When we live as frugally as possible, we’re always on the lookout for getting free stuff.
Getting paid for a product review would be great. What about being a mystery shopper? Are those jobs for real or are they mostly scams?
My recommendations come from personal experience and products/programs/services that I think my readers would get value from.
Don’t pay for work
Don’t pay to work somewhere! It’s the other way around. The boss should pay you if you work there!
A sure-fire way of figuring out a scam is if you have to pay to sign up to be a product reviewer or mystery shopper. Or pay to take a course or get an instructional handbook on how to qualify for that kind of job.
A Google search can probably give you the answers you’re looking for – free!
There are legitimate mystery shopping jobs that will pay you. Forget what the scammers say. Mystery shopping jobs don’t pay all that well and there’s not a lot of work out there. $5 to $20 depending on how many questions you have to answer or tasks to complete. Generally, you want to find mystery shopping jobs that aren’t out of your way. In other words, mystery shopping at a store you’re already planning to go to that day or is close to home.
Mystery shopping is just to get a product you want or to make a few extra bucks from time to time. You probably won’t make a living at it.
(Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Associate. If you click the link below, you’ll be taken to Amazon, and if you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)
Have any of you read the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper books written by Elaine Viets?
Josie is the single mother of an adorable pre-teen girl, who struggles to make ends meet and has no financial support from the absent father. However, she has it better than many of us because she lives in her mother’s house, who assists with child care and meals. Also, your own mother is probably not going to evict you when you can’t pay the rent.
Josie is a mystery shopper and by the sounds of this series she must make a killer living off it. She only gets one or two assignments per book and with that she can support her household.
Reality check – this probably won’t happen to us in real life!
Social Nature = free stuff
Social Nature is a company that promotes natural products. They find manufacturers who want to get their name out there and they match them with consumers willing to review these products.
Social Nature has a list of products available for try. These products are constantly changing. If you see a product that interests you, click, answer a few questions, and you’ll be put on a waitlist. Hopefully in a few weeks you’ll get an email that says yay you get to try it. They’ll confirm your mailing address and either send the product or send a free voucher.
The problem with the free voucher is that sometimes you can’t find that product anywhere. In one case, I found the oatmeal cup but the vendor refused to accept the coupon. So screw you, I won’t be returning to your place of business, even though I’ve shopped there in the past!
I loved these vanilla tangerine cashews and macadamia nuts!
Once you receive your product, Social Nature asks you to review it within a couple of weeks. You put your review up on their website. You can also do video reviews and review on social media with a hashtag back to Social Nature.
The more reviews you do, the more likely you’ll be accepted to do more reviews in the future. I rarely check the website for products. Generally Social Nature sends me an email and says I’ve been pre-approved and click through if I’d like to try.
No money exchanges hands. I don’t pay Social Nature, they don’t pay me. This is just strictly free stuff. One time I tried a health product with a price tag of $150 in the store. Lucky me I had the free voucher!
When looking on their website for products to try, check if they’re country specific. Some say America only or Canada only. Assuming that’s because a voucher is involved and the product is only available for sale in one of those countries. It sucks whenever I see really good stuff I’d love to try and then notice it’s only available for Americans!
Canadians: right now Social Nature is offering a free sample of Derma E Vitamin C Serum and says the product will be delivered to the house. I guess as opposed to a coupon. Though I’ve seen them make that claim before and ended up dealing with a coupon. It has up to $34 value. Apparently mine will be on the way mid-October. If interested in this product and signing up to Social Nature, click here to go to the Vitamin C Serum page for more info.
If you’re interested in mystery shopping, check out Field Agent. I’ve been doing this for a few years, but I’m not real committed to it.
Field Agent is always looking for Costco receipts. Doesn’t matter what you bought. Doesn’t even have to be your receipt – maybe someone you know shops at Costco. Field Agent pays 50¢ per Costco receipt that you take a photo of and upload to their app.
The app sends notifications to your phone about available jobs or you can also just check the app when you’re out and about.
This summer I did a mystery shop at a grocery store which included taking two photos of their social distance instructions regarding Covid-19 and some of the questions included answering if hand sanitizer was available and if staff were wearing masks. Just about every big box store had a similar assignment. I happened to be going grocery shopping to that store that day so it worked out for me.
It paid $5 or $6 – I don’t recall the exact amount now.
I’ve also done a donut store mystery shop where I had to buy a vanilla latte. I wasn’t allowed to buy anything else on the receipt. Sadly no donut for me! I believe that paid around $16 and they were also taking into account $2.50 for the latte. So that was a pretty good deal.
I see a lot of McDonald’s and Pizza Hut jobs that require buying a specific item. Unfortunately, most of those include meat so I don’t take them. It works out to a free pizza or burger or sandwich because Field Agent gives credit for the cost of the product plus a few extra bucks for doing the mystery shop.
I believe Field Agent is only available in Canada and America. If you’re interested in signing up, follow this link. I don’t get a sign-up bonus, but when any new agents I refer start earning, I’ll get 10% of their task value that maxes out at $10. The new agent’s earnings are not affected, they get their full payment for the job.
It does not cost any money to sign up with Field Agent. And you can be like me, sign up, get notifications, and pretty much do nothing. Occasionally take on a task.
Good luck if you try either of these out. Let me know how it goes.
For your viewing pleasure:
Here are some YouTube videos of products I’ve reviewed for Social Nature. Doing a video is not a requirement. I just do it for my channel seeing as how I already have the product.