So with 6 kids, I (obviously) don’t have a ton of free time. But I really enjoy the “Manufactured Spending” side of this hobby. To me, it’s all part of a big “game” that I enjoy trying to “win”
I think that’s one of the reasons I really like the Frequent Miler’s blog – he and I think very similarly, which should probably not come as a surprise since as I recall, he was also in the software development industry before he started blogging full-time.
Traditionally, Manufactured Spending (MS) is thought of more of the whole buy some sort of card (Vanilla Reloads, OneVanilla, coins from the US Mint, etc.) with a credit card and then transfer that into something (Bluebird / Money Order, etc.) that you can deposit in your bank account.
This can be a lucrative source of points and I’m sure there are people who really get a TON of points from it. I’ve done it some, mostly to meet spending requirements rather than as an ongoing source of points.
The flip side of that coin (like how I just slipped in a US Mint joke there?!?) is reselling. In reselling, you look for something that is on sale somewhere and then you buy it and resell it somewhere else (generally Amazon, eBay or Craigslist).
Of course, you want to stack as many coupons or discounts on the item as you can, and you’ll typically go through a shopping portal to earn even more miles. Double or triple dipping through the portal is even better!
My experience this week with Sears
I wanted to share with you my recent experience at Sears. In addition to Frequent Miler, who sent out the heads-up through his excellent “Quick Deals” subscription service, Big Habitat over at Saverocity is my go-to guy for reselling through Sears. In fact, he recently earned not 1, but TWO Southwest Companion Passes, in one month, exclusively from reselling. That’s 220,000 miles, so you can see how lucrative it can be.
This past Friday, the Southwest Rapid Rewards portal was offering 9x on purchases at Sears. Because portals pay out on gift card purchases at Sears, it’s a good way to double dip. I’ll use $1000 to make the math easier
- First, go through the Southwest shopping portal and buy $1000 in e-gift cards. That’s 9,000 points
- Wait for the gift cards to come in your email
- Then, go back through the Southwest shopping portal and buy $1000 in merchandise, paying for it with your gift cards. That’s another 9,000 points
- Step 4: Profit? :-). You actually can turn a small profit if you buy the right stuff, but mostly you’re just trying to resell the stuff and recoup as much of the $1000 that you can. WHATEVER YOU DO, RESIST THE TEMPTATION to buy stuff you think you want / need. My advice would be to keep those purchases separate, or you’ll find yourself buying things you don’t really need, rationalizing that you’re getting points on it.
What to buy?
That’s typically most people’s first question, and there aren’t easy answers. If I tell you what I am buying, and you buy it with the hopes of reselling it, then all of a sudden you’re my competitor, right?
I’ll leave it vague by saying that you’re typically looking for things that are hot deals and things that lots of people want. Electronics are good, things that are lighter are usually good (especially since you’re typically going to have to ship it to either Amazon or eBay and you can ship a tablet a lot easier than a lawnmower).
With Sears, they often have deals where they will give you Sears “Shop Your Way Rewards” points back with your purchase. So something that (totally hypothetically) costs $497.99 might come with 100,000 SYWR points (aka $100).
How’d it go down?
Okay here’s how it went down.
- Step 1 – I bought 2 $500 Sears e-Gift cards, and sent them to myself. For one of them I used a $500 American Express gift card that I had purchased a few weeks ago (another way to MS). For the other I used my trusty Barclay Arrival card (since I’m a few thousand points short to pay for my rental car)
- Step 2 – These usually process in about an hour, but they are apparently often held up by Fraud Prevention. They say to call them proactively at 1-888-396-5299 but they actually called me. They verified the standard stuff, and then they asked me some “Lexis Nexis” questions. One of them almost got me – they asked which of these 5 people I knew and then listed off 5 people I had not heard of. I was nervous to choose “None of the Above” since I was worried that I had just forgotten but that turned out to be correct.
- Step 3 – I had 42,0000 SYWR points from a previous reselling “toe in the water” purchase a few weeks ago, but they had expired (naturally they expire which is all part of Sears’s scam). I called the SYWR customer service line and they were able to un-expire them for me.
- Step 4 – then it was time to purchase. I closed my browser and re-opened it, just to be safe, and then clicked on the Sears link in the Southwest shopping portal.My first purchase was about $500 after tax, but I used my $42 in SWYR and then paid for my purchase with one of the gift cards. This purchase netted another 102,000 SWYR points ($102)
- Step 5 – Repeated the purchase and used the $102 in rewards from the Step 4 purchase. This one got me another $102 in rewards
- Step 6 – If I was reading Sears.com correctly, you can only get the $100 in rewards on this particular product twice, so since I still had about $150 in gift cards left, I bought something else, and called it a day.
Was it worth it?
I’m not sure? I will give a more full report once I’m able to crunch the numbers some more, but I believe that I should be able to sell all those things for about the price I have in them, so that should net me around 20,000 Rapid Rewards points for very little cost (other than some sweat and tears). I’ll let you know how it goes.
What about you? Have you ever done reselling at any kind of scale? How’d it work out?