and the time that takes when it breaks. In an office you do not spend your own time fixing the printer and if you do as your job duties then you get paid for it. For me I do like getting the reimbursable stuff I have gotten as a mystery shopper but I am not sure I would count it at 100% towards my salary. The other day I did a shop where I got reimbursed for a $65+tax pair of Vegan Shoes. I am happy because, in a pinch, I can always eat my shoes and they are kind of cute and unique. I like the shoes but there is no way I would have spent that much money on those shoes. I would have purchased a pair of cute slippers after Christmas instead for perhaps $14.99. If I figured the full value of these shoes as part of my "income" I would be lying to myself. Same goes for those expensive meals at high end restaurants. I have never, ever gone to a restaurant and ordered an appetizer for $15 and a dessert for perhaps $12 on top of a nice dinner with two entrees and wonderful bread. Even had I spent the same amount I got reimbursed, the extra cost of the appetizer and dessert would have gone towards a nicer entree or another glass of wine. So even in those cases, for me at least, these are not worth the reimbursement amount if it was on my own dime.
If what we're talking about is quantitative data, then I would think it's just a matter of knowing what the numbers are, and where to plug them in as to make the kind of comparisons the OP is trying to make, in which case an exact answer still may not be possible because of all the variables, but an estimate might be if things like reimbursements weren't considered a part of income. As for the qualitative part of it, looking at the quantitative part of it first might help.
The way I did this in my earlier years when working as an hourly employee in comparing two possible paths I could take was look at it like this. Job A pays $10/hr, and Job B pays $12/hr, however, the responsibilities involved with Job B I estimated to be twice as much as Job A with all other factors being equal (such as how much I enjoyed the work, benefits, etc.). Based on that, I arrived at the conclusion that Job A = $10/hr (based on $10/1 unit of effort) vs. Job B = $6/hr (based on $12/2 units of effort), which would mean sometimes more pay is actually less pay.
Of course, I'm not statistician, and it's been a very long time since I took a course in statistics, so I could be wrong, but I would think it's possible to make comparisons even though they may not be perfect, or apples to apples types of comparisons if you know what the numbers are, and where to plug them in at.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2013 01:16AM by Snoopy4678.
IFor me, the IC is perfect. I am disabled and have to work when I am feeling good. So, I can plan small and if things go well I can pick up last minute. I cannot be dependable at 40 hrs at an employer while I can here at home like a scheduler. So, for me, my husband can do the insurance, retirement stuff and I can do the extras. I just cannot take him with me on dinners out on a MS. He eats me out od profit, lol. He drives me where I need to go and keeps his mouth shut so I can afford to take him out and pay to feed him, lol. He is the greatest.