Thursday, June 28, 2007

Credit Agencies Make Me Sick

Last night I saw another commericial for "" This is where you go to get a "free" credit report. However you have to enroll in their "Triple Advantage" program which means the report is by no means free.

For those of you who don't know, everybody in the US can get a free credit report from all three agencies free once a year. The address for the free report is

Here are some even better tips. You can get your report from all three agencies at once, but usually they will contain the same information. The best thing to do is get one every 4 months. (for example in Jan., May, Sept, then Jan again) This way you can keep track of your report for FREE all year. If you notice anything that seems out of place contact the agency. If they make a change they will report it to the other two.

Sometimes when I get my free credit report I will go ahead and check my score too. This is not free. It can cost anywhere from 4 to 7 dollars from the credit agencies but I like to pay a little more and get a better report. I get that from

The last time I got mine it was around $15. Which is almost double the price above BUT it tells you what you are doing right AND what you are doing wrong. For instance, I had opened too many new accounts in the past year. Now that I know that I will be keeping it to a minimum. I only check my score about once a year.

I hope this information helps someone. I get so mad at those commercials. I feel like they should have to disclose the fact that you REALLY can get one for free. Something you rarely hear about anymore.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Ok, goofy title for a post on this blog. But, on Friday I will be getting my extra check. I am really excited because it means I can finally put some cash in an emergency savings account, which means it will be even easier for me to NOT use my credit card.

So far with less than a week left in June I STILL haven't used it. YEA!!! I plan on putting around $1000 in savings and using the rest to pay down the card. I am also hoping to get around to some more mystery shopping next month so I am hoping that will help too. I have been letting all my mystery shop and survey money just funnel into my savings account. I don't even know what the balance is right now.

Oh, yeah, I may be hosting the Carnival of Debt Reduction soon so keep an eye out!!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I am so Proud of Myself!!

For two reasons- the lesser of the two being that I am posting again with less than one month seperating my posts!

The more important reason is because I have not used my credit card ALL month!!! And I really need to, cuz I am really broke. But, I am not going to. And, I have even more reasons not to now, but that is personal :)

Anyway, I am not really sure if I even have any readers, but if I do PLEASE post your own tips for keeping your credit card IN your wallet! I would love to hear some ideas!

I am already starting to come up with some ideas for next month. One of those ideas being to take out cash instead of using my debit card. Yeah, I know DUH- but I absolutely HATE having to go inside the store to pay for gas. I was thinking about opening up a gas credit card account and just paying it in full at the end of the month- BUT- I am trying to improve my credit score so that would kind of defeat the purpose. ANyway- please share your tips. I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A few good survey companies to sign up with:

Here are a few that I belong to-

Survey Savvy
This one doesn't send as many but they do pay quickly.
This company sends good surveys and pays well for what they ask you to do. Pay quickly.
You earn points which can later be redeemed for cash or prizes.

This is for prizes only, but the prizes are pretty good and this site has sent me the most surveys of all. I am already up to $30 in rewards currency which can be redeemed for airline miles, yearlong magazine subscriptions, money off different retailers etc.

Full disclosure- some of these are affiliate links (not all -these truly are the best I know of). Once you join you can also become an affiliate.

Supplementing Income Part 2 or The Mystery Shop/ Survey Saga

Well, I am not exactly sure how long it has been since I began mystery shopping and taking surveys but I have definitely made some money. Here are my findings so far.

When I began mystery shopping I signed on with two companies. I quickly found out that I would not find many jobs working for only two companies. I am now signed on with about 6 different agencies and honestly even with that many, if I wanted to make this a full time gig, it would be impossible. As a matter of fact in the time since I began I have completed only two shops and have made a total of $25. This is partly due to working and just not having time to do it as much as I would like. I am going to try to do a lot more in July and I will keep you updated on that.

Pros/Cons of mystery shopping-
It is kind of fun, if you don't mind lying your butt off. Most companies require you to have a "scenario" in mind when you shop. For example, they may have you go in and ask for something you would never buy for yourself and you have to go in and say, "oh, it is for my dad/mom/husband etc. " Also, there are specific things they are checking to see if the clerk offers you like reward programs, asking you to sign up for a credit card, etc. I actually felt bad when a person I shopped told me I could get the item for a better price at another store, and I had to put that in my report complete with his name and description attached.

Another problem can be the amount of money versus the length of the survey. Some companies have relatively simple surveys that take 5 minutes to complete, so ten dollars for that company is easy money. However one of the shops I did was very simple but the survey was 10 pages long and all I got was ten dollars. I didn't feel it was worth the money in the end because of all the time I spent on the report.

Most companies are also very picky about grammar, punctuation, and spelling in the report, so if you aren't very good with writing the narratives can be tough, and they will dock your fee.

On the positive side, you get paid to shop. You do not always have to make a purchase and usually when you do it is reimbursed. Occasionally you may do a shop when in the end you "reveal" yourself in some kind of kooky grand finale and tell the manager all about your waitress and then get your meal comped. Lol, I haven't done one of those yet. Seems just a little too corny.

On to the surveys. I have honestly made about the same amount of money here for what I feel is less work although it can be tedious. And yes, there are companies who pay $5 per survey (although, I am sworn to secrecy now that I am a member, see the links at the bottom for some hints). You cannot make the huge amount that some companies tout. Plus, in order to make that kind of money you would have to be taking five to ten surveys a day and that would really suck. They are not a ton of fun to take, and depending on the pay I do turn some of them down. I will not do a 15 minute survey for $1. It just isn't worth it to me. If you want to make money without doing a lot of work, surveys are the way to go. You won't get rich, but I think I have some great tips on how to make the money add up.

My biggest tip is to open a paypal account if you don't already have one. There is one survey company and one mystery shop company I use that sends actual paper checks, the rest deposit directly to paypal. (and some will NOT do it any other way) I have just been letting the money pile up. Personally I am trying to save up toward a vacation. Obviously it will take a while, but I just let it pile up and I don't even check the balance. (I do check to make sure my mystery shop payments go through, because I do consider that a part time job, but I am not as worried about the survey money).

The greatest tip I have for any reader is to visit the website This is an unbelievable resource for finding mystery shop jobs, merchandising jobs, and survey opportunities. One of my favorite sections is the "Stuff I found" forum. It is a great place to find awesome freebies and this helps me curb my need to shop til I drop. I hope to do a complete article on Volition in the near future! Oh and that is also my hint for the great paying survey company... go play hangman- or check out the forums it shouldn't take too long for you to find it!