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If you’re going to be doing any kind of manufactured spending or product or gift card reselling, you’re usually going to have to do a serious amount of volume to make it worthwhile.  Take gift card reselling for example – many deals are going to have a margin around 1%, meaning to make $1, you have to buy (and process) $100 in gift cards.

[SEE ALSO: How to get started in gift card reselling]

So in our example, to get even $100 of profit, you’ll have to buy $10,000 in gift cards.  Similar exercises could be done for product reselling or the buy gift cards turn them into money orders games that many people play.

But $10,000 starts sounding an awful lot like “real” money, and if you don’t keep track of that, you are going to end in a serious hole.  It doesn’t take much carelessness to wipe out MONTHS of profits.  Here’s my story

First, I lost 3 $988.50 money orders

Like many folks, I was playing the 5-back game when that was profitable (and easy) at CVS.  This entailed getting a lot of $988.50 money orders and was my first impetus in really tracking down my gift cards and making sure I wasn’t losing or forgetting any gift cards.  I was going through my records this morning and could not find 3 of my money orders (totaling nearly $3000).  I typically use mobile deposit to deposit my money orders, so I still have the actual physical money orders, but the bank I’ve been using had no records of these 3 money orders.

I looked all around my house trying to find them, giving myself a heart attack or 2, before realizing that these 3 money orders were the first 3 that I had bought, before my bank account at my current bank had been set up, so they had been deposited in my regular bank account.

Crisis averted!


Then I lost $2700 in gift cards

Later in the day, I was going through my gift cards that I’ve bought and trying to upgrade my spreadsheet of gift cards.  I have talked before about how I organize my gift cards physically, and that is still working for me, but up until today I had just been working on a spreadsheet with my card numbers, and it was getting hard to reconcile when I was getting paid by the various gift card resellers that I use.  What I settled on was using AirTable and we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, I have been buying a particular brand of gift card that has been 20% off at Kroger lately.  I had bought a bunch of them on Tuesday and had those, but in going through my credit card statements, I found that I was missing 27 of them.  5 from Sat 2/21, 4 from Fri 2/27, 12 from Sat 2/28 and 6 more from another store on Sat 2/28.

I really started freaking out about those because I had ALREADY looked through everywhere this morning looking for the lost money orders.  I started looking through the trash, and picturing my kids helpfully “cleaning up” and throwing them out.  I even Googled “What to do if you lose a gift card” (answer, without the activation codes, you’re in trouble).

But then later in the evening, I found them.  They were actually in my gift card organizing boxes – I hadn’t spotted them earlier because I was looking for Kroger bags, apparently forgetting that I had earlier taken them out and rubber banded them together.

In any case, I was glad to have not actually lost any money today

What’s your worst story or closest call with losing high-ticket gift cards or other forms of money?

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