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Mystery shopping is a great activity for retirees

Mystery shopping is a great way for senior citizens and those thinking about retirement to stay active and make extra money. There are a few things to know if you are considering mystery shopping later in life.

Staying active
Dr. Margaret White, the medical director at Park Springs Continuing Care Retirement Community in Stone Mountain, Georgia, stated that regular contact and socializing with other people contributes to a longer, happier life for most retirees. While alleviating boredom and loneliness, connecting with others helps keep heart disease, ulcers and headaches at bay. Keeping the mind and body active with new hobbies and conversations is a great idea at any age. Writing shop reports and recalling task requirements helps keep the mind sharp. 

Those entering or already experiencing retirement make excellent mystery shopper candidates. Not only do they have more flexibility in their schedules, they offer businesses a unique perspective on how patrons are treated. There may also be shops geared directly towards the 55+ market. 

Getting out of debt
Plus, as the Mystery Shoppers Manual pointed out, completing mystery shopping gigs is a great way to both save for retirement and get out of debt. Market Watch strongly advised anyone planning their finances in anticipation of retiring should make sure they are debt-free before they stop going to work. This eliminates a host of troubles and stressors that no one wants to face.

  • Fees: To get out of debt through mystery shopping, make sure you are only accepting jobs that pay fees. There are some opportunities that are reimbursement only or do not pay a very high sum; make sure any gig you complete pays you for your services.
  • Savings: Be sure to put all the money earned from mystery shopping towards debt elimination. Avoid the temptation to spend earnings on other items, even if they are necessities. This helps you stay focused on the task and motivates you to complete the shops well.
  • Reimbursements: Consider reimbursement shops for items you actually need. If there is a grocery store shop that reimburses you up to a certain point, take it and be sure to spend wisely during the trip. This is a great way to simultaneously make money and get paid for items you know you'll use anyway.

Remaining safe at all times
Remember to trust your instincts when it comes to accepting a mystery shopping job. Staying safe should be a top priority. Check to make sure there are no physically demanding elements to a shop before accepting it. Know yourself and your body well enough to listen when it tells you a shop might be too demanding.

Double check the location of each shopping gig before deciding to take it on. If it's located very far away, look for another shop. Taking public transit when possible can also be a money-saving technique. Make sure the weather report has been read, as well. If rain is likely, dress and pack appropriately.

If you are able to plan an afternoon or entire day devoted to mystery shopping, plot a route that doesn't force you too far off course between jobs. Set up a path you can take to ensure all shops are completed without darting from one end of the neighborhood to the other.  

Never accept a mystery shopping job that does not come from a legitimate mystery shopping company. There are many scam artists out there looking to take advantage of people and their money. When in doubt, verify the shop guidelines directly with a business. If the money seems too good to be true, it probably isn't sanctioned.