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November 2016


Yes it is possible to shop and eat in restaurants and get paid for it!  I have been mystery shopping on and off for about 5 years now.  It is a great way to make some extra cash and at the same time treat yourself to either the product or eating out with the family as a treat!

Over the years I have reduced the number of companies I work with and who give me jobs concentrating on the ones that work for me the best.  I also like to consider whether taking the mystery shop is worthwhile for me.

If you are considering mystery shopping, before choosing an assignment consider:


  • Where is it? If it’s on my way great, if not would it cost too much in petrol to get to the location?
  • Is it something I can made use of like a jumper or piece of jewellery?
  • With restaurants, am I able to take someone with me or do I need to complete the assignment on my own?


There are times when I don’t take assignments because the negatives outweigh the positives for me but it might be helpful for you to ask yourself your own set of questions before accepting an assignment.


Examples of mystery shops I have completed


Clothes shops:  I have received free costume jewellery, clothing and shoes.

Restaurants:  a range of restaurants including fast food outlets.

Hairdressers:  a free haircut!


Some mystery shops do not involve purchasing items but rather assessing customer service and knowledge of products, this can be from prams to mobile phones.


How much can you make from mystery shopping?

It really does depend on the job at hand, it can be anywhere between £5 per visit to £65, the high fees are normally for quite complex jobs such as enquiring about a mortgage or loan.


Where can I apply?

Please DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES pay money upfront to join a mystery shopping company.  All reputiible companies do not require you to, so don’t be fooled by those who ask for money up front.

I can highly recommend the following companies since I have used them in the past:-



A great company where you pick jobs online.  Register here.



Again you apply for jobs online.  To register go to their website here.



Another online selection of jobs and easy to navigate.  To register to become a mystery shopper visit their website here.


Other ways to make money

Interested in making money by blogging?  Read my post here.

I highly recommend TSO Host for your blog domain name and blog WordPress hosting package as low as £2.99 per month.

 Interested in knowing how to monetize your blog?  Read my blog post here

Want to know how to get free stuff in return for blog reviews?  Read more here

Want to earn extra cash or Amazon vouchers?  Read my review of SwagBucks here

My post on how you can earn money from your old receipts here.


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I love freebies, well who doesn’t?  As already mentioned in previous posts I have another blog here.  I decided to give reviewing a go.  So basically, I was given the chance to try new products or goods out for free and in exchange I would review them.

How to get started?

I believe the best way to approach this is to set up a blog first, have a read here at how to go about that.

Along with your blog I would highly recommend setting up other social media accounts to compliment your blog and get your posts out there.  Having a decent social media presence helps companies decide whether to offer you free products to test in exchange for your review and promoting to your followers.

I have been reviewing items for approximately 6 months now and I love it.  I have received food products, household products and goods over this time.

How to get products for free to review

Once your blog is set up start reviewing your favourite products you already use so that companies can get a feel for how you write review posts.

I also recommend joining Bloggers Required.  It is a totally FREE service for bloggers, their aim is to “be a facilitator between small businesses, agencies, brands and start-ups looking for support with blogger outreach…”  Bloggers Required has a fantastic website and makes it easy to apply to companies to review their products.

The personal touch can never be underestimated.  If you would like to review a product contact the maker of that item and tell them about yourself, your blog and that you are interested in reviewing it for them, after all the review could lead to an increase in sales so a solution where everyone benefits.  Make sure you include all the relevant information about your blog and your social media information.

Have you any tips you could pass on?

Firstly, ensure you schedule enough time within your daily routine to try the product and write the review.  Often there is a deadline for reviews to be written.  This happened to me recently, due to family issues I was unable to complete the review on time.  If this does happen, be honest with the company, notwithstanding that make sure you schedule your time wisely.

When approaching, companies make sure you disclose all the information relating to your blog and social media accounts.  For example, if you have 800 followers on Twitter don’t say you have 1,000!  It is better to be honest as companies are likely to check!

