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The Mystery Shopping Club

Do you need some extra income? - Casual work available now.

The following is an article taken from Choices Magazine after a visit to The High Street Central Mystery Shopping Club.

"Wanted: Shopaholic nosey parker with excellent observational skills, a good ear and flexible attitude to part-time work. Anyone can apply. Work available in all areas. Must be prepared to eat free meals, enjoy shopping discounts and visit pubs - and be paid for it."

Believe it or not, the above job advertisement is not as far fetched as it sounds. If you love shopping, you'll be pleased to hear that it's possible to shop for a living. In fact, it's a multi-million pound industry for market research companies who employ "mystery shoppers" to shop up and down the country - all in the name of customer service and research.

There are a number of mystery shopping companies who organise whole armies of professional shoppers on behalf of retailers, pubs, restaurants, banks and other service industries. Their mission? To mingle in, look inconspicuous and file a report on anything from customer service to cleanliness in the restrooms.

If you visit one or two pubs in a night, you'll get your food and drink paid for, travel expenses and you'll be paid anything from £6.00 or £7.00 (US$12) up for each visit.

But there is one problem with mystery shopping: truly dedicated shoppers never switch off from their work. You'll find yourself compulsively evaluating service and checking ceilings for cobwebs even when you're not on duty. It eventually becomes a part of your life.

To find out more about casual employment opportunities in the "Secret Shopper" industry, please visit:

The Mystery Shopping Club UK

The Mystery Shopping Club USA or UK or Canada

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UK Loans

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The Battle of the Budget: How To Get Out of Debt

Debt is one of our most universally felt problems. Almost everyone has been in debt at some point. Debt can feel oppressive, frustrating and debilitating, but quite often it isn't as bad as it seems. The key to getting out of debt is action. You can't bury your head in the sand. Take control of your problem. If you let debt rule your life, you'll never get anywhere, and you can be sure that you'll never get that business off the ground. Here are a few tips which might help.

First, Budget. I can't stress how important this is. If you don't know how much money you have and where it's gone too, you'll never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep meticulous records, and eliminate every wasteful expenditure you can. This may sound difficult, but it is a must, and it gets easier as you get used to doing it.

Second, Aggressively pay off your credit cards. Credit cards can be a huge drain on your income simply because of interest. Most card payment plans are set up so that your minimum payment is only slightly larger than your monthly finance charge. If you stick to the minimum you will end up paying thousands in interest, a few dollars at a time. You've got to pay as much per month as you possibly can. Send double and triple payments whenever possible, and always give the most to the card with the highest interest rate.

Also, several credit card companies offer very low interest rates for an introductory period, on new accounts. If your credit rating is still decent, you may want to open a new credit account with one of these companies You can then transfer your high interest balance onto the new card and then pay it down as quickly as possible.

Third, Go to a credit counselor or debt consolidator. Consumer Credit Counseling or Debt Counselors of America are reputable agencies in this line of work. The main benefit here is that if you sign an agreement with a credit counselor, quite often your creditors will agree to lower your interest rates and even forego your late fees, something they would never do if you asked on your own. Also, 98% of your creditors will stop reporting you as late or delinquent to the credit reporting agencies. This type of agreement will typically freeze your accounts until paid in full, but if you're really trying to get out of debt then you shouldn't be using your credit cards anyway, right?

Finally, don't declare bankruptcy. Sometimes things can get so bad that declaring bankruptcy may seem like the only answer. It isn't, and it will only cause you more trouble. Bankruptcy can eliminate your debt, yes, but it also completely ruins your credit rating for the next ten years. If you are dreaming of starting a business, forget it. No one will finance you for anything, not even a gas card, with a bankruptcy on your record.

So remember. Keep a working budget, this is the basic key to getting out of debt, and the other tips won't work without it. Pay off your credit cards, and stop losing your money to interest. If necessary go to a debt counselor, but never, I repeat never, declare bankruptcy. There's money to be made out there if you just know how to do it.

Alvin Apple helps everyday people start businesses they will enjoy. Then he teaches them how to succeed. Read all his helpful strategies at AlvinApple.com. Reach Alvin at 801-328-9006 or alvin@drnunley.com.

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