Vital Dollar may receive compensation from companies, products, and services covered on our site. For more details, please read about how we make money.
You’re probably wondering how it’s possible to make money while spending money. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to get paid to shop.
Perhaps you go shopping to see what’s new in the stores today, as a fun outing with friends, or even for retail therapy for a bad day. Despite your reason for shopping, it just got easier and more fun because now you’ll know how to get paid while doing what you do best!
→ Related reading: 150+ Side Hustle Ideas to Make Money in Your Spare Time
How to Make Extra Money While You Shop
Local businesses are always in need of new ways to reach new customer audiences, market their products to new geographic areas, and overall build their brand reputation. Nowadays, retailers are thinking of new and creative ways to get more customers to shop at their store and obtain more information about what their customers’ needs and wants are.
Among these modern marketing tactics are opportunities for shoppers like you and me to actually go shopping and make money while we’re doing it. In return, retailers are able to reach extended customer segments and market their products to more consumers.
In addition, shopping is a service that can be offered to those who don’t have the time or aren’t able to do it for themselves.
Here’s a few ways this works, and how you can get started making money to shop.
1. Shop for Others
Our lives get busier by the day, and it seems as if our work, family, friends, and other areas of life get in the way of being able to do the essentials, like grocery shopping! For those looking to make some extra cash shopping, you can make up to $25+ per hour doing other people’s grocery shopping for them. Here’s how it works…
First, you need to set up a free account with a trusted company that connects you to consumers in need of someone to do their grocery shopping. Among the most notable platforms to get started for free are:
- Instacart: Get paid to shop and deliver groceries and household items to families and seniors in need of help shopping.
- Shipt: Get paid to deliver groceries to Shipt members.
- Burpy: Become a shopper and/or a deliverer of groceries.
- Care.com: Start performing multiple tasks such as shopping (among many others) for posted jobs to Care.com customers.
- TaskRabbit: Start running errands, including shopping errands, for locals that need help getting things done around the house and at the supermarket.
- WeGoShop.com: WeGoShop is a franchise-like company that allows you to start a grocery shopping business in your city. They give you access to their tools, data and resources needed to start taking grocery shopping orders and delivering them to local families. You can build a network of shoppers and be your own business owner.
Shopping for others has become a popular way for people looking to make some extra cash. All you need is a reliable vehicle and the ability to provide good customer service to get started.
How Much Can You Make?
With an average hourly pay of $20 per hour working just 10 hours per week, you could make an additional $200 per week or $800+ per month.
2. Work as A Mystery Shopper
Mystery shoppers are needed in all kinds of businesses. Retailers will pay you to shop at their store and observe the retail operations, customer service, and overall sentiment of their business presence. This allows owners to see how their employees treat their customers, test for regulatory sales such as purchasing alcohol, and get excellent feedback from the customer’s point of view on how the business is operating.
You can make money shopping as a mystery shopper at any of the following companies:
- Bestmark: Bestmark provides mystery shopping services for local restaurants, retail stores, casinos, financial institutions, hotels, resorts and other related businesses.
- Intelli-Shop: Intelli-Shop aligns businesses with mystery shoppers that fit the business’s ideal customer profile. This means you can be a mystery shopper at companies that you most likely enjoy shopping at!
- Field Agent: Field Agent focuses on bridging the gap between businesses and their visibility to their customers. You can get paid to become a mystery shopper with Field Agent by helping local businesses gather feedback on their business presence from the shopper point of view including in-store information and in-the-moment shopper insights.
- Market Force: MarketForce allows businesses to improve their customer service by providing them mystery shoppers.
- Sinclair Customer Metrics: You can get paid to be a mystery shopper for local businesses and/or their competitors. Get paid to shop and provide feedback from the customer’s point of view for local businesses and their neighboring competition.
- Call Center QA: Call Center QA allows you to sign up as a telephone mystery shopper, allowing you to shop from home and get to paid while doing it.
What’s more, is that you can even be a mystery shopper that may even be at a company that you already enjoy shopping at! It’s a true win-win for both the business and the shopper.
To make money as a mystery shopper, most companies require that you are at least 18 years old, have good communication skills, access to transportation, and often times access to the internet.
