Budget Divas

The Stealthy Side Hustle: Making Money through Mystery Shopping - With Nadia Foust

August 18, 2023 Jenn Trinidad
Budget Divas
The Stealthy Side Hustle: Making Money through Mystery Shopping - With Nadia Foust
Show Notes Transcript

Ep #69: In this podcast episode, we discuss the exciting world of mystery shopping and how it can be a rewarding opportunity for various individuals, including moms, dads, and military spouses. We highlight the financial benefits of mystery shopping, from saving money on everyday expenses to earning extra income. Listen in as Nadia shares personal experiences and tips to make the most of mystery shopping, including:

  1. Overcoming Fear of the Unknown: Don't be afraid of trying mystery shopping. The task is easy if you're observant and can write clearly. It's an opportunity that can fit a wide range of people.
  2. Starting Small and Local: Start with mystery shops close to your home to minimize expenses and make it convenient. Trying out shops nearby is a great way to get started without overcommitting.
  3. Focus on Similar Types of Shops: Choose a certain type of shop and do multiple of the same kind on the same day. This helps streamline the process as you become familiar with the requirements, making reporting more efficient.

Mystery shopping can have a positive impact beyond personal gain. Nadia shares stories of how she's used her mystery shopping experiences to give back to her community by providing food to those in need and surprising hardworking individuals with gifts. 

Hear Nadia's advice to use mystery shopping as a flexible and rewarding side hustle. This episode highlights the practicality of mystery shopping and its potential to contribute to financial goals while making a positive impact on others' lives.

You're Invited to a free LIVE training: How To Get Out of Debt Faster With Mystery Shopping. Register here: https://www.budgetdivas.com/faster

Mystery shopping? What's that got to do with my finances? Mystery shopping isn't just about scoring free meals or testing out luxury cars; it's a powerful tool that can turbocharge your journey to financial independence! Imagine paying off your student loans, credit card debt, or that pesky mortgage years ahead of schedule! Head over to www.budgetdivas.com/faster and secure your spot. Seats are limited, and you won't want to miss out on this life-changing event. It's time to take control of your financial future and unlock the potential within you.

Host: Hi Nadia, welcome to the Budget Diva Show. Thank you so much for saying yes to being on the show and to tell us about your experience with mystery shopping. You are one of our mystery shopping ninjas who is just crushing it with mystery shopping. So tell us more about you as a busy mom and what you're all about.

Nadia: Jen, thanks so much for having me. I'm super excited to talk about this.  I love mystery shopping. It is something that I found to be super flexible and helpful for so many reasons. But before we get into that, I'll just tell you, I am a mom, a wife, a caretaker to my father who has Alzheimer's an entrepreneur.

I have two and actually three businesses. I help with my husband's business, so I have a lot on my plate. I'm a super busy person and you know, like there's never a day there that I wake up and I say, okay, self, like, what are you gonna do today? I've always got a 40 bazillion things that I have to get done.

So I found that this is a perfect opportunity for me. I can fit it into the pockets of my time, like when I do have an extra couple of hours here or there.  , for a while my husband was traveling on the weekends and I have teen sons who are very socially active. Meaning, you know, they wanna go, go hang out with their friends, their girlfriends, they have sports events or whatever.

So I found myself like, Being alone, like, okay, so I have four hours. I could go browse the mall and go shopping. For stuff that I may or may not need or I can spend those four hours and go out and shop and get paid, which I absolutely love. So,  , just to give you a little bit of an idea, so I first heard about you and what you had to offer on, uh, a webinar that you did,  , with my husband and.

Before then, I didn't really think that mystery shopping was a real thing. Like I had heard about it, you know how like you, you know, it's like the urban legend, like Bigfoot, you know, like you hear about it, right? Right. Mm-hmm. But no one actually has ever seen one. Right? So I was like, yeah, this is not real, but.

