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 My Mystery Shopping New Years Resolutions!
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MeganSA
Apprentice

San Antonio, Texas
USA
4 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  10:14:10 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
New Years Resolution:

1) Get Silver & Gold Certified
2) Organize
3) Sign up for more shops
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Sandra G.
Valued Contributor

TX
USA
239 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2008 :  6:22:18 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hey, Megan,

I looked twice because it says you posted on 1/1/08, but the last post is yours on 12/28/08. I am near San Antonio.

I stopped doing "New Year's Resolutions" last year because I couldn't justify them with Christianity. I used to do them every year. So I just have goals, which I can justify. I even write them on my calendar. I also had a major heart-to-heart over how I was handling my calendar, and decided to write Bible verses on each month's page and on the Sunday of each week. My grocery list and chore reminder goes on Saturday, since I rarely MS then.

This year, I would like to go to the MSPA conference and get my Gold certification. It depends on two things: whether it is close, so I can afford the money, and whether it is during the summer, so I can afford the time. In spite of the fact that some think that the Gold doesn't help them get assignments, I think that the Silver helped me, and I want to do my best. Hope springs eternal. This beats most low-paying jobs.

I pretty much have all the equipment now. I'm not going to wish for a new car.

I need to pause when I get a call and ask if the bonus is going to justify the distance.

I also merchandise and I have another job. I am limited to mystery shopping within a small-town geographic area of 10 miles. MSing and merchandising are expected to pick up the shortfall of income of my regular job. With God's help, I hope to make $1,000 a month from both of them together. (Taxes are high here, and I need a little extra for emergencies concerning plumbers or mechanics.) So far this year, He has helped me not to stress out on whether I will finish before the stores close, and to rearrange my days when I see that I'm not going to finish. I stopped thinking about the sleep I'm not getting, and just finish at a reasonable time. So far, I have fought off the bugs, so my resistance is not low. Sometimes I have to sleep on Saturday, but gradually he is giving me strength to continue and be caught up on my sleep when I waken.

During breaks from my regular job, I hope to find routes. In '07, when I did that, my income increased.

I wish everyone a great year and God's blessings.

Sandra G.
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  04:01:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
New Years and Halloween are my favorite holidays and I always spend about Nov 1st until the New Year really thinking of things that I can change.

This year my goals are to
1. Buy my laptop. I'm very excited about this. I have a thousand dollars and am not going to spend that much - SO if I have money left over it will go to a better camera or a roomba - which I really want!!

2. Put all receipts in one area in my purse OR better yet, take a photo of them while in the car and then put them away in my purse. That way I have a back up if I somehow lose them.

3. Keep supplies in the car - tape, batteries, etc.

4. do not over schedule myself or my children. Children do not like viewing four apartments in a row, no matter how much fun you try to make it (however in the summer I do allow them to visit every playground of the apartment we are visiting and than seems to help).

5. Keep up with my clerical stuff - I'm running a business so I do need to take the time to write down the ink I used or the miles I drove.

6. Every year I pick four mystery-shopping companies and try to learn more about them. Take their tests; talk with the schedulers, etc. This year I already have my four picked out - I work on just one at a time, but they are picked out and I've already started with them.

7. I have a 2009 Household book where I am writing everything down – everything!! All household appointments, phone numbers, birthdays, etc.

8. Any shops that require a purchase, the item, no matter how big or small, goes into my holiday / gift closet. I enjoy knowing that I always have gifts available. But I haven’t worked out my yearly theme yet (last year was Relaxation – so I bought candles and stuff like that – this year I haven’t decided yet – any ideas?)

Sandra, I'm just curious - I don't mean any offense at all - I'm not a Christian, but why can't Christians make New Year's Resolutions?? (I'd ask my dad, who was raised Catholic, but is now a Unitarian, as I am, but its only 5:30 am here and that is too early to call him).

