I haven’t been writing about my manufactured spending routine lately, but I have been pretty active. If you follow me on Snapchat (username: Pointchaser), you’ve probably seen some evidence of this (though how many pictures of discarded gift cards and stacks of money orders can you post before it gets redundant?). In the past few weeks, I’ve changed my approach a bit. I don’t go out on my almost daily runs anymore, stocking up on $9,500 worth of Visa gift cards and then liquidating them the name day. For the most part, I’ve been ordering gift cards online to eliminate out of pocket costs and then heading out, mostly on weekends, on one big manufactured spending run. During these runs, I’ll also stop by my local mall to pick up a batch of Visa gift cards and then go about liquidating them.
For a while, I was going on at least 3-4 runs per week and that started to get the attention of WM cashiers. I don’t want to be too familiar of a face and gift card churning can be a bit soul crushing at times, so I really want to minimize the amount of time and energy I devote to it. In the past, this meant about 5-10 hours per week, tops. I’m lucky that I live in an area with five WM’s within a 10 mile radius, but since some of them are complete zoos and one of my regulars has stopped accepting gift cards for money order purchases, my options have become somewhat limited.
So I’m focusing on high impact ms runs: I stock up on gift cards via online orders during the week, make at least one stop at my local mall for a large batch of cards (sometimes I make it there two or more times if I’m running errands), and then spend a weekend afternoon unloading them all. This ends up taking up about 3 hours a week but helps me churn about $30,000 worth of gift cards.
The only obstacle I’ve been facing lately is when placing orders on Giftcards.com. After I place an order in my name, I log out of my account and proceed to place another order in my brother or dad’s name. Despite the fact that I log in using their credentials, I sometimes get a message at checkout stating that I’ve hit the daily maximum for gift card purchases and can’t order anymore. I’m not sure what’s behind it, but it happens occasionally and lowers the amount of manufactured spending I can do per day.
For the most part, things have been going smoothly and I’ve even had a couple of GiftcardMall orders go through. I find that keeping them under $4,000 ensures the transaction doesn’t get cancelled. My portal of choice at the moment is Yazing, which has been awesome – they pay out within 30 days and offer competitive cash back rates that help eliminate manufactured spending costs. The other portal I’ve used, iConsumer, has been much slower – it took four months to get my first payout and just two days ago I got notice that my second payout was on its way. At this point, they owe me around $200 more in cash back, which will probably take another month or so to process.
Ordering gift cards online through cash back portals may limit the amount of manufactured spending I can do, but it makes it much cheaper and less time consuming. With my new approach of doing one big manufactured spending run per week, liquidating cards is also more manageable and less time consuming. Now when I show up at a WM to buy money orders, the cashiers don’t get that suspicious look on their faces anymore. It all works out pretty well.
I’d love to know how you’re all organizing your ms runs – do you do several per week or one big batch at a time?
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