Each month I actively seek out ways to increase my side income. One of the easiest ways I do this is by mystery shopping.

I like to mystery shop for different reasons. I am always seeking out ways to increase my income and/or spend less. Mystery shopping can help in both areas!

Make Money Mystery Shopping

Related: How To Eat For Free, The 5 Best Money Making Tips

Mystery shopping is an easy way to increase my income.

All shops pay differently, but most shops pay a reimbursement fee plus a shop fee.

In some cases, mystery shop companies will even pay a bonus or a commuting fee if an agent is approaching a deadline and needs a shop completed ASAP.

Mystery shopping can also help me spend less on day to day activities, such as dining out and entertainment.

Here are some tips on how I utilize mystery shopping-

  • I always look for any restaurants or casual dining shops if I want to go out for lunch or dinner
  • I purchase my makeup through a high end department store every few months
  • I'll pick up some cupcakes at a bakery for a coworker or friend's birthday
  • Reduce my grocery bill
  • Purchase a new shirt or outfit at a clothing retailer
  • Get my carpet cleaned by a professional

Everything I just mentioned can be free just by completing mystery shops!

A good place to start mystery shopping is with Presto InstaShops. This is an overall map that will show you shops in your area. Once you click on a shop, you are redirected to sign up with that individual mystery shop company who is conducting the shop.

Mystery Shop Map

By starting with Presto, you can determine if there are even any mystery shops in your area. As you can tell by the map for Seattle, there are over a hundred mystery shops that need completed.

When I scroll over some of the available jobs, I encounter a wide range of mystery shops. This includes ordering pizza from a national chain, a coffee purchase, clothing shop, home decor shop and much more!

Keep in mind that this isn't the only way to determine if there are shops in your area, as not all mystery shop companies work with Presto. However, it is a great starting point.

Here are some of my favorite mystery shopping companies

There are dozens of companies to work with. It can be a little overwhelming even knowing where to begin!

If you really want to increase your knowledge and awareness of mystery shopping and all that entails, check out the Mystery Shop Forum. This is a great, free resource where you can learn more about different companies, ask questions and see job listings.

Here are some great reasons to mystery shop-

  • Treat a friend to dinner
  • Free groceries
  • Try a new restaurant or bar
  • New clothes
  • See a movie
  • Visit a museum
  • New jewelry

Mystery shopping can be a really fun source of income. While signing up with different companies can be tedious at first, the payoff is rewarding. You will have unlimited opportunities to earn money! This book tells you exactly what mystery shopping companies I work with.


Ebates is my absolute favorite company to use when I’m shopping online. Hello, it’s free money!

Every time I shop online, I always start at Ebates. They have a list of all the places you normally shop at and you just click on the store you want to visit online.

After you make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale! They literally give you cash back on every purchase you make. The cash back ranges from 1% to 14%. The money is then deposited into your PayPal account.

I’ve made over $700 from shopping online and earning cash back. Join Ebates here!


 This cell phone app helps you make money off your grocery receipts. Yup, for real! You use it after you go grocery shopping and use your receipt. It’s basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.

My favorite part about Ibotta is that it’s not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you’ll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc. If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate.

For the diehard couponers out there, this will often result in getting an item for FREE. When you sign up, you will receive a $10 cash bonus when you make your first scan. Join Ibotta here!

Take surveys

I have made thousands of dollars over the past few years from taking surveys online!

There are a handful of companies that I love to use and earn cash back into my PayPal account, as well as reward points that I can use at places like Target, Walmart and Macy's.

Here is a list of the best survey companies to make money.

Start a blog

I went from making $40/month to over $4,000/month in the span of six months. That’s crazy! Here is a tutorial that walks you through how to start a blog.

Blogging has totally changed my life. I even share my online income reports so other people can see how I got started and how I am growing.

Become an Uber or Lyft driver

 Work your own schedule and make mad cash! I know plenty of drivers that work all kinds of different time shifts, whether it's working during rush hour, happy hour or in the evenings. Uber even offers bonuses and extra incentives all the time.

To learn how to become a driver, click here.

Start saving, even if it’s only a few dollars a week

Whether you want to start an emergency fund or a vacation fund, you have to start setting some money aside. If you’re like most people and struggle with saving, you should consider using Digit or Qapital.

Qapital is a totally free app that let's you decide how much money you want to save every time you make a purchase. You can pick from $1 all the way up to $5.

So let's say I spend $24.05 at the grocery store. Qapital will then transfer $1 to my savings account.

You can link as many debit cards or credit cards as you want to Qapital. So even if you use a credit card to make a purchase, you can pick one bank account to transfer the $1 to your Qapital saving account. Click here to learn more about Qapital.

Digit lets you save money each week from your checking account. What I really like about Digit is that it analyzes my bank account and determines how much I can really save per week.

Some weeks it might be $5 and other times it might be $20. You don’t have to worry about overdraft and can contribute less or more if you need to. You can learn more about Digit here.

The only downside to Digit is they charge $2.99 per month to use their service. I don’t mind the fee though since it’s helping me save money every week. If the fee stressed you out, use Qapital!

Rent out your space on AirBnB

Over the past couple of years, I have stayed at a handful of AirBnB's and saved a ton of money. I've been able to rent an entire house, condo and apartment instead of a room at a hotel. Have you ever thought about renting out your home for a weekend?

You can learn more about how to use AirBnB hereUsing the link, you will also get a coupon for $40 off your first stay anywhere!

What kind of mystery shopping have you completed?

Kristin, is the creator behind Believe In A Budget. She teaches others how to start a blog and how to side hustle. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers + businesses drive traffic to increase their website's profitability. Click here to learn more