You know that Bruno Mars song that goes, “Today, I don’t feel like doing anything…” that’s my mantra on the weekends. I still work full time while juggling freelance writing gigs, side hustles, and did I mention I’m working on a manufactured spending app? I’ve decided in addition to all of that, I’m going to force myself back into a regular manufactured spending routine. Why am I doing this to myself? Because it’s a healthier, more productive way to spend my free time than binge-watching Vox videos on YouTube.
Since I’ve had so much going on, I haven’t been to Walmart in over a month. While my ms-friendly store is halfway between home and work, it does require a bit of a detour. I don’t want to wake up a half hour earlier every morning and the line to buy money orders tends to be way too long in the evening. So I’m making a commitment to start churning gift cards at least one day a week – preferably Saturday. But not this Saturday, because I’m going to Southern California. And not next Saturday because I’ll be at FTU Seattle. The one after that.
What’s brought out this determination to pile more stuff to my plate? I miss the high of churning $10,000+ worth of gift cards in a day. While it eventually became “work” when I started overdoing it, I really miss getting those notifications from Award Wallet showing my airline account balances going up every couple of weeks. Plus, I feel super lucky to have found an MS-friendly Walmart and don’t want to let that go to waste. The only problem? Making gift card churning a priority when all I want to do in my free time is watch videos about why the Concorde failed and why the triple axel is such a big deal. So I’m putting a reminder on my calendar for every Saturday to go on a Walmart run instead.
In the past, I would write manufactured spending down on a to-do list, which is easy to ignore. I found that harassing myself with email reminders doesn’t work anymore either. When the emails start piling up, it just creates more stress and incentive for me to “take a break” from checking emails for a week or two. I’ve resorted to setting calendar reminders for everything. Just the sheer anticipation of that obnoxious pinging sound on my phone is enough to motivate me to get it done early, so I can delete the reminder altogether. It’s become an oddly effective incentive to get things done.
As for buying gift cards, I’ve said it before – gift card churning takes time and exceptional organizational skills. At this point, I can’t realistically track thousands of dollars worth of giftcards.com orders every week. So I’ll probably just stick to buying $300 Visa gift cards in-store, at OfficeDepot. It’s easier for me to track gift cards with a paper trail than an electronic one. This will also give me a chance to take a break in the middle of the day, get closer to my daily step goal, and get my Ultimate Rewards balance up. Really, I’m getting three things done at once, which is a huge plus!
As other things are piling up on my plate, I realize the importance of not giving up on manufactured spending. It’s not just a great side hustle, I have fun doing it …when I actually dedicate time to it. I want to commit to prioritizing this over my occasional binge-watching habit, because it’s personally rewarding and productive. Balance is key and manufactured spending helps me achieve that.
I want to hear from you all: How do you prioritize manufactured spending as part of your daily routine?
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