By in Business

Time to Get Organized

School is winding down. I am scheduled for one half day as a substitute teacher next week. Actually that surprises me, often the last week I am not called at all. This week I worked every day which also surprised me!

Now, it's time to ensure I use my time well this summer. I don't want September to come and find myself saying, "Why didn't I ....." And unfortunately that is what often happens to me.

I need a written plan and then I need to discover a way to encourage myself. (motivate myself? prevent procrastination?)

First things first: Bills. A busy June helps a little towards July bills thankfully. And I did quite well with mystery shopping in June as well. As those payments come in through the summer that will help too. However, it's time to ramp up the mystery shopping to earn as much as possible for July and August.

I have signed up with about 150 companies, many of which I've never worked for yet. So the first thing on my list is to start logging in and checking job boards. If I check 15 per day, that will get me through them all before the end of June.

Depending on today's weather I am either going to go paddle my kayak or go for a bike ride. So, day one of vacation I have a plan. House work, mystery shopping related tasks, recreation.

Now to see if I can develop a balanced routine and follow it for the whole summer.

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MegL wrote on June 20, 2015, 1:16 PM

Sounds like a good plan. I need to get a plan going for once my current project is complete.

carolscash wrote on June 20, 2015, 1:55 PM

Sounds like a plan . I am working on a plan as well to keep myself motivated and keep the procrastination at bay. Keep up the good work and tell us how you do with those shops.

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 1:55 PM

I shop the chains in our main shopping city. It's a small city so there is generally only one of each chain. Hence the need to work for many companies. There really aren't any highend jobs around here though. Getting reimbursed and paid a fee for getting an oil change is one of my most useful jobs. Getting a big bonus to do a fast food shop in an out of the way town is one of best money makers. But mostly, I put together a day of several shops to make it pay.

CoralLevang wrote on June 20, 2015, 2:24 PM

I often wondered if mystery shopping really paid.

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 2:28 PM

It really pays. Next week I will be reimbursed for an oil change at the dealership. Since they couldn't find anyone nearby to do it, they are reimbursing me for gas to get there and paying a bonus on top of the regular fee. While I am in that city I will do some other jobs that range from payments of $15 to $20. Several small jobs in one area add up to a decent day's pay.

CoralLevang wrote on June 20, 2015, 2:33 PM

Perhaps, you could write an article on that, how to get into it, and where to start. It always seemed "creepy" to me.

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 2:34 PM

I have written some posts about it, including one about getting started. It is kind of my pet subject. I will be writing more at times I am sure.

CoralLevang wrote on June 20, 2015, 2:39 PM

Okeedoke. I will explore further.

One thing that may or may not be correct in my belief is that mystery shoppers don't get paid, but only reimbursed for what they purchase. Is this accurate?

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 3:13 PM

It varies, and varies and varies. Most of the jobs I do pay fees since I am in this to pay my bills. I visit retail shops, banks, where I don't have to spend anything and I get paid a fee. The fee is often $15, hence the reason I do it when I am in an area for personal reasons or I do a group of shops in an area.
Some retail shops require a small purchase to have a receipt to submit and to evaluate the cashier. So, I may have to spend a couple of dollars to get my fee of $15. Some shops are purchase and return. Some shoppers don't like those, but I don't mind as they result in not being out of pocket.
Fast food shops reimburse a meal and pay a small fee. I don't do them unless the fee is $10 or more. Even then I prefer not to do them unless I actually want a meal at that time. (or unless there is a very large bonus. which happens but I am guessing not in cities where there are lots of mystery shoppers.)
The restaurants around here are reimbursement only and if you spend more than what they allow for, the extra is out of your own pocket. The job may be pleasant but doesn't help me pay the bills.
The gas stations and grocery stores I do are mainly reimbursement only, but I like those as it's something I need.
Some mystery shops are phone calls, those fees are small but I don't have to go anywhere or spend anything.
I have been reimbursed for staying at a hotel, which was nice but again, didn't help pay the bills. In fact one must be ready to be out of pocket for more than a month before receiving payment.

