What "fun" stuff does mystery shopping income fund for you?

Not to be nosy, just wondering what fun stuff others use mystery shopping to pay for? My full-time job pays my bills, so I use mystery shopping for "extras." I recently bought a 60" flat screen TV and the furniture it sits on with MS money. Mystery shopping also funds all my summer travel (already saving for next summer.) I went to the Great Smoky Mtns. and Florida this summer with MS money. Next up is a new mattress set. It really motivates me, when I'm eating that 18th Arches hamburger, to think of my next purchase or trip using MS funds. smiling smiley How about you?

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I agree, it's more fun and motivational to have a target in mind for the MS money. I use it for various things and now my goal is to save money to help pay for my son's and future DIL's wedding.

The more I learn about people...the more I like my dog..

Mark Twain
Yep, I got a car too, not one quite that fancy but one with better gas mileage so I could do those 'more than 20 mile' shops and still make some $$. Last Aug I got a heck of a deal on a 2013 Kia Soul. I LOVE it!
MSing also funds my sending stuff to my kids out of state, groceries now and then, my thrift store shopping and my traveling. My upcoming trip is to Armenia with my Dad and Sister
I like the question....and am badly in need of something with better gas milliage, but right now this IS my income, long story, but will shortly be supplemented by a part-time job that will give me benefits, shopping giving me the 'extra' of being able to work around my kids' schedules (6 of them, ranging from 2-20 yrs...plus 4 step kids..youngest 2 living with me fulltime, the rest sharing with 'exes') When the youngest two are in school I can move to a full time job and shop for 'actual' extras. I love the picture by the way!! That's awesome! The extras for now, when I can afford it 'up front' are the meals etc. that I'm reimbursed for. I'm currently wishing I had the $ up front for a $300 reimbursement for an upscale retail store shop I saw listed recently. I enjoy seeing what others have done, and wish I knew how to 're-ask' a question posted recently about how much people make shopping, who don't mind sharing, and while knowing it is very subjective...but seemed like a loaded issue smiling smiley. I found it inspiring anyway. Sorry I seem to be long winded today, excited to see more answers though!
Great car Canuck, good for you.

Scrap 73 I don't know how you have the time to shop at all.

I'm one of the oldies, but think young.

I shop because I like to keep my mind sharp! I also learn a lot about many things, as you all know.

I shop for extra money for manicures, pedicures, spas, hair dresser and extra money for vacations.

I only shop Tuedays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Mostly bonus shops. I have many shops close to my home. I will shop routes usually. I shop about 3 to 6 shops a day.
I am one of the oldies too. A senior, and partly disabled, but I am a warrior and I will work for anything I want that is not 'reasonable'. I work in remote areas and do a lot of driving but it's better than sitting in my rocking chair while tapping the rockers with my cane. tongue sticking out smiley

Gotta keep young in spirit, eh? winking smiley
As a newbie, I am certainly not in the benefits ball park as Canuck and some of the others. But I still like the "small" benefits I get. Here the are:

1) Spending change while we are on cruise
2) New shoes for while we are on cruise
3) Clothes from A&F for grandchildren
4) Fast food for grandchildren when they visit
5) Waterpark treat for grandchildren, friends, and adults
6) Pancake breakfasts for DH and guests
7) Spa treatment for me because I work so hard mystery shopping smiling smiley
8) High priced kitchenware
9) Prescription glasses
10) Dental xrays and cleanings for grandchildren
11) Specialty floral arrangement just because I like them
12) Gourmet Chocolate just because I like it
13) Liquor, just because DH likes it
14) FULL detailed car washes for our cars
15) Finally, DH and mom like to go out to eat. So I take DH out for dinner every Sat and for lunch every Sun. I take mom out for lunch one a week.

MS pays for "nice to haves", things I want but would not pay for. It has also paid for things someone in my family needed or would have paid for anyway!

When you learn, teach, when you get, give. Maya Angelou
Certainly shopping goals have changed over the years for me, and it really hasn't been "fun" stuff I was saving for, but rather to keep retirement assets from running out too early.

