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One of the tenets of successful Manufactured Spending is to have a variety of techniques.  If all you know is loading with Amazon Payments, then you’ll be in trouble when Amazon Payments goes away.  If your only technique is loading your credit card with a Target Red card, when that went away, you’re left holding the bag.

I don’t do a ton of MS, but I dabble in a few areas.  I do some gift card loading (to Redbird), and I have already documented how my first forays into gift card reselling…. didn’t go so well.  Today it’s time to document a bit of my adventures reselling

The theory of reselling

The theory of reselling is pretty easy – find something that is selling for lower on one site, buy it, and sell it somewhere else for more.  Seems easy, right?  And in the best case scenario it is.  There are things that can go wrong (sales tax, returns on your resell, product that won’t resell, etc.), so given that, why would you want to go through all that hassle only to maybe break-even or make a few dollars?

The real reasons reselling can make sense are:

  1. Using portal bonuses to rack up thousands if not tens of thousands of miles and points
  2. Meeting minimum spending requirements on credit cards

For example, as part of my most recent credit card signup, I signed up for 2 of the Hilton limited-time 75,000 point offer ($2,000 spending requirement for both Carolyn and I) as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest® business card from American Express now that the bonus is up to 30,000 SPG points.  That’s another $5,000 in spending.  All in all, I have over $10,000 in spending to make over the next 3 months.  And while I have 8 mouths to feed, we do try to keep posts down, so manufacturing some spending is always called for!

(SEE ALSO: What does a budget for a family of 8 look like?)

Finding the deals

I got a comment on my blog a few weeks ago asking for help in trying to use shopping portals to buy things for reselling.  My response was that knowing how to do it (the theory) is the easy part – finding the deals is the tricky part!

A lot of times, there is reticence in sharing some of these deals.  After all, if I tell you about a deal, then not only am I competing with you in buying the deal (if there is limited supply), but I’m also then competing with you on the RESALE too!

I don’t have a ton of time (or choose not to spend my time) digging through Slickdeals, FatWallet or other deal related sites.  There are a few blogs that I’ve seen that often share good reselling deals.  BigHabitat is one blog and a recent one that I’ve started following is Oren’s Money Saver.

Selling Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)

Many of the deals I’ve recently done involve buying something on Ebay and reselling it on Amazon.  Amazon has a system called “Fulfilled By Amazon” where you ship them the item, and then they take care of listing it, getting the payment, dealing with the customer and shipping the item to its final destination.  Of course this comes with a fee, but if you’re buying with enough margin, it can make sense

I’ve also had success buying at Sears (including getting 19x through double dipping at a portal)

Trevor at Tagging Miles has a good series on how to get started with Fulfilled by Amazon

Examples of recent real-life reselling deals I’ve done

Here are two examples of deals I’ve done within the past month.

Macbook Pro 13.3″

  • Selling on Ebay for $799.99, with no tax and free shipping
  • Going through TopCashback earns 1.2%, or $9.60
  • I got 4% in Ebay bucks (normally you earn 2% but it was during a promotion offering double Ebay backs.  That’s $32

On the selling side, it sold for $894.45, but I had the following fees:

  • $54.66 in FBA fees
  • $5 in shipping

So I made about $60 on that deal, not counting the Ebay bucks, which are useful but not at 100% face value IMO, plus $800 in credit card spend

Microsoft Surface tablet

  • Again, I bought it from Ebay, for $629.99 with no tax and free shipping
  • 1.2% from Top Cashback gets me $7.56
  • 4% in Ebay bucks got me $25.20

Mine currently have not sold yet, but I have it listed at $667.99, with estimated fees of $41.07 plus the $5 it was to ship them to Amazon, so in this case I will about break even, though for these I did use some discounted Ebay gift cards that I bought at a discount.

Where I can (personally) improve my reselling

Here are some thoughts on how I can improve my reselling margins:

  1. My turnaround time.  Boxes of things I’ve ordered tend to sit in my dining room for days (and sometimes weeks!) on end.  In addition to contributing to marital dis-harmony, this increases my float (and risk)
  2. Buying more Ebay gift cards at a discount (or with 5x or better points earning)
  3. Being more confident about deals – with the value of the points you are often getting, even marginal deals can make sense.  And the more I do, the more confidence I’ll get as well as knowledge about what does and does not make a deal
  4. I need to keep better records as well – both for potential tax purposes as well as to see if I’m actually making any money doing this?!?!

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