I have been lucky that all the products I have reviewed I initiated the contact with the company.  Be honest with yourself and your readers, go for products you would use or you think would be good to try and that are the right fit for your blog.  Remember you have the potential to influence people to buy a certain product so it is ok to say no too!



If you need help setting up a blog visit my post here.

I highly recommend TSO Host for your domain name and WordPress hosting package as low as £2.99 per month.

Interested in how to monetize your blog?  Read my blog post here.

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So what is SwagBucks?

Swagbucks is a paid to click website which offers numerous tasks for you to do, some of these are surveys, daily polls and searching online.


What do you earn?

It is a rewards site which means you earn points for doing the tasks, these points are called Swag Bucks.  You then redeem the points, the most popular way to redeem is either by cash in to your PayPal account or in Amazon Gift Cards.


How many points can I earn?

It really does depend on how much time you spend, to achieve the £5 Amazon gift voucher you need 849 Swag Bucks for this but they do have an offer on at the moment and you can get the £5 Amazon voucher with 720 so it is worth always checking this.


What do I have to do?

You first need to register with SwagBucks here and start working your way through the information.


I recommend you set yourself a plan to ensure you tackle the tasks on a daily basis, that way you could earn yourself up to £15 in Amazon vouchers each month, that will certainly add up for birthday’s or Christmas!


Answer the daily polls they have which is quick and easy, use the SwagBucks search engine to do your daily browsing online and then move on the surveys which can be anything from 2 mins to 20 mins!


I’ve just started so haven’t earned that many SwagBucks but let me know how you get on and let’s see if we can start earning extra cash and/or Amazon vouchers. 🙂

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Have you heard of affiliate marketing before? It is something that I knew about but didn’t fully understand it so I will do my best to explain it to you now and let’s see if we can work this out together and test if we can make money from it.


What is it?  Well you promote an item to your family and friends and if they purchase that item you earn a commission.  The company pay you effectively for marketing the product on their behalf, it doesn’t affect the price of the product, the company are just happy to get a new customer.


What possible ways could I use affiliate marketing?  Well that’s a good question.  I recently set up a blog to promote my vintage jewellery called E L Feelgood’s Vintage but I wanted to find out what other ways I could make money from the blog apart from advertising my own vintage items.  That’s where the affiliate marketing has come in.


How do I get started?  Well that’s the catch, you need to have an established blog, website or social media presence to sign up for affiliate marketing.  Another important factor to consider is that you don’t sign up directly with each company, there are now specific companies set up which have all manner of affiliate programmes and you apply through this “middle-man” site.


Ok genius who have you tried?  Well I waited until I had at least 20 blog posts up and then applied to Skimlinks, I was accepted on to the affiliate programme and then immediately had access to 20,000+ merchant prorammes without having to join each one at a time.


Another great thing about Skimlinks  is the easy navigation of the site and the payment threshold is £7!  You can have your commission paid via PayPal or direct to your bank account.




Verdict?  Well I have been using Skimlinks for a about a month now and it is easy to navigate, if you are going to give it a go with an established blog, website or social media platform then please use this link to apply.

Again I need time to see if this is going to make any money in the short time I have been using it I have made £11.

In the coming months, I will keep you posted on my progress with Skimlinks.  Let me know if you sign up to them and how things are going.

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So you want to set up a blog to make money?

Blogging has allowed many people to share their ideas, thoughts and views with the world.  With it a whole new world has opened up of possible ways to make money.

I will discuss the opportunities of affiliate marketing in my next post.  I will touch upon how to register for affiliate marketing and Google AdSense.

It hasn’t been plain sailing for me, while I have over 30 blog posts on my other blog here I have been rejected by Google AdSense 3 times, it’s all to do with not having enough content but as I continue to write blog posts I will keep you posted about it if I decide to give  Google Adsense another go.


Should I go for a free hosting blog or paid one?

Ok, this part has been the most tricky and frustrating part for me personally – the setting up a blog.  At first I was of the opinion that I didn’t want to pay any money for setting the blog up since there are ways of having a blog for free.  However, when I researched it, the best and only option to be fully in control of my content and be able to monitise my blog was to go the paid route or self hosted as it is referred to.

