My Current Approach to Manufactured Spending

I haven’t been writing about my manufactured spending routine lately, but I have been pretty active. If you follow me on Snapchat (username: Pointchaser), you’ve probably seen some evidence of this (though how many pictures of discarded gift cards and stacks of money orders can you post before it gets redundant?). In the past few weeks, I’ve changed my approach a bit. I don’t go out on my almost daily runs anymore, stocking up on $9,500 worth of Visa gift cards and then liquidating them the name day. For the most part, I’ve been ordering gift cards online to eliminate out of pocket costs and then heading out, mostly on weekends, on one big manufactured spending run. During these runs, I’ll also stop by my local mall to pick up a batch of Visa gift cards and then go about liquidating them.

Money orders manufactured spending

For a while, I was going on at least 3-4 runs per week and that started to get the attention of WM cashiers. I don’t want to be too familiar of a face and gift card churning can be a bit soul crushing at times, so I really want to minimize the amount of time and energy I devote to it. In the past, this meant about 5-10 hours per week, tops. I’m lucky that I live in an area with five WM’s within a 10 mile radius, but since some of them are complete zoos and one of my regulars has stopped accepting gift cards for money order purchases, my options have become somewhat limited.

So I’m focusing on high impact ms runs: I stock up on gift cards via online orders during the week, make at least one stop at my local mall for a large batch of cards (sometimes I make it there two or more times if I’m running errands), and then spend a weekend afternoon unloading them all. This ends up taking up about 3 hours a week but helps me churn about $30,000 worth of gift cards.

The only obstacle I’ve been facing lately is when placing orders on Giftcards.com. After I place an order in my name, I log out of my account and proceed to place another order in my brother or dad’s name. Despite the fact that I log in using their credentials, I sometimes get a message at checkout stating that I’ve hit the daily maximum for gift card purchases and can’t order anymore. I’m not sure what’s behind it, but it happens occasionally and lowers the amount of manufactured spending I can do per day.

For the most part, things have been going smoothly and I’ve even had a couple of GiftcardMall orders go through. I find that keeping them under $4,000 ensures the transaction doesn’t get cancelled. My portal of choice at the moment is Yazing, which has been awesome – they pay out within 30 days and offer competitive cash back rates that help eliminate manufactured spending costs. The other portal I’ve used, iConsumer, has been much slower – it took four months to get my first payout and just two days ago I got notice that my second payout was on its way. At this point, they owe me around $200 more in cash back, which will probably take another month or so to process.

Ordering gift cards online through cash back portals may limit the amount of manufactured spending I can do, but it makes it much cheaper and less time consuming. With my new approach of doing one big manufactured spending run per week, liquidating cards is also more manageable and less time consuming. Now when I show up at a WM to buy money orders, the cashiers don’t get that suspicious look on their faces anymore. It all works out pretty well.

I’d love to know how you’re all organizing your ms runs – do you do several per week or one big batch at a time?

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. Can’t follow the math – with one weekly run to 5 Walmarts, 4 swipes in each ( 4 x 500 = $2000), one can liquidate $10,000 a week. Or do you manage to make more than 4 swipes per transaction and not make them suspicious??
    I personally do on a lower scale, around 10,000 per month and spread liquidation over the whole month, sometimes 4 swipes, sometimes only 2 swipes not to stand out and preserve my anonymity.

    • I do the maximum $10k at each store. They let me buy $2k per transaction until I hit $10k total. They were suspicious at first, but I explained that once a week I needed $10k in mo’s for a family member’s used card business and they’re ok with it (at one point that’s actually what I was doing).

  2. I have shifted to rewards CCs tied to a debit prepaid as front in buying my MOs at WM. I buy up to $2999.xx (xx in varying cents) and pay fees in cash. No paperwork at MY WM, I understand others are asked to fill paperwork for $2K or less. I don’t worry about them asking to see my card since it has my name and CU name in it. I still buy some GCs when I can, but for churning purposes, I found a gig that works well for me.

      • prepaid issued by CU sponsored by my employer. the prepaid can only be loaded with CUCCs which happen to give cash rewards I redeem at curewardsdotcom. Rewards are similar to Penfed plat CC.

        • Thanks- I’ll check out some of my local cu’s and see what they have to offer…

    • That’s great. Didn’t know there were prepaid cards that let you reload with credit cards. Could you share what card it is?

      • check my reply above yours. check your place of employment if they are affiliated with a CU and start browsing the website for gems, if any.