So I was intently listening,  , to this webinar and I was like, oh my gosh. It is a real thing. Like you can actually get paid to go out and,  , you know, shop and you get free stuff. Like that's a win-win. Like how cool is that? So I already knew that.  , I wanted to give it a try, but honestly at that time in my life, I just had so much on my plate.

I was, I just kind of put it on the back burner and my husband was actually the one who really encouraged me to like listen to it. Right. And give well a feedback, and he's like, why don't you give it a try? Like, you know, why not? What do you have to lose? So I remember,  , back in the fall, I wanna say it was maybe September, October timeframe, I was catching up on laundry because as a busy mom, sometimes laundry gets done, but it doesn't always get folded and put away and.

I had like this bed full of laundry, probably five or six loads that I needed to fold and take care of. And I was like, okay, okay. No one can relate to that, right? I, I need help. Said help. You know, especially when you have boys that wear like three outfits a day. It, it is a lot. Anyway, long story short, uh, I started listening to your course and the very first segment was, Well, I think I skipped to like, what is mystery shopping?

And I started listening to you and I was like, oh my goodness. Like this is the real deal. I need to listen to this woman. It was clear. It was concise, and I was like, all right, so. My plan was just to listen to 15 minutes of it. Right. But I was so drawn into this and so intrigued by what you were saying. I was like, okay, I'm watching this.

So I listened to the whole training that day, and I wanna say, you know, it was short and sweet. I maybe, I don't know, an hour, hour and a half. I don't, I don't even know how long it was.  , and I'm like, okay, sign me up. Like, How do I get started? My problem with that was that, again, having so much to do, I was a little overwhelmed because I was a little unclear about, okay, what do I need to do first?

Uh, I remember you were kind enough to hop on a call with me and kind of say, okay. Step one, let's do this, let's do this, let's do this.  , and I did it and then I was really kind of,  , Overwhelmed. I, I guess is the word. Or maybe I just didn't have the time to really like, let it sink in.  , 'cause I wasn't sure that I wanted to add one more thing to my plate.

But you, on top of, you're doing everything else right? Like, you know who needs to sleep, like you got stuff to do, right?  , I remember it was you and Jay that encouraged me to try a panda shop.  , I don't know if we can say that, but anyway, like an easy shop, like just get out there, get your feet wet, right?

It's kind of like when you go to the gym for the first time and you're really overwhelmed and everybody's like lifting these heavy weights and you're like, uh, I don't know what to do. I don't know where to start, right? And just picking up that first set of five pound d bbells and you're like, oh, okay, cool.

I can do this. Same thing with mystery shopping. I went, I did it. I was like, holy cow, what have I been wasting my time on all this time? This is super easy, and I remember the very first one I did because it was panda. I got a plate, I brought it home, and my kids were fighting. Because it wasn't enough food for both of 'em, and they were mad that they had to share just one.

That is hilarious. I was like, okay, we have orange chicken pans here. All right, I got it. And they're like, from now on, if you go out and do this, you need to get two of 'em. So it was like, all right. I can do that for you guys. So it was like a treat for them because I remember, I, I think I did it on like a Saturday for lunch, you know, like it was out running errands anyway,  , the first one was, it was probably took me longer than I do it now, right?

Because the first time you don't know what to expect and do, and you wanna make sure you get all the things right. But it was a piece of cake and I was like, Okay. And I remember it was bonus, like $23. So I think that first lunch one I did,  , I got paid, I, I wanna say it was like $35. It was crazy money. I was like, okay, I can make $35 in 20 minutes.

Maybe. Maybe it was 30 with the report. 'cause I took my time, right. But I was like, okay, this is awesome. Like how, how, what else can I do? Right? So,  , got my feet wet and I started looking for other opportunities. Now granted, they're not all bonus like that, they're, they're. You know, average one is probably eight to $10, but still super easy.

And I loved that. It was quick, it was super flexible. So anyone listening out there, if you are a super busy person, don't think that you can't do this because you can fit it into the pockets of your time, like let's say, You are a stay at home mom and you have to pick up your kids from school, but you have maybe an, an extra hour or two in your day.

