I've decided to start a new feature here at Cent With Love: Mystery Shopping Monday! Each week, I plan to let you know about a different Mystery Shopping company. Mystery Shopping is easy, and it's a great way to make a little extra money if you're out running errands anyways. I've been a Mystery Shopper for about two years now, performing a few shops each year, but now that I'm hoping to use it to pay down some debt, I've been scheduling myself for more shops.

If you don't know anything about being a Mystery Shopper, here's the lowdown. Basically, you are a contractor for a company who has been hired by a specific store/bank/restaurant that wants to know more about how its customers are being treated. You perform a specific scenario (some are very simple, while some can be very detailed) and in return for reporting your experiences, you receive compensation for your time and evaluation. That's it in a nutshell, but I do hope to post a more detailed explanation in the near future. If anyone has any questions at all, I'll be more than happy to answer them for you.

I think the best way to get started in Mystery Shopping is to sign up for a couple different companies (each company seems to focus on a certain area of shopping), and see which shops you like the best. As you add more companies to your list, you will have a more diverse selection of opportunities. Word to the wise: don't sign up for too many at first and don't overbook your time. The companies frown upon those who have to cancel (or worse, don't complete) the shops that they've been assigned.

The first company I would like to focus on is AthPower. I really love doing shops for this company. Not only do they pay when they say they will, but they pay pretty well for the shops that they have you complete. Most of the shops that I have signed up for through them are bank shops. Some are as simple as making a withdrawal or a deposit, while other times you need to open an account or inquire about certain services that bank offers.

If anyone is interested in signing up, please send me an email (mysteryforshawna at gmail dot com), and I will be happy to send you a referral.

Again, I do hope to provide more detailed information about being a Mystery Shopper, and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section. I didn't want to miss the first official Mystery Shopping Monday of the year. :)