I’ve been getting emails lately from readers who are curious about why I stopped my manufactured spending posts. Have I given up on gift card churning completely or am I just not writing about it? It’s really down to the fact that I’m exhausted. Churning over $300,000 worth of gift cards in the last couple months of the year pretty much wore me out. That, along with my Barclay credit cards getting shut down made me want to take a break for a while.
When my Barclay credit cards got shut down, it not only made me reconsider my manufactured spending habits, it also limited how much gift card churning I could pull off. Between the eight credit cards I lost, I’m now short almost $80,000 in credit lines. That greatly reduces the number of gift cards I can churn since 1.) I don’t want to cycle credit lines too often and 2.) paying off an account via methods other than Walmart Bill Pay takes a couple of days. I’ve been depositing money orders purchased with Visa gift cards into a Wells Fargo account and it takes way longer to post than Bank of America deposits did. So the Barclay shut-down had a big impact on how much I could churn.
In a couple of months, I’ll probably pick up where I left off. I’ll reapply for both the Barclay Arrival Plus and Barclay Aviator Red MasterCard in July, when the 6-month waiting period is up. If that works out, then I’ll have more spending power. I’ll definitely keep Walmart Bill Pay out of the equation since that is likely what got me shut down in the first place. I guess I could just increase spending on my remaining credit cards, but that would require more of a time commitment. I’d have to make many more trips to Walmart in order to get those credit cards paid off quickly so I can reuse those credit lines.
I’m also worried about other banks shutting me down. There’s still Chase, American Express, Citi, Fidelity, U.S. Bank and Bank of America. While I’m not too concerned about Fidelity or Citi, it would be really devastating to lose Chase and American Express. I’ve been really careful with those two banks. I don’t want a desperate attempt at keeping up my churning numbers to jeopardize my most valuable credit card accounts.
Manufactured spending doesn’t take me as much time since I’ve found an ms-friendly Walmart store, but keeping track of the whole operation is pretty dull work and I find myself wanting to focus on other things these days. Blogging/manufactured spending isn’t the most satisfying work, so I’ve been working on other projects that make me feel better about how I spend my time.
That’s my long answer for why I haven’t been writing about (or doing) much in the way of manufactured spending. The little amount I do manage isn’t really worth writing about (or interesting to read). When things pick up again, so will my posts.
Interestingly, my local mall reps have been telling me there’s been a huge drop in “gamers” coming by to purchase Visa gift cards. I’d love to know what you guys are up to: How much manufactured spending are you pulling off these days?
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