It’s that time of year again when the summer displays at stores are replaced with back to school items like school supplies, backpacks, and fall clothing. Back to school is an expensive time for families, and especially so for those families with more than one child. When you think about the clothes, shoes, backpacks, and the ever-growing list of school supplies you need to buy before that first school bell rings, you can really feel the pain in your wallet. But as a mystery shopper, you can make getting the kids ready to go back to school a little more affordable when you pick and choose your assignments carefully. Here are some tips and strategies that you can start using right away for your back to school shopping trips.
Brainstorm First. You buy all of your back to school items at that “big box” discount store down the street every year, but that doesn’t mean you have to this year. If you weren’t a mystery shopper, that store may be the most affordable place to go to get a lot of your kids’ gear. But as a mystery shopper, you can get reimbursed for purchases at other stores, which essentially makes those items free. So take advantage of this opportunity. Start by brainstorming all of the stores where you are able to buy school supplies such as office supplies stores, grocery stores, big box stores, dollar stores, drug stores, and more. Then add to the list the stores where you can buy kids school clothes, backpacks, and shoes. For the next few weeks until school starts back up, plan to request as many of these assignments as you can.
Strategic Purchasing. Chances are, you are going to raid the job boards and request a whole slew of assignments without putting much thought into what you are going to buy at those stores. So now that you have a bunch of assignments with expense reimbursements, make a plan of which items you will buy at each store, keeping in mind the expense reimbursement amount. Ideally, you want to have most all of the items you need to purchase assigned to your mystery shopping assignments, so you don’t have to sit around during each site visit and wonder what it is that you still need to buy.
Shop Now. During this time of year, other mystery shoppers are planning to do this same thing with mystery shopping assignments, so the assignments for stores that sell anything back to school related are sure to go fast. To get the best assignments at the top back to school stores, make plans to start back to school shopping early, even in the middle of summer. You can get the school supplies list from your school, and you likely already know that Johnny is going to need a new pair of sneakers and Suzy needs a backpack and lunch box. So with this in mind, get your shopping started early to take full advantage of the assignments you can get your hands on.
Back to school is an expensive time for families, but luckily you can use your mystery shopping assignments to make it more affordable for you!