Having a self hosted blog also allows you to have your own name (e.g. /, it does look more professional than others and you can also use an array of designs which are free or you can buy a more unique theme.

How much would it cost me?

Again it took me ages to find a host which I had confidence in.  I read a lot of reviews, gave up a few times as the reviews were conflicting, then settled on TSO Host.  I can highly recommend them for several reasons.

Firstly, I was able to purchase my domain name with them for £7.19 for the entire year, secondly their basic hosting package costs me £2.99 per month and their customer service is excellent.

Did I mention before how rubbish I am at technical stuff?  Well, when I purchased my domain name and hosting package with TSO Host I sent them an email saying I wanted my website to be WordPress and could they just do that and send me the login details. Honestly this is just how rubbish I am at the technical stuff but TSO Host were excellent, within an hour they emailed me back my details, I logged in and was able to start customising the WordPress theme!

Step 1

Register your domain with TSO Host here.   Of course this is the easy part but coming up with the name can be a bit tricky so make sure you are happy with your choice, try it out with family and friends first!  TSO Host also have .blog domains now, there is just so much choice from .com to .uk to even .wales!

Step 2

Buy the hosting package for your blog with TSO Host here. I highly recommend the standard package at £2.99 per month.

Step 3

Connect your domain and your hosting.  Very simple, just email TSO Host customer service and they will do all of it for you and send you the login details.  It really is that simple.  The customer service for TSO Host is second to none.


So what now?

I highly recommend you set up your blog as a first step to monitising it and once you have at least 10 blog posts start on your affiliate marketing plan.

I highly recommend you go with TSO Host as a service provider who has a very competitive price and has excellent customer service and who are particularly helpful for those of us who are not very tech savvy!



Interested in knowing how to monetize your blog?  Read my blog post here.

Want stuff for free to review on your blog?  Read my post here.

Want to make money with your old receipts?  Read all about it here.

Want to earn gift vouchers?  Read my review of SwagBucks.


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I recently came across an app called Receipt Hog.  You can download to your phone, upload your receipts (any shopping receipts will do) via your camera, you get coins for doing so, you then redeem those coins for either Amazon gift cards or cash which is payable via your PayPal account.


There are some things you need to know before you start though:


Why on earth would anyone want your used receipts AND pay you for them?  Well the reason is straightforward, Receipt Hog is a market research company, the trawl the data that has been uploaded (it is made anonymous) and they use it for market research purposes.  They work with large brands and companies who pay them and then they pay you via this process.


What receipts can be uploaded?  As far as I can see any kind of receipts from your grocery shopping to clothes shopping.  Although there is a time limit, receipts must be within 14 days of the transaction date/time so maybe doing it once a week will ensure you keep within the time limits.


So how many coins can you earn?  There is a simple breakdown on their website that states for a receipt with a spend of less than £10 you get 5 coins, £10-£50 you get 10 coins, £50-£100 you get 15 coins and £100+ you get 20 coins.

Is that it?  Not actually, as well as earning coins for your uploaded receipts there is Hog Slots which is a wee game you play for free and if you win you win additional bonus coins and sometimes prizes.  If you want to get 5 extra spins on this be sure to use code lib11461. There are also paid surveys and opportunities to win free shopping trips.


How much can I make?  Well you do need 1,500 coins to get £5 or 1,000 coins for a £3 Amazon voucher.


I’m interested, what do I do now?  First you need to go to either your Android or iOS store to download the app.  This was a very straightforward process.  It took me all of a few minutes to do.  Remember if you want to get 5 extra spins on this be sure to use code lib11461.


Verdict?  Only time will tell if this app is worth the effort but then again what would you be doing with your old receipts anyway?  I guess it’s a chance to clear the purse out every now and then; earn coins and may be some free things!


I highly recommend downloading the app now and earn yourself extra spins!



Elf x

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