I hope you don’t mind me asking. I just want to know because my brother in law’s family will be with us on New Year’s Day and I don’t want to offend them by asking them if I shouldn’t (they are Assembly of God).
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Theresa in Clear Lake
Member

Houston, TX
USA
18 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  11:50:00 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote

Ok, Happy New Year to all! This is my first year in MS'ng (actually 1/4 of a year, as I started in September).
What I would like to work on for this year:
1. Keep up with the mileage.
2 Accept that I will make a mistake and it won't mean the end of the world.
3. Ask for a bonus on those last minute shops when they call me...it works :)
4. Keep up with my spreadsheet - as this helps with my commitments AND with my PAY!!
5. Buy the laptop - it's a need and a want
6. Network with other of you great people that are in my area, maybe a "club" or a "get together " night...just for fun.
7. Continue to read this website/forum for all the great info and advice it gives.
8. And remember that allthough this is a great part time job, it can help me make some full time income with great organization skills.
9. One last...get the silver and gold this year....I think it will make a difference.
So gllad youall kept this topic going all these years!

Theresa
Proudly Shopping SE TX
Silver Certified 2008
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BrandonS
Contributor

Atlanta, GA
USA
57 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  12:27:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Not really a resolution, but I would like to get Gold certified, and do a better job of tracking mileage. I do everything else pretty good. I started a "paperless" system years ago, so I don't have to worry about keeping reports and receipts in a file cabinet, instead I just scan and create PDF's out of everything.

Well, my ultimate goal is to make over $500/mo MS'ing, and if possible, $1k/mo. This will involve working smarter and not harder, passing on the single-digit shops and trying to average ~$34/day while making sure the shops are integrated into my daily routine.

But of course, who wants to MS every single day? :)

**EDIT: I'd like to add...printing out my information (or PDFing the info) as soon as I schedule a shop versus doing it moments before I leave for the shop, and entering the information into my spreadsheet immediately.

Oh and Lisa, about the mileage (the post below), I guess the only thing we can do is ceremonially remember everytime we get into the car before we leave for the shop.
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  12:33:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
We need mileage buddies!! Someone that MAKES us figure out our mileage each week so that we don't get behind! That's the only way I can see myself doing it every week! :(
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  2:28:18 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Brandon, That won't work for me - I've tried. I need someone with a whip standing behind me making me do it!!

Actually I normally start off doing really well in Jan, but by March I'm horrible at it.
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JenGA
Valued Contributor

Kingsburg, CA
USA
157 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  3:35:25 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I love all these ideas. Its so true about staying organized and not typing out reports when I should be sleeping! I really want to make life easier for my children and my family, and by MS'ing I'm able to pay for those fun activities (or even better, get them paid for!) by shopping.

Jen
Mystery Shopping in the Central Valley of CA since 2005
Silver Certified since December 2008
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  4:04:09 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Okay, speaking of needing sleep. I was just re reading some of the posts on this thread and thinking, WOW, that person has the exact same resolutins that I do!!
(it was mine )
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MariaPec
Valued Contributor

PA
USA
183 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  4:14:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It's fun reading through this thread - the more things change, the more they stay the same. It is a little scary that shoppers were resolving not to take under $10 shops for 2003 and they're still plentiful for 2009.
I resolve to sign on with one more company a week and find a way to keep track of who has which shops and when they're posted.
Happy New Year to all!!

Maria
Silver certified
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SherryDG
Star Contributor

Chicago Burbs, IL
USA
368 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  6:15:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
2009

1 Tried new companies and as soon as I passed the testing and did the shop-they lost the client..will keep on trying to branch out to new companies and new shops
2 Get gold certified. Not in a hurry, just sometime.
3 Get that dang laptop I have been drooling over.
4 Work smarter and not harder
5 Try a route-at least once
6 My brother moved in with me and he'd love a steak shop..might be time to try a restaurant or two

SherryDG
MSPA Silver
Happily shopping the Chicagoland area
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Rita Collins
Star Contributor

Michiana, MI
USA
518 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  7:07:00 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
For mileage ...

Since everyone has a spreadsheet - just enter the shops in the order they were completed, go on Mapquest, complete the route you followed and use the mileage.

Rita Collins
Shopping Michiana
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Cilla
Star Contributor

MD
USA
1433 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  06:54:16 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
If I recall correctly, you can keep a detailed log of ALL mileage for 90 days and use the percentage that was business mileage to extrapolate for tax purposes. So, be sure to record the odometer reading at 01/01/09 and 12/31/09, and record mileage for 90 consecutive days during the year. This method will also make it clear that doing your household chores and shopping "enroute" to and from business trips (without going more than a couple of miles each way out of your way) really pays off from a tax standpoint. Thus, I may have logged a 22 mile trip for 3 bank shops, and then add a note saying, "grocs enroute,") meaning that I did my personal grocery shopping enroute. This makes the whole trip a business expense, according to IRS rules. This would show the IRS that it is not at all ridiculous that 94% of my total mileage is a write off.

Cilla
MSPA Gold Certified 2005
IMSC Certified 2009
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JeannieGA
Valued Contributor

Alpharetta, GA
USA
216 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  07:53:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It was so much easier 10 years ago to make 1,000 per month without much effort. Now I am lucky to even come close to half of that. Granted I have slacked off a bit but there are too many shoppers in my area and I only pick up stuff I could do at lunch time or afterwork. That has really diminished unless I wanted to travel a lot farther. You made me think to day about the number of companies that have dissappeared. Many were companies that I could count on consistent shops each month and for a higher fee. The business has really changed in the last few years and unless you add merchandising to the mix it is tough to make a good monthly income.

Jeannie in GA
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Paula Rodrigues
Valued Contributor

Stamford, CT
USA
133 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  10:50:52 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
New Years Resolution

As a new shopper, I will become more effective and network on this great board , and I promise to be more diligent before posting, including using the search function more often so the moderators don't have to waste their time with my oversights. Seriously!!!
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Sandra G.
Valued Contributor

TX
USA
239 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  6:53:31 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Lisa, it's not that Christians can't. It's that I had a personal attitude that I felt was leading me more into my own planning, accomplishments, and way of thinking rather than God's; and keeping my calendar was contributing to it. "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) I need to seek God, then make plans that are within what He wants for me. Then He will see to it that they are accomplished in his own timing. I still keep the calendar, but I want it to reflect God, not me.

Sandra G.
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Sandra G.
Valued Contributor

TX
USA
239 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  6:58:40 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I shouldn't have clicked too soon, Lisa. I'm not offended at all by your questions. I think it is very sweet of you to consider your relatives' feelings and mine, too. I don't know what they will say, but I suspect the more conservative the denomination, like theirs, the more likely that the members of that denomination will not feel a need to have a New Year's Resolution. I've never heard it mentioned in church, but church people wish each other Happy New Year's all the time. Although I can't speak for them, they probably wouldn't be offended if you told them yours.

Sandra G.
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Judy in VA
Star Contributor

VA
USA
836 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2008 :  10:30:22 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
This year I promise (not "resolve" because I would feel worse breaking a promise than a resolution)...to check my email less frequently when entering shop reports.

It is too easy to get distracted and start reading personal emails, store sale promos, etc, when I should be typing about a customer experience.

MSPA 2007 Shopper of the Year
MSPA Gold Certified
Specializing in recorded and unrecorded phone shops
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Randi H
Star Contributor

Orange, Virginia
USA
931 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2008 :  12:13:09 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
For the mileage stuff. 2007 I was horrible, I would write it on the job instructions when I started from home, then when I returned. The problem was half the time I would forget to put it in the spreadsheet before it all got filed. Well come tax time, no way I wanted to dig through all of that. So I did do the google map thing for mileage. (Still think didn't claim as much as I could of.) Now for 2008 I resolved to do better. I bought a mileage book on a shop at the end of 2007. That still sits empty, but what I did do and that I found works best. I have a little notebook (one of those ones you buy 3 of $1.00) and I keep it right in the console. I have been great at it this year. I keep a pen right with it. Now of course I have enter or count all the miles up for the year, but at least I have a record of ALL of them, not just some.

My resolutions for this year:
1) Make more money!!
2) Finding companies I am not signed up with.
3) Though not related to MSing, getting into our other house.
4) Keep better track of all my files, expenses, etc (right now they go in a box when I am done.)

Randi
Silver Certified
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TinaMarie
Star Contributor

USA
1811 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2008 :  6:52:06 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Reminder to everyone - go and jot down your odometer mileage NOW for year end 2008 and beginning of year 2009.

My new years resolution is to be less timid in picking up new shops.

~*~TinaMarie~*~
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