How to Get Free Food and make an extra $150
What can be better than getting free food? Getting paid to get free food! Could you use an extra $150 this month, plus free food? If your answer is yes, then read on!
Have you ever thought about food mystery shopping? I started food mystery shopping because I felt guilty going out for lunches. As a banker, I’m big into budgeting, so I regularly look at my monthly spending and compare it to my monthly budget.
One month I spent over $150 going out to lunch! Ouch! I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t find a way to improve – but you can only brown bag it for so long. Then I found out about food mystery shopping through a great article on my favorite money subject website The Penny Hoarder website.
I signed up and gave it a try. Now I get free food from McDonaldsⓇ, SubwayⓇ, Dunkin DonutsⓇ, 5 Guys BurgersⓇ, and much more. Plus I get paid to complete a brief survey after each visit! My average monthly earnings is about $150, which I consider great because I only got into it for free lunch. Most shops pay about $7.50 and reimburse you for any food purchase.
Sometimes the company schedulers will even call and offer you more pay when they have shops to fill. Then the pay goes to $12, $15, $18, $20, and more! I will usually take a couple shops in the beginning of the month and then wait. They’ll start calling you towards the end of the month for all the unfinished shops. Don’t be shy about negotiating a rate more than they offer, just be polite about it, and tell them it’s out of your way. That’s why you’d need a little more – to make it worth your while.
How Does it Work
You apply at the mystery shopping company website links listed below. If they accept you as a mystery shopper, you won’t be an employee, but something called an independent contractor. That means they pay you the full amount of the shop and won’t withhold any taxes. They’ll give you a notice at the end of the year, called a 1099, for how much money you earned. They’ll mail a copy to the IRS too. It’s your responsibility to include any amount on your tax return and pay the taxes on any amount earned. I have a separate post with ideas on how to pay as little as tax possible, so check out.
Once you’re accepted as a mystery shopper, they’ll email you a user id and password for the shopper portal. The shopper portal is where you’ll see available area shops, apply for shops, enter your surveys, and upload your receipts. There’s lots of instructions to help you.
How Do You Get Paid?
It’s actually pretty cool. They pay you by direct deposit right into your bank account on a monthly basis. You’ll get the shop fee, plus be reimbursed for whatever you spent in food.
Food Mystery Shopping Companies
Below are some of my favorite companies. If you apply, please give them my shopper ID because they’ll give me a small referral fee when you complete your first shop.
MarketforceⓇ. I make about $120 per month from them, plus the free food. If you enroll, please tell them shopper 133369 referred you.
Sinclair Customer Metrics. I find they have less shops, but I love the Moe’sⓇ Mexican food and pretzel shops. If you enroll, please tell them shopper CY706 referred you.
BestMark. They have great restaurant shops and other types too! I’ve been paid $75 to get my oil changed, plus the cost of the oil change! If you apply, please tell them shopper MA13262 referred you.
A Word of Warning
As a banker, I see a lot of scams involving mystery shopping companies. Never accept a large check with instructions to cash it at your bank and wire most of the money to someone else. The check will come back as fraud and you’ll owe the bank a lot of money!
Please share this information with others if you found it useful.<