It’s been a while since I’ve done a monthly manufactured spending wrap-up post, so I thought I’d share one now that my new MS routine is pretty much set. In October, I managed to liquidate about $20,000 worth of Visa gift cards. Less than that, really, if we want to round down instead of up. For the most part, I’ve been ordering Visa gift cards from gift cards.com whenever I’ve had the chance…which, evidently, wasn’t often. I made two trips to Walmart to liquidate these cards and that was pretty much all there was to it. Boring stuff, I know.
Here’s my new reality: Going forward, I can realistically manage just $40,000 – $80,000 worth of manufactured spending per month. I’m not saying that in a cutesy, self-deprecating way either. But considering I’ve done upwards of $323,000 in a single month before, $40,000 – 80,000 isn’t very much. I’ve had to dial it way back because I just don’t have time to dedicate to it.
When I started my job in May, I think I underestimated how much it would affect my MS routine. At the time, I wrote about how my favorite Walmart store was halfway between home and work. I thought I could easily stop by on my way home every night and liquidate some gift cards before continuing home. The problem is that 5 PM and later is the busiest period at that particular store. I went there one day after work and the line was so long that I just left after 10 minutes. It was clear I would be there for at least an hour and that just wasn’t going to work for me.
This is going to sound totally contradictory to the mission of this blog, but I’m a homebody. I LOVE being home when I’m not traveling. Anything in between just interferes with my hermit tendencies. Do I want to spend 5 hours a week at Walmart? Not when I could be binge-watching Mindhunter on Nextflix. This is part of the reason why having a *real* job was so important – I literally won’t talk to another person for a week if I’m left to my own devices. But I’m totally getting off track here – the point is, we all prioritize how we spend our time. I would rather be home after a 7-hour work day and 1-hour commute than standing in line at Walmart.
Instead, I’ve been doing my MS runs on Saturdays. It’s usually pretty slow in the morning, so I’m able to get out of there fairly quickly. But do I want to go back on Sunday to liquidate another $10,000? No, especially not when I’m using weekends to play catch-up on my side-gigs. “What about Walmart Bill Pay?” There was a time when Walmart Bill Pay allowed me to double up on the amount of MS I could do. The problem? Using it to make payments got my Barclay accounts shut down. So I’m done using it, even for payments on my Discover It Miles Cards, which have been MS-friendly so far. No need to test this out further.
That brings me down to $10,000 worth of manufactured spending a week. At least when it comes to the Visa gift card/money order route. Merchant gift card churning season (i.e. the holidays) is almost here, which means I’ll probably start churning around $20,000 worth of merchant gift cards from home. Last year, I did pretty well thanks to The Plastic Merchant sending out email updates when good gift card deals came around. I even found some on my own, then managed to sell them with little competition. This was a really convenient way to churn gift cards without even leaving the house – it works out even better now that I don’t have 10 hours a week to dedicate to this hobby. So I’m looking forward to being able to shift my focus to merchant gift card churning again.
I want to hear from you: How did you do last month and how do you manage to churn gift cards with other stuff going on?