    • They make you fill out forms at $3k or more. For the longest time, one of my regular WM’s didn’t know they were supposed to do that so I never had to fill out the forms. I wouldn’t mind doing it, except I don’t think they keep the information very securely.

  3. Aside from cards with good category bonuses, I’ve been buying most of my gc’s online as well, thanks somewhat to your posts. Great way to keep the fees down, so long as the portals pay out in the end.

  4. But what about MO deposits? That’s alot of MO! Are you using a biz or personal checking acct for depositing them? How many checking accts? Deposit in person ? All on same day?

    • I have two personal checking accounts. I’m depositing most of the mo’s into my secondary account, so that if it gets shut down, it won’t interfere with my regular banking activities. Sometimes I do deposit them into my main account, depending on which ATM I’m closest to while running errands. I deposit all the mo’s I acquire during my weekly run at once.

  5. I don’t get this volume either!
    I have nothing but problems liquidating!
    I live in the Chicago metro area with a quiet few WM’s and I can barely liquidate! Sometimes, I end up driving around for an hour, visiting 3-4 stores to maybe get $2000 of MO’s! Why? Because almost all the cashiers are coming up with rules that are making my liquidating impossible. Most of the time, they tell me that they can not split the payments! Neither for MO’s, neither for CheckFreePay. Lately, they can’t even find options for checkfreepay, due to their “new update” to the system. I’m so tired already from driving around, only to get declined in every store I go to, that I almost stopped my MSing.
    Someone should share some liquidating tips and tricks here!

    • i agree. I cant find a local store that will sell prepaid cards to anyone without cash. But I bought one for $100 and went all over town trying to liquidate it through a MO. No luck. Cant use it to buy even a small MO anywhere. Its a metabank prepaid.

      • @JLYNN, just out of curiosity, what are they telling you when you try to buy a MO with gift cards? Do you show your gift cards first then ask to buy MOs?

    • I thought the midwest was supposed to be an ms haven? I have a friend in Maryland who does very well buying and liquidating gc’s. I’m lucky – so far only one store has started checking cards. The rest don’t care and they’re good about letting me purchase $10k at a time, split into five $2,000 transactions so I don’t exceed 4 card swipes.

    • I live in the suburbs and want to be as efficient as possible when practicing MS. Have you had any luck in the past 2 weeks that you’d like to share for a local?

  6. You sound it like easy money and attract foools like me to read your blog and increase traffic but in reality the tools u r using are way limited and mostly can get novice people at greater risk than what they can possibly earn

    • I’ve been following Arianna’s blog for a while now and I have never interpreted any of her articles as making it sound easy to MS. She tells people what she does, it is now up to each reader to go out in their own environment to gauge whether they can replicate what she does. YMMV is, and has always been, the silent ruler in this hobby. Truth is, there are areas that are easy to MS, others are a wasteland. We just have to accept that; bloggers like Arianna can give guides and pointers, it is up to readers to use it and hope it works. It’s not bait and switch if even just one reader learns from any of her articles and is able to make it work for them. Those who can’t make it work will just turn to sour graping. To avoid aggravation, one can simply quit reading.

      • i felt the same until in the comments she confessed that she lied to WM cashiers to get away with a 10K liquidating.

        • I don’t see anything wrong with making up a reason for the cashier to accept multiple GC’s! They (the cashiers) are making stuff up, every day and getting more and more creative and arrogant about it, just because they are lazy to do their job or because of envy!

        • Sorry you feel that way. In my early ms days when I told them that, it was true. There’s no reason for me to update them on my purpose and sabotage myself for the sake of unnecessary transparency. They just want to know I’m not doing anything illegal and I’m not, so the rest doesn’t matter.

    • @FOOL, this “hobby” is the ultimate YMMV. Certain store managers impose their own rules to discourage what may appear to them as ML. It’s up to you to invest time and effort and see what works in your area. I surely have and it’s working great.

    • I used them a lot back when Amex gift cards were still churnable. They’re pretty reliable, in my experience. I know a few people who would disagree, but I can only speak on my own behalf and I never had an issue with Topcashback.

  7. Ariana – the problem you are having with logging out of one account and logging into another and not being able to process the order is because the seller is tracking your IP address and seeing they are the same for both accounts. The solution is to use a virtual private network (VPN) which blocks your IP address when you are placing your orders. A VPN I recommend is TunnelBear.com, which offers 500MB of free data per month, more than enough with which to place your orders. They also offer an additional 1GB if you tweet about them. I have been very happy with the VPN.

  8. Ariana, since you buy so many MO, I wonder if you ever encountered a situation when your transaction is void and MO does not print. And if yes – what was your course of action?

