For mystery shoppers, managing finances is a large part of the job. Due to the need for shoppers to be very self-motivated when it comes to seeking out work, completing shops and tracking their spending, it is important to learn tricks to staying out of credit card debt and using your card wisely.
As plainly outlined by BizNews, having and using a credit card is a good thing. If you don't already have one, apply for one now. It builds a verifiable credit history for you that is necessary if you want to take out a loan on a house or a car at some point. Plus, it is a relatively inexpensive form of debt that allows users some flexibility.
If you don't already have a card, shop around before applying for one. Look for options that offer lower debit interest rates and don't make you pay an annual fee. An interest rate, or APR, is the percentage you'll be charged if your credit card balance is not paid off each month. Some banks will offer 0 percent APR for the first year a user has a card. This is a nice way to slowly ease into using a credit card. Annual fees are basically membership fees you must pay each year to own a credit card. This can be a huge drain on your finances.
Paying balances and knowing limits
The trick is to pay off your credit card bill each month – this way, APR won't matter at all because you will not have a balance to which the rate would apply! Bankrate suggested that users pay their credit card twice per month. This helps you stay more on top of your spending and keep your balance low. If mystery shopping is not your full-time job or primary means of income, try paying off half of your credit card statement each time you receive a paycheck, which typically happens two times every month.
Every credit card has a spending limit attached to it, which is often determined by your credit score. The better the score, the higher the limit. Banks routinely check in on credit reports to see if clients need adjustments made to their limits. After owning a card for a year and maintaining the account well, ask your card issuer if you are eligible for a greater limit. Remember though, always spend within your means. If a higher limit will lead you to spending money you do not have, don't expand your boundaries.
Avoid collecting too many cards
During the credit card search, it's easy to get wrapped up in all of the options. Many card companies offer incredible rewards and perks that make it easy to give in to temptation and sign up. However, don't get caught with too many credit cards in your wallet that you don't use.
It may be a good idea to keep one card designated solely for mystery shopping assignments and one for personal purchases. This will make it much easier to manage your finances, get reimbursed for purchases made for shops and maintain a sense of separation between work and fun.
Finally, consider keeping one credit card handy in case of an emergency. As the card you use frequently for personal purchases or the one set aside for mystery shopping may not have available credit if something unexpected comes up, its nice to know you have a back up if necessary.
As a mystery shopper, you are in charge of your finances. Credit cards are an important part of a healthy fiscal situation, as long as you take care of them.