Manufactured Spending

My Month in Manufactured Spending: Hall of Shame Edition

The promised Ann Arbor Re-DO is scheduled for this Saturday (sign up now if you haven’t done so already) and I thought I’d share a post on my manufactured spending activities in anticipation. Why? Mostly to lower expectations, because I’ve gotten dozens of emails from people referencing my “numbers” and their desire to live up to that. Manufactured spending with a full time job has been a bit more challenging than I had anticipated. I once shared that I could liquidate $80,000+ worth of gift cards in about 10 hours. But now that I work 35 hours a week and spend another 5-10 hours working on my blog and freelance articles, those 10 hours seem like a big chunk of time. So how much manufactured spending did I manage to do last month? Drumroll…$10,000.

My embarrassing week in manufactured spending

Ok, I lied. It was $9,575.05 to be exact. There was one day this month when I was able to go to my local mall and pick up $9,575.05 worth of Visa gift cards. It was convenient at the time since I was running errands in the area. A few days later I stopped by Walmart on my way home from work to buy money orders. It was the same day I picked up the issue of Cosmo where my blog was mentioned (#humblebrag). Needless to say, my regular Walmart cashiers and I were frikin excited!

Since that day I’ve been slacking off. I haven’t even bothered to place a gift card order through – something I used to do literally every day! And yes, I’m well aware that the clock is ticking and I need to increase my spending if I hope to make those December travel plans happen. But I work better in a time crunch, so I’m not worried about it. I’m actually hoping that talking with you all about this stuff on Saturday will get me excited about it again. We’ll see!

Anyway, I thought I’d share this update with those of you who may think I’m still pulling November 2016 numbers. Not quite. I’ve been scaling back for some time now and I wanted to convey that to all of you who may otherwise be intimidated by those numbers. Are they still realistic? Totally. But you may get burned out or other things in your life may take precedence, preventing you from hitting $100k per month.

Regardless, I’m excited to talk to you all on Saturday! I was pleasantly surprised to see over 170 people had registered yesterday alone. That is about four times as many as I had expected. Hopefully it goes smoothly and there will be no tech issues. For those who are going to miss it, I’m considering doing these webinars monthly. I mentioned this a while back, along with the idea of incorporating a fundraiser; As a sort of admission fee, participants would donate ~$10 to a rotating list of charitable organizations. That way, some actual good could come out of these meetings. 😉

But that’s in the future. If you do want to support a great cause, I suggest donating to one of the organizations listed below. As you may recall, I volunteered with Help Refugees and Al-Khair in Europe last summer. Major NGO’s are currently pulling out of Greece, leaving thousands of refugees without essential services and support. Help Refugees is still on the ground, making the lives of those who remain in Calais and throughout Greece less miserable.

Meanwhile, the Al-Khair Foundation did invaluable work in Greece. The Softex Refugee Camp in Thessaloniki was supposed to be run by the Greek military, but that translated to five soldiers playing cards under a tent while Al-Khair volunteers took care of over 2,000 refugees who would have otherwise gone without food and water. From what I understand, they are no longer operating in Greece, but continue to support refugees in Turkey.

Doctors Without Borders (an organization of saints, really) continues to provide essential medical services to people worldwide who have effectively been written off as unimportant. They are important and so are the organizations helping them:

Bet you didn’t think I’d cover manufactured spending, webinars, and the refugee crisis all in one post, did you? This is a very rewarding hobby that gets superficial sometimes, so I think it’s nice to remember that and give back when possible. Jumping off the soap box now…

Thoughts, comments, questions? Please share below.

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  1. Doctors Without Borders is wonderful, I’ve donated quite a lot too them in the past through other channel (an event called GDQ.)

  2. I guess I don’t understand manufactured spending. I understand if I need to spend a certain amount in a certain amount of time just go buy Visa cards at $5,95 and turn into a money order. What I don’t understand is what are you gaining when you are paying to purchase points?

  3. Panama Jim: Some people are willing to pay for points because they get a lot of value out of them (A lot more than what they ‘pay’ for them). Also, some people MS with cash back credit cards and make a profit.

  4. I’ve also slowed down my MS a lot this year. I was doing 40K/month for a few years and now I’m only doing 10K/month. My reason for slowing down is because the portals don’t pay as much anymore and GCM has decreased the amount of the GCs to $250. So, it isn’t as cheap (sometimes free) as it once was. It’s still cheaper than straight up buying points but it has lost a little bit of its luster. Or, maybe I just need a little break from WM.

  5. I am interested in knowing where you deposit your money orders after getting them at Walmart. I know you mentioned not wanting to jeopardize any of your banking relationships.

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