    I recently swiped a GC, the MO did not print, the receipt showed “transaction void”, the cashier told me that the money will return to my debit card.
    I waited, called Metabank (it was a Simon Mall GC that I was using), but the money was not there. Waited ten minutes, called again – nothing.

    The manager came out , checked something in their system, and told me the same – “call your bank, the money should go back to your account”.

    Except it’s not “my bank”, it was a GC. This particular WM frowns upon gift cards, so I did not press the issue further. Now – it’s more than a week, and the money is not there. Some people suggest to wait longer, but I wonder. If I call Metabank and explain the situation – wouldn’t they also frown upon using their GC for MO? Would they help at all? All I have is a WM receipt showing “transaction void”……….

    • It takes 7 days for the money to show up again. My Walmart has done this to me several times. It’s a pain to wait it out, but the card will reset.

    • This did happen to me once. Just make sure you hold onto your receipt – the money should go back on your card, but in case it doesn’t you at least have the receipt as proof that it was voided out.

  9. whats the best method for maximizing UR with INK BOLD for 5x in Office categories? This is just for when you hit your limit? I’ve been doing staples $200, but its quite the headache to churn. am looking for $500s to MO since my BB got shut down.

    • I’d upgrade to the $300 cards. I know, they’re a pain to churn but at least you *only* have to churn $50k per card year. In terms of mo’s, I usually buy $900 or $1k when using these $300 cards.

      • So, what is the math with these Staples GC’s? $6.95 fee for a $200 VGC? Even if you are getting 5x points with Ink, it doesn’t make sense… Isn’t Yazing-Giftcards.com better?

        • Yazing is better, but this is easier – $1,800 gets you 9,000 points rather than 1,800. Yes, you end up paying fees but it still works out favorably. I work this in to diversify my ms spend.

  10. I wanted to thank you Ariana. Your site has helped me qualify for the signup bonus for 3 cards that required 16k in spending. I live in the burbs and have one WM that I have been going to and have not had a problem with MS. I also just started using Yazing and it seems pretty awesome.
    I was wondering what are the limits I should stay below when using the portal in combo with gift cards.com? What is my limit per day with my account and can I get more cards if I use several credit cards? i.e. 10k total daily limit or 3 cards and charge 10k each for 10k in debit cards?

    • I’m so glad! The daily limit is $2,500 at Giftcards.com per person. The way I manage to buy more is by ordering cards for family members (using their credit cards and account information – then we just share the miles). I occasionally also buy from Giftcardmall.com, but I’ve had a few orders cancelled when I’ve gone over $4k, so keep that in mind.

      • Thanks for the clarification Ariana! Keep the great posts coming and thanks again.

          • There’s a guy on Flyertalk who says the limit is $2,500/transaction and $5,000 per day. I have not tried 2 transactions in one day yet. He claims to churn $150K in a month! ($5K x 30 days)

          • I haven’t done anything for a month, but before that, I was regularly doing 2 separate $2499 purchases per day from same account, just paid with different CC. So, it is (was) possible.

          • I’ll try it again but at one point I was having trouble even getting a second order approved for someone else (I guess they were tracking the IP address).

      • LOVE your site, Ariana — it has been a tremendous help. Thank you so much. When you order the cards on behalf of your family members, are their respective names printed on the cards or do you just make yourself the recipient? In other words, are you liquidating GCs with, say, your brother’s name on them or yours?

        • Thanks Chris! Usually I just put my name on them. Occasionally (if I’m anticipating one of them going on a run with me), I’ll add their names to the cards ordered in their names.

  11. Ariana, what is the payout for Yazing? I also followed the link in Yazing for Visa gift card. The largest denomination that I see is still $500 with $6.95 fee, is that correct?

  12. noticed you said on Twitter you started using WF card for your MS. is a post about it coming? hope it is
    even though they say its sort of late in the game.
    but your readers are kinder than those on Twitter so you never know who might share locations

    • Yes, I’ll definitely post about that. A few people DM’d me on Twitter with locations (asking me not to blog about it), so I’ll have a general post about traveling for ms and finding hotspots for lucrative category bonuses like this one.

  13. im new to your website =) Are you buying MO’s with GC’s at walmart? can you direct me to a current post about limits regarding this? Thank you so much !!

  14. How would you liquidate without a Wal-Mart ? None of the WM locals to me have money centers.

  15. Ariana, did you try the 5,000/day per account limit by doing two 2,500 transactions like that guy above said?

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