Manufactured Spending

My Week in Manufactured Spending: Post-Hiatus Edition

I’ve been MIA for about a month now – if you’ve been following me on Snapchat, you know I haven’t quite disappeared, but I have taken a break when it comes to blogging. Before I launched this blog four years ago, I remember reading a post about “Blogging Don’ts.” One of the tips was, “Don’t ever write an ‘I’m Sorry for Not Blogging’ Post. It’s completely pointless and nobody cares”. So I won’t do an “I’m Sorry for Not Blogging” post but I’ll explain my absence for those who care.

I’ve been pretty bored and uninspired the past month, so I decided to step away, recharge and come back when I felt like blogging again. My world has become pretty small over the past three years and I’ve taken comfort in having very little work to do and a lot of free time to do nothing. For someone who had hustled nonstop most of her life, this was a nice change of pace, but it became pretty dull and boring eventually. 

This recent trip I took to Europe (details to come) was exactly what I needed. I was gone for over two weeks. It felt good to not only shirk my blogging duties, but to travel on my own and go places I wasn’t entirely comfortable going. In addition to giving up blogging, I stopped manufactured spending during this period. Not a single order placed in nearly three weeks.

A Simon Mall ad greeting me at immigration - a reminder to get back in the game
A Simon Mall ad greeting me at immigration – a reminder to get back in the game

Getting back into the game after such a long hiatus was a bit of a challenge at first. I had about $2,700 worth of Visa gift cards left over from my pre-travel manufactured spending run. Then I headed to my local mall to pick up another $9,500. Thankfully none of my credit cards, which hadn’t seen much activity in the past month, got declined like I expected. I did accidentally take the wrong exit and momentarily got lost on my way to Walmart, which hasn’t happened since I discovered that particular location. 

One huge positive came about as a result of my hiatus? Due to relentless jet lag, I’ve been waking up at 5:30 AM and wrapping up my day by noon. I’ve been making my manufactured spending rounds much earlier and getting a new crowd of cashiers who don’t know me. This worked in my favor when I returned to a Walmart store that had previously adopted a no-gift card policy. The enforcing customer service representative wasn’t there anymore, making the location safe for gift card churning once again.

I have been having some issues with getting orders cancelled because of issues with my credit cards. I expect this will resolve itself as I pick up my normal purchase load again. In the meantime, it was very nice to get a payout notice from Yazing: $665.55 worth of cash back, almost entirely from purchases. This was by far the highest payout I’ve ever gotten and it was accompanied by a check from iConsumer for a little over $100. They’re a bit slower when it comes to payout out rewards. It’s still nice to see my purchases from months ago were tracked and confirmed. 

Because I’m a bit out of practice, I’ve totally been forgetting to put my Wells Fargo card to use. I’m now on day 3 of going on a manufactured spending run and completely forgetting to use that card. I’ve since written it down on my to-do list, so going forward that shouldn’t be a problem. In no time, I’ll be back to my pre-travel gift card churning numbers.

Do you ever have difficulty getting back into your manufacture spending routine after a long trip abroad? How do you readjust?

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  1. I think I’m missing something on manufactured spending. Are you using cards that only pay 1pt per $ spent? If so, how is that worth doing if you also have to pay the fee to purchase the card and the fee for the money order?

  2. Ariana, I’m glad to see you back and blogging! 🙂

  3. Hi Ariana,

    Welcome back! Glad you were able to get away and recharge. I’m in need of that myself. I’m doubly glad you’re back as I LOVE your MS posts. You’ve probably been asked about this a million times before but how many cc’s are you using to purchase $9,500 of giftcards?


  4. For $500 VGCs bought on, has anyone had issues with longer-than-normal shipping times and received Metabank cards (rather than ones issued by Bancorp? Had this happen to me on my last order of 2x$500 VGCs, and am not sure if this is the new normal…

    • Was this recently? Haven’t had it happen yet, but I did place a few orders after I got back, so time will tell.

      • @ Ariana: I placed an order of 2x$500 VGCs on 7/10/16, received the cards on 7/19/16 (usually comes a little quicker than that). Cards came with the flat numbers (not raised) and are issued by Metabank (not Bancorp). I usually place a few orders a month, and this is the first time this happened, but seems consistent with what I read in the FT thread.

  5. Feroz Khan

    Hi Arianna,

    I am visiting the LA area and was thinking last week I had not heard from you in a while. Also, I remember once you had a get together with local MS friends at a coffee shop. Are you going to do that again? If so, please let me know. I would love to meet up and talk some point chasing.


  6. Well you missed the disastrous IT changeover with no notice whatsoever. What had been a smooth operation is now a mess. They moved to a Blackhawk back end. Now they can’t seem to send out order tracking emails with priority mail tracking number, if you order 4 cards, you will get them in 4 separate envelopes and who knows when, orders delayed by 2 weeks is the new normal, numbers are now flat rather than embossed so you can’t quickly scan with the app, etc. A total mess.

  7. Welcome back! I’ve missed you 🙂

  8. Welcome back, and good to hear you got a chance to Euro’lax, as I like to say 🙂 / Are you using Giftcards or Giftcardmall more these days, or both? / Enjoy!

  9. WELCOME back… As Jim post (top comment) requested information on using a credit card with all its extra charges… how is a person ahead doing what you are doing? Thank YOU

  10. Inquiring minds want to know.. well, at least, I do..what specific cc are you using?

  11. Since you last posted the earnings from Yazing for went down a quarter point.

  12. Hi Ariana,

    I’m new to all of this but I would love your thoughts on my approach: I’m buying VGCs from, loading them onto my Bluebird card at Walmart, withdrawing money from Bluebird at Moneypass ATMs, and depositing them into my personal bank account that I use to pay off the credit cards used to buy the gift cards. The biggest obstacle is that Bluebird only allows me to withdraw 750$ per day from ATMs and 2000$ per month. This really limits how many giftcards I can buy at a time. What can I do?



    • Why aren’t you using Bluebird bill pay to unload some of the balance? I haven’t had a bluebird in a long time so things may have changed, but if the bill pay feature is still there, I’d use that for at least some of that balance.

      • I had heard of it but haven’t tried it. I tried to use the account data to do direct debit (like having my electric company directly withdraw the funds) and that didn’t work. I’ll give that a try — thank you for the suggestion!


  13. It’s good to see you back, Ariana! Sounds like you had a great trip to Europe 🙂

  14. Ariana, I hope you’ve had a lovely trip in Europe! I’m new to the whole manufactured spending game and was a bit confused as to how to go about starting it.

    As a point of reference, I have a Discover Credit Card with a $2,500 credit line (1% cash back) and a Chase British Airways Credit Card with a $15,000 credit line. I also live in New York City if that changes things in anyway.

  15. Hello,

    I noticed you brought up Wells Card 5% bonus, but i didn’t see that card on the link you provided. What Wells Card is this?

  16. One of the things I love about traveling abroad is that I can’t MS. Even on domestic vacations I’ll go out of my way to visit a Simon Mall and a Walmart, but it’s just not possible overseas. My wife and I joke that Walmart should issue a passport type book where you can get a stamp from every Walmart you visit. It’s a relief when I’m abroad to know that I don’t have any giftcards to liquidate and there are no Walmarts to visit. Once I’m home I can start MS’ing again within a few days, but I really don’t miss it.

    • It was definitely nice not to think about it for a while, but near the end of the trip I did get a little antsy. Especially since I know I need to rev up my efforts in order to recover the miles I just spent.

  17. Hi Ariana,

    Can you confirm that BOA cards are fine to use on, while Citi cards should be avoided because of potential cash advances issues?


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