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Continuing the fun at the Family Travel for Real Life (#FT4RL) conference, and continuing the live blogging! I hope that you will follow along with me as we learn about family travel, and how those of us with families can take part in it with their families. See below for the lineup of speakers and follow us throughout the day with hashtag #FT4RL on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
I don’t know how it is possible to top the AMAZING first speaker (uhhhh…. me?) :-), but next up we have Trevor from Tagging Miles and Kenny from Miles4More talking about earning (manufactured spending) and reselling. My experiences with reselling have been okay (certainly better than my debacles trying to do gift card arbitrage!), so I’m looking forward to this one! Kenny definitely brought the house down with some of the stuff he shared at the last FT4RL conference, but unfortunately his flight was delayed due to weather and he wasn’t able to make it, so he Skyped in
Start with goals – not plans
First Kenny started talking about goals not plans – one of Kenny’s goals is to show his kids as much of the planet as he can – it’s often better to focus on more high-level goals rather than trying to plan everything out in minute detail.
Every family has challenges, but now, with all the crazy miles and points bonuses that are available, transportation and lodging costs are no longer among those challenges – you can pretty much get anywhere and stay anywhere, paid for by someone else (using miles and points). Trevor and Kenny shared their maps of where they’ve traveled over the past few months. I use OpenFlights to track my flights – here’s my flight map (though it’s a few months out of date)
Now let’s talk about spending – everyone’s favorite topic
There are a few different categories of spending
- Everyday spending – stuff you were already going to buy. The one thing to watch out for is that it is SO much easier to spend money, it’s hard to not spend EXTRA money that you weren’t going to spend in order to get a reward
- Manufactured spending – try to get the biggest bang for the lowest amount of time (seeking the most efficient use of your 168 hours / week)
Kenny shared the graphic his son made from last year’s presentation
He then had a great slide that his 10 year old son made of his understanding of manufactured spending
— Points with a Crew (@PointsWithACrew) March 7, 2015
We’ve actually had a lot of things missing from when we did it back in March. First the Redcard stopped credit card loads, and then debit card loads, and now it’s essentially worthless for Manufacture Spending. You can also no longer buy Amex Gift cards with any kind of scale, and there are not really any miles earning debit cards.
He did share that one strategy he is using is Nationwide VisaBuxx – that’s something
Legal stuff and good advice
Structuring is illegal – don’t try to purchase or deposit to avoid reporting transaction amounts
Don’t poop where you eat! Kenny said he likes to keep some secondary banks to deposit money orders that is SEPARATE from where he does his normal family spending
Gift Card churning
The pros of gift card churning are that you can for the most part do it home (in your pajamas!) and that the spending patterns don’t look quite as crazy as say, buying $10,000 in Visa gift cards at Office Max 😛
If you’re going to do this full time, you’ll want to take the time to call to the various exchanges and qualify for bulk seller status.
Going into reselling
Trevor and Kenny have found the best way to get the most miles for the least time expenditure is reselling products. At its core, it’s the same thing that you’re doing with gift card churning – arbitrage. Buy low, sell high
You can do retail arbitrage, when you’re at the store just scan products with the Amazon app while you’re waiting to identify possible stores
The main avenue for reselling is online arbitrage. This is where you buy “stuff” from online stores (usually through a shopping portal) with the idea of selling it later (usually through eBay or Fulfilled by Amazon)
Here are Trevor’s “Levels of Reselling” (patent pending)
- Level 1: Leveraging blogs (like BigHabitat or Oren’s Money Saver)
- Level 2: Finding deals on Slickdeals or FatWallet and then doing your own analysis
- Level 3: Finding your own products
- Level 4: Leveraging / Maximizing Promotions / Portals
- Level 5: Buying gift cards and double or triple-dipping (My experience with 19x points through shopping portals at Sears)
A typical reselling
Find a product that costs somewhere around $15-$50 with 30%-100% profit margins. Kenny said at their current pace, this adds around $50,000 yearly to their household spending (which if I am doing the math right, means over 1000 total products!). He shared this Jimmy Fallon clip
I’ll say that I have dabbled in reselling, but this presentation has made me realize that I really need to step up my reselling game.
Matt from Saverocity had a great article the other day about the tax implications of reselling, which are definitely something to consider if you do it more
Churning is dead!
There have been a lot of negative aspects to Churning – you can read about some of these in the Current Rules of credit card churning. Things like Amex limiting you to one bonus in your lifetime, or Chase cracking down on churners.
Kenny shared that Churning is dead. Over. The end.
But then he shared how many new accounts he and his wife opened in 2013, 2014, and 2015. I don’t want to share the exact numbers, but his point was that it was pretty much the same throughout the last few years, even with the new rules.
Once again, this was a great presentation and I took down some good notes about ways I can do better.