How Much Can You Make?
Mystery shoppers are often compensated in many different ways. Often you will get compensated as a reimbursement for money you spent at a store or a direct deposit to your bank account based on the tasks completed.
You can make anywhere from $15 – $20 per hour or more as a mystery shopper. If you do it part-time for 10 hours per week making $15 per hour, that equals $150 per week or about $600 per month. One of the downsides is that the amount of work available may be limited, so it’s not something you’re going to do full-time.
3. Start A Personal Assistant / Concierge Business
Busy executives and business owners have never-ending task lists that they will pay a decent wage for you to help them complete. You can start a personal assistant/concierge business marketing yourself to business owners who need help completing shopping tasks like:
- Purchasing office supplies to restock the office of needed materials
- Picking up meals for company gatherings
- Shopping for gifts for major clients of the business
- Grocery shopping in general for the busy executive
- Purchasing supplies for major business events, parties, birthdays, holidays, etc.
- Shopping for office decor and office remodeling
The great thing is it doesn’t take much to get started and little-to-no capital investment. Here’s a quick step-by-step process on how to start your personal assistant business:
Step One: Choose a niche market that you wish to perform personal assistant services to. Perhaps you’ve got previous experience working in the finance industry and know the general sentiment of the industry and their busy executives. Picking a niche will make you the “go-to” individual for the industry.
Step Two: Next you need to create a basic plan to make sure you charge the right amount of money to pay for operating costs and then some to pay yourself an adequate wage. Your plan should include things like availability, a list of common tasks you can perform, the amount you charge, and a way to start marketing your services. You may begin by reaching out to your professional network informing them of your new venture and ask for their business.
Step Three: Develop a basic process to maintain your multiple clients that use your personal assistant services. Seeing that you may fill up your calendar with tasks needing to be done from different executives, you may want to develop a separate calendar for each client with a list of general info such as likes, dislikes, special requests, etc. to tailor your services to each. You may want to determine whether you use a basic CRM software to help organize your clientele and keep data on tasks and transactions for each client.
Step Four: Regularly review and update your business plans and operations to consistently improve and progress. With diligence, you will no doubt become the word on the street for your chosen niche market!
How Much Can You Make?
The great thing about building your own business is that you are in charge of how you get paid. Keep in mind that you want to find a sweet spot in terms of the highest price you can get paid to attract just enough business to fill up your time availability.
Let’s assume you plan to make this a full-time job and charge $35 per hour for your work. Your costs will be things like gas, office supplies, CRM software, and phone bills. Your costs might be somewhere around $200 per week. Working 40 hours per week at $35 per hour, your gross income would be $1,400 per week. Subtract the $200 per week in expenses and you will make $1,200 per week or $4,800 per month! It all depends on how fast you can find your clientele and keep them happy.
4. Use Cashback Apps and Get Paid to Shop Online or In Stores
Cashback apps will pay you in cash or points for gift cards and rewards to shop at partnered retail stores. The way it works is you create a free account with one of the cashback apps listed below, and then shop at any of their partner retail stores for free offers and money back.
Retail stores will pay marketing companies such as a cashback website, to send customers to their stores. When these referred customers (you and me) make a purchase, the referring cashback website gets paid a small commission from the partnered store. They then pass on a portion of the commission to you in the form of cashback, rewards points, gift cards and free offers!
Among some of the best cashback websites available are:
- Rakuten: You may have heard of Ebates, which was recently transitioned to Rakuten. Rakuten is a cashback website that pays you to shop at their partnered stores and get up to 40% cashback. They pay you in cash, rather than points or gift cards, plus you can get a $10 bonus just for signing up.
- Ibotta: Ibotta provides cashback offers for both online and in-store purchases. Among their thousands of partnered retail stores, you can earn money from everything like grocery shopping to shopping on Amazon.com. You can even get paid for uploading your receipts to the app.
- TopCashback: TopCashback is like Rakuten in that you can shop online and receive cashback offers for purchases made at partner retailers. TopCashback is unique in that it’s said to be the fastest-growing cashback site and they even say they guarantee to be the top-paying cashback website.