I retired early so at first getting back into shopping was to cover the cost of health insurance, but more importantly, reimbursements meant less hit to the budget for groceries, oil changes, gas and dining out. When I finally started Social Security it meant that I could even SAVE part of my retirement check each month. I have pulled some of my taxable retirement assets each year to the extent that they would engender no taxes and with the SS savings, shop $ and those IRA distributions my mortgage is now completely paid off.

So we go to the occasional movie, dine out or eat at home all thanks to shops and their swag. And right now my goal is about $10k for either a return trip to Alaska, a return to London/Scotland or a trip to Hawaii. We shall see. The Greek Isles is another thought and/or Scandinavia.
Aveda products since I cannot find the shops anymore and I love their stuff but refuse to pay $29 for a small bottle of shampoo...so I do other shops to fund Aveda purchases.
I go back and forth between being a lifestyle shopper (where the shop experience itself is the reward) and shopping for money (which I then use to enhance my travel lifestyle). But regardless of which reason - all of my shopping monies goes towards travel in one way or another. If I am lifestyle shopping, I am trading my reports for high-end hotel/resort/cruises that I would not otherwise afford. If I am money-shopping, it usually is at at hotel as well (I really only do hospitality shops now and haven't done anything outside of that style in past five years), but the hotel is not really of interest to me. Instead, the high fee (if the hotel is not desirable, then it better have a high fee to componsate me) and the hotel and airline points go towards my "real vacation."

Ocassionally - but rarely - I have the pinnacle shop - the one that provides me both. A hotel or resort that actually nets me money (to be put towards other vacations) and is actually someplace that I want to go and/or provides a lifestyle experience that I might have otherwise paid for - the last time this happened was was a year ago October when I scored a five day resort shop on the beach in Costa Rica, all expenses and airfare/travel for myself, my guest used miles to go, and I got a $500 fee on top of it, along with mega-points at the luxury hotel chain's loyalty program and of course all airline points earned in the flights. I hope to get something like this one time a year. smiling smiley

So that's the long answer. Short answer is - shopping affords me luxury vacations. smiling smiley
This is my full time job but after bills I do shops to go to the

movies with friends and family,

amusement parks with my daughter and grand baby.

Hotel stays, out to eat... everything from take out to fine dining.

Whale watches and cruises with my friends and family.

Most of all, I love the golf shops! I take my Dad and we have a blast.

Other things I do for discounted items, stuff for the house, clothing and shoes.

I got to paint my house (inside) with reimbursed paint/products from shops. Didn't spend a penny of my own money.

I do shop through the year for gift giving. Mostly I make baskets of things I know people will like. Those shops where they give you a small reimbursement. I buy something small. By whatever holiday or whatever birthday, I have a nice little gift basket for the recipient.

I am also signed with a bazillion companies and have good relationships with a bunch of schedulers I shop every where I travel, which is a lot more because of shopping.

I love what I do.

O.o o.O

Happily shopping New England and beyond!!!!!
I cannot remember the last time I actually paid for fast food or any do it yourself items. I like to use mystery shopping for practical items that I would buy anyway but I do love my @#$%& - and got $50 bucks off for them.
I've enjoyed reading all the great responses so far! It's motivating to hear how others enjoy their mystery shopping funds. I hope mystery shopping is still in full swing several years from now when I retire. It might actually *allow* me to retire when I want to. smiling smiley
I keep track of my jobs but don't separate the reimbursement and shop fees. Everything just goes back in the bank. I can't imagine making enough to buy something really expensive or setting a goal for it; $10 here and there and the few bank shops I do that get me $15 or the rare $50 is play money. Hey I do MS to enhance our lifestyle i.e. FOOD mostly and then retail. Date nights with my DH at fine dining venues are so worth it to us. I will not drive more than 20 miles round trip for a dinner out and am fortunate that there are plenty of places that we can take mass transit to as we purchase monthly train tickets to commute to our full time jobs. My daughters make out with most of the retail jobs. They love them as they get the item for 'free' or close to it, thanks to Mom's efforts, LOL.
I'm a big fan of amusement park shops! I also love the occasional hotel shop, especially the ones without too much narrative!
I used to just kind of absorb the shopping money into my regular banking account and didn't really keep track of it and where it was going, mostly towards eating out I would say. But lately, I am trying to fund a home remodeling project largely with MS funds, (not huge, just new floors for kitchen and bathrooms, one new sink, vanity, mirror, and new countertops in kitchen). We are painting as well, and I have scored nearly $300 in free paint and tools. That was nice!
I do it for the fun stuff. I swear people think we are rich for all the check ins my hubby posts on facebook.... Dang, ANOTHER family vacay? Heck ya smiling smiley No one knows the work Mommy does at the computer to do all these things. Totally worth it smiling smiley
I would love to have that car posted though...hmmmm maybe i will rethink some things when the kids get older ..lol
Mystery shopping allows us to justify eating out and going the occasional movie. I work a total of three jobs and only one is at a steady pay rate (part-time virtual assistant). My tutoring business and MS come out to about 70-80 hours per week, but together they are my full-time income that pay the bills.
I started doing this to supplement our income. Bills, bills and more bills. We're getting caught up now (medical bills) and buying my car was something that kept me young and energetic. It's my toy, my only toy. Most of my income goes to the household expenses. So, I basically work to pay for my car and to pay bills. That's my exciting life, hahaha.

Will you give me a ride if I promise to sit in the back seat?

My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
Benjamin Disraeli
I used to shop more for the cash benefits, which I used towards my small luxuries (my gym membership, occasional nail polish splurges, etc). Now, I shop more for the lifestyle benefits- as I've gained experience (been shopping for 18 months now), I've applied to and been accepted by higher end MSC's, so I'm now able to take my husband out on really fancy date nights at restaurants that we've always wanted to try, but used to reserve for special occasions only. Now, we'll go for 3 or 4 $150-250 dinners per month for free, whereas we used to only do 3 or 4 per year, all out of our own pockets!
I pick up easy shops when we are traveling to help defray the costs of gas money for our road trips too.
I've only done one hotel shop, but I hope to start doing more of those, which will allow us to travel a lot more. Hard part is that we have dogs and like to travel with them, and most hotels are not pet friendly- and even if they were, not many MSC's would allow us to bring the dogs on a hotel shop.
I starting picking it back up for the extra cash and as a supplement to our non-existent restaurant budget. We both work full time, but live on half our income since we want to be financially independent in 7 years. I'd love to find more reimbursement retail shops, but haven't really found more than one or two of those. That is my next step once school starts, I'm going to try to add a few more to my week. The Sonic, Panda Express and Arby's shops don't pay much, but keep my teen happy since she doesn't get fast food unless it is a shop. Haven't tried a high end dinner or hotel yet, still a bit nervous on those.
Mostly I buy hay with it, but occasionally I'll use some of my MS money to cover a shortfall in my budget. I bring in about twice what I need for the hay so I can use some of it for other things.

I should start doing retail though. I'm probably missing out on free stuff that I could use in the house, or clothes, because I shy away from retail (ironically, I don't like to shop!). But I've only had to pay for one oil change since I started shopping and have gotten several free haircuts.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
I am amazed at what all of the shoppers do with their money. I could never live off of my shopping. I give those who do a lot of credit. I owned my own business for 25 years. Worked hard all my life. Now I'm retired. I love to shop because I don't have to. I am completely on my own when I shop and I fully spoil myself. No nights, no week-ends, no reports after 7PM. I always ask to do my reports the following day if I eat out so that I can enjoy my dinner. I wouldn't do it any other way. I keep all of my shopping money separate from my home expenses. I have been fortunate in my past business to pay off my mortgage.
I truly respect those who work hard, night after night. The editors complain because you used 'your' instead of 'you're'.
to the Newbees, that is why we don't get to out of shape when we get an 8 or 9. Just get paid.
willshops Wrote:
> I'm a big fan of amusement park shops! I also love
> the occasional hotel shop, especially the ones
> without too much narrative!

There are hotel shops without too much narrative?
Hahaha. I"m sure you know that"s a 2-seater!

cpburt Wrote:
> Canuck,
> Will you give me a ride if I promise to sit in the
> back seat?
You could always strap him to the hood.

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.
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