CoralLevang wrote on June 20, 2015, 3:31 PM

Great information, thank you.

Is there a website or article that you can direct me to which has a list of reputable companies that you might share? I'll check when I get back. This sounds interesting, and I have a friend who is retired and this may work for him. I want to direct him in the most positive of areas. Thank you very much.

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 3:37 PM

I likely mentioned these in my mystery shopping posts. The Mystery shoppers Providers Association MSPA has a list of reputable companies. No need to join or do the certification. has a list of reputable companies also. Make sure you/he are signing up with a company from one of these lists. You generally have to give your social insurance number (can't think what it is called in US) Sometimes you don't have to give it until you actually do work for them.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on June 20, 2015, 3:49 PM

Organization is my weak point. I've been working long hours the last couple of months trying to build mystery shopping into a dependable income to cover the bills (well, it's dependable compared to piano lessons anyway!). I had just about all I could handle until I abruptly hit the end-of-the-month famine this week. So how much writing, surveys, new sign-ups, and house and yard chores have I managed during that time? Don't ask.

CoralLevang wrote on June 20, 2015, 3:53 PM

We call it a Social Security Number.
Thanks for the info. I'll check out the forum.

Anja wrote on June 20, 2015, 4:06 PM

I didn't realize that you were over here, too. I have been playing around on survey sites, etc., checking out earning opportunities. In a perfect world, I would carve out time for all the useful sites, including this one. But
i am far too disorganized for that. Good luck with your organizational plan.

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 4:19 PM

organization is my weak point also. Well, I am glad you are finding enough mystery shops to keep you busy. I hope to do that in July and August.

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 4:20 PM

I am here sporadically. I usually find my computer doesn't cooperate on this site. Today it's been doing okay.

LisaSteinmetz wrote on June 20, 2015, 5:18 PM

I always make lists of things to do during the summer and I always loose them. lol

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 6:38 PM

Now, that sounds like me. lol

LindaCPearson wrote on June 20, 2015, 7:12 PM

Good luck with your plans. You definitely sound motivated and organized. I sure wish i was!!

VinceSummers wrote on June 20, 2015, 7:46 PM

I'm so happy I was able to say, "Bye-Bye Rat race."

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 8:12 PM

Technically I could too. My husband has a modest pension. We have no debts and we have some investments to use and supplement the pension. But I want to put off using that and keep earning for several more years. Subbing and mystery shopping mean I can have a week off whenever we choose, so it's the next best thing.

paigea wrote on June 20, 2015, 8:13 PM

I sound motivated. Now to actually get motivated.

scheng1 wrote on June 20, 2015, 11:23 PM

This reminds me about the yearly insurance premium that will come by September. I usually pay them earlier.

paigea wrote on June 21, 2015, 9:00 AM

You sound like you made a good start already going diving! Keep it up!

paigea wrote on June 21, 2015, 9:01 AM

You sound very organized!

suzzy3 wrote on June 21, 2015, 12:40 PM

Sounds like you are going to be busy , I hope you do all you need to.

paigea wrote on June 21, 2015, 1:23 PM

So far, I am mainly being my disorganized self!

Fleur wrote on June 21, 2015, 5:31 PM

I know that feeling, time flies past so fast and really need to seize the opportunity to do the things you want!

paigea wrote on June 21, 2015, 6:54 PM

Yes, I really need to do that. I need to get going on the things that I really enjoy.

cheri wrote on June 23, 2015, 10:25 PM

Summer is over here and I did not enjoy it since I was confined in the hospital for my surgery but I am doing fine now.

paigea wrote on June 24, 2015, 9:17 AM

I am glad you are doing well now. I hope the hospital was air conditioned.

ViperGirl85 wrote on June 28, 2015, 10:05 PM

It's good to get organized, and I do hope you accomplish a lot over the summer. It'll be good to get the bills out of the way. I hope you're able to do a lot more mystery shopping, if you want to of course. :)