- Dosh: Dosh allows you to link your debit card and/or credit card to their secure app. The app then automatically tracks your purchases and rewards you when purchases are made at any of their thousands of stores and restaurants. Dosh pays up to 10% cashback and even pays you $5 for referring friends and family to use the app.
- Drop: Drop rewards it’s users with points instead of cash. The points can be redeemed at popular stores like Amazon, Netflix, and Starbucks among many others. Cash can be great, but there is something to be said about having rewards points at your favorite stores, making you pay yourself back in gifts rather than extra gas at the gas station.
- Swagbucks: Not only does Swagbucks pay you to shop online, but you can also make money doing other online activities like watching videos and completing surveys. For each activity completed, you get paid in Swagbucks that can be redeemed for cash and gift cards.
- MyPoints: MyPoints has partnered with 2,000+ top retailers and promotes paying its members up to 40% cashback for shopping. You can redeem your cashback via gift cards at your favorite stores like Amazon.com, or for a general Visa gift card.
If you’re a “shop till you drop” spender, then using cashback apps and websites like these listed above will save you potentially hundreds of extra dollars and rewards. In fact, if you use these apps in sync with some of the previously listed ways to make money shopping, it’s just extra money on top!
How Much Can You Make?
Cashback websites shouldn’t be considered a way to replace a full-time job. However, their fullest potential is when you use them consistently. Using a popular website like Ibotta, you could make an extra $10-$15 per week just by uploading your receipts and taking advantage of the available offers through the app. Some our regular purchases will naturally qualify offers, or even multiple. The key is to not spend any extra money. You buy what you need to buy, but use the cashback apps to get compensated for it. By the end of the year you’ll have a great amount of savings to spend on the holidays or use as you please!
5. Pay with A Cash Back Credit Card
If you don’t yet have a cashback credit card, you’re missing out on a lot of free money. By putting your shopping expenses on a credit card and paying it off each month, you’re able to both build your credit and earn free money while shopping. Here are some of the best cashback credit cards available:
- Chase Freedom Unlimited Card: If you have relatively moderate to high living expenses, then paying for those expenses with Chase Freedom Unlimited Card will make you money hand over fist. New cardholders earn 3% cash back on up to $20,000 of purchases made within the first year. After that, you get 1.5% cashback on all other purchases made.
- Chase Freedom Card: The Chase Freedom Card gives you 1% cashback on all purchases made and allows you to get 5% cash back on purchases made in selected categories. Each quarter, you get to choose up to 3 categories in which you will receive the 5% cash back when making purchases at stores within these categories. Categories range from grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, clothing retail stores, etc.
- Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Card: The Capital One Savor rewards card will pay you unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment-related stores. You get unlimited 2% cashback at grocery stores and 1% cashback on all other purchases made. For new cardholders, you can receive a $300 cash bonus when signing up.
With the right credit score and with proper budgeting habits, you could almost set up a spending plan that gets you 3% – 5% cashback on nearly all living expenses. By using multiple cash back credit cards for your recurring daily expenses in the categories that they cater to most, you could save hundreds and even thousands of dollars each year for purchases you already make!
How Much Can You Make?
Using cashback credit cards may be one of the easiest ways to make a lot of extra money passively. Just for using the card, you will get loads of cashback built up over time, and no changes to your lifestyle are needed. Perhaps you decide to use the Capital One Savor Card because it offers unlimited cashback of 4% for entertainment and dining, and 2% cashback on groceries.
If you have a monthly grocery spend of $500 and you spend about $200 per month on entertainment and dining, your total cashback would be approximately $24 per month ($500 x 0.04 = $20, $200 x 0.02 = $4, $20 + $4 = $24 total cashback), and that’s not including the additional 1% cashback on all other purchases, or the $300 sign-on bonus!
Shopping Just Got Even More Fun!
Just by using the different ways to make money while you shop, you can almost organize things in such a way that you shop and purchase your items with the money you make from shopping in the first place! Whether you’re looking to create a full-time income working your own hours, or whether you just want some extra cash, there are ways to make money for those who like to shop and spend money.
READ NEXT: How to Start a Side Hustle