I’m currently participating in Saverocity’s Mile Madness Tournament. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s basically a group of bloggers who are competing against each other to see who can earn the most points in the month of March. I wrote a post at the beginning of the month outlining the rules and my strategy for this game.
So far, I have been able to earn a combined total of 149,611 points in 15 days. The first 7 days consisted of me earning 100,000+ points whereas the past 7 days have been lighter due to a cold I caught last sunday.
Of the points earned, here is the breakdown:
Chase Ultimate Rewards – 115,403
US Airways Dividend Miles – 34,208
Plink (Referral Link) – $92
ShopKick – $32
Cash Back – $375
Throughout the past 15 days, I have been sticking with my strategy of using 1-2 cards. I did this because it’s easier to track and because these two programs are amongst the highest in the Frequent Miler Fair Trade Prices. The first 7 days were a breeze due to the Office Max promotion that offered $15 off every $250 spent on Visa Gift Cards. I found that there was no limit on the discount even though the ad said limit 2. Through this promotion, I was able to earn nearly $375 in cash back and over 40,000 points. The other 40,000 points came from spending at Staples & Office Depot.
I never limited myself to just one store and luckily, all of the office supply stores in my area stocked a ton of gift cards. In the course of the week, I earned close to 40,000 more points with Staples & Office Depot.
When it came to the US Airways Mastercard, I exclusively used it only at CVS to buy Vanilla Reloads. I was also part of a targeted promotion that offered me 15,000 bonus miles after spending $750/month for 3 months. By the end of the 7th day, I had close to 25,000 miles earned on US Airways!
While I was sick, I didn’t expect to do much but found out that some office related purchases I made actually rung up as 5X. These purchases totaled around $4,500 or 22,500 Chase points. With no fee attached, it was a great way to earn points!
I believe that efficiency matters most in this game. Somehow, the Manufactured Spend Gods have looked after me because I live in what can only be called “The Gold Line.” There are 2 Wal-Mart Super Centers, 2 Office Max Stores, 3 Staples Stores, 1 Office Depot and 1 CVS within 25 miles of each other. To make things easier, if I were to start at CVS everyday, every other store would be on the way with Wal-Mart at the end. This method worked perfectly as i’d start my day off 12pm and be done by 2:30.
Every afternoon, I would start at CVS and buy Vanilla Reloads. For the first week, I limited myself to CVS every other afternoon so that I would have enough of a bankroll to buy the gift cards. After CVS, I would head to Staples and buy $1,800 worth of Visa Gift Cards. Up next was Office Max and another $1,800, which by day 4 ran out of all Visa Cards.
With the $3,600 worth of cards, I would head to the 2 Wal-Mart locations to load (10) $200 Gift Cards to my Bluebird cards and (4) $200 Gift Cards to my GoBank Card. The remaining $800 would be used for a money order. By doing this, I was instantly able to liquidate all my gift cards in one day. The remaining $1,400 was spent at other Office Supply stores throughout the day and liquidated by money order at my local grocery store at night.
I dabbled into reselling products but deemed that it really wasn’t for me. Throughout the course of two weeks, I bought and sold a Playstation 4 and some tablets. The tablets earned me 7 points/dollar through the Chase UR Portal while the Playstation earned 5 points/dollar through Amazon Gift Cards at Office Max.
In addition to finding items online, I was able to buy some items from Wal-Mart to resell at an astonishing profit. My cost for this item was $0.50 and I sold it for close to $15 each on Ebay. This made me a profit of around $75.
Other than what has already been sold, I don’t plan to do much more reselling in this competition.
To be perfectly honest, I sleep when people are supposed to be waking up and wake up when people are supposed to be asleep. That’s just how College works or so I think. I don’t have a number to value my time because it’s split by doing manufactured spending, school or travel. With that said, I spent about three hours per day towards this competition. Judging by the profit I generated in the first week, one can say my time is valued at $60/hr ($1,276/21 hours)
My thoughts about other players and this tournament vary widely. Everyone seems to be putting up a good fight and some people have the upper hand by using a 5x card at grocery stores. Although I don’t think I will be in the Top 3 again for week two, I do have a surefire plan for week three and four. My plan is to give the 5x a little break next week and then rocket through to claim a podium position in the last week. I have mapped out the plan of action and it has something to do with paying $0.25-0.75 cents per 1000 miles while earning free gas along the way!
Matt from Saverocity posted something the other day that caught my eye. It reflects how I feel about Manufactured Spending as a whole and helping others who are in this game or that want to get started. I’ve given more than enough hints in this post alone as to what i’m doing and how to lower your costs. This is as far as I can go and anything more will mean that you as a reader or as a manufactured spender cannot or should not decipher codes. At the end of the day, I try to make everyone happy but there will always be a few that want everything spelled out for them and I apologize for not being able to do that.
I end with this hilarious and somewhat sad post. To all the