You could definitely pick up, you know, one or two jobs and make some money. You know, go out and do the shops, make some money, and then still be there to pick up your kids and do homework and take 'em to soccer and you know, baseball and all the things,  , and contribute to your. Family's budget, right?

Like, who doesn't like that? It's such a great conversation. I love your story of how you're a busy mom. You're a busy wife, you're handling two businesses, taking care of your kids, taking care of your dad, all the things that come with running a household, and yet you still have time to. Have pockets of time to do this and get your all your errands done in that same day, in that same week.

One of the things that people tell me is, I don't know if I have enough time to do this, to dedicate it. And right there you just said, Hey, if you have a couple of hours to go grocery shopping, you can look for other jobs to get paid to do it, and. Maybe at the same time get your groceries paid for. Oh, for sure.

And you know, I think sometimes as women and moms, we tend to deny ourselves things,  , because. It takes away from the family, right? Like maybe, maybe you've always wanted to get your eyelashes done, but it's pricey, right? So you think about, okay, well maybe that a hundred dollars a month will pay for dance lessons or,  , you know, extra school activities or college expenses or whatever it may be.

And you're just like, yeah, no, I'm not gonna do that. But if you can go and, you know, Spend 15, 20 minutes, two, three times a day in one week, you can make more than enough to pay for those eyelashes. Or maybe it's, you know, treating yourself to getting your nails done or getting a massage or something that gonna fill your heart.


Guest: I see this as an opportunity for so many different people. Not just women, but also dads. If you're listening out there, this is for you too. The cost of everything has gotten so expensive. There are a lot of families cutting out the little extras, but there are so many opportunities.

You know, there's entertainment, restaurant shops, like maybe you've cut out date nights with your spouse because of the extra cost. You can go out with your spouse, have a nice dinner, get paid for the dinner, and get paid to do the report. So it's like a win-win. My husband and I did that this past Saturday and it was super fun. It wasn't hard, just looking at your phone or watch for timing and special requirements.

Host: Yes, especially if you have good communication skills and can write clearly, this is a no-brainer. It's super easy to do. You and your family were debt-free, but when we started mystery shopping, we weren't. We were $90,000 in debt. Credit cards, back taxes, student loans, everything you can think of. And one of the things we did for the first two years was deprive ourselves of everything we considered extra – dining out, vacations, getting my hair and nails done. Then I learned about mystery shopping and saw the opportunity to pay off debt and also get things for free.

Guest: Absolutely. Not having to say, "You have $500 for food for the month, and that's it." Being an opportunity shopper helps you get the finer things in life.

Mystery shopping is like retail therapy, but you're getting paid for it. I'm one of these people. If I see something on sale at the grocery store, I'll stock up because my boys eat a lot. So when something goes on sale for 99 cents, I buy multiple and freeze them.

Host: Wow, 99 cents strawberries? I'm jealous. I've never seen that price here.

Guest: Yeah, different things go on sale, not just strawberries. Grapes, macaroni and cheese, whatever it is. The last one I did was nine packages of strawberries for 99 cents each. I clean them up, put them in my freezer, and use them for our protein smoothies.

Host: That's great. So mystery shopping helps you save money and get items you need.

Guest: Exactly. It's fun and flexible. Military spouses can also do it and even find opportunities overseas.

Host: That's true, it's a portable way to earn and save. Do you have a favorite mystery shopping story?

Guest: One of my favorites was getting my eyebrows waxed. The lady doing it was so fun, we connected instantly. She gave great advice and I got paid $100 for it.

Host: That sounds amazing. Mystery shopping can lead to great experiences. What tips do you have for someone wanting to start mystery shopping?

Guest: Don't be afraid of the unknown. It's easy if you're observant and can write proper English. Start with shops close to your house and try doing the same type of shop on the same day. Also, take notes on paper if you're not comfortable with phone notes.

Host: Those are great tips. Mystery shopping is accessible and rewarding. Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences.

Guest: Thank you for having me. Mystery shopping is a fantastic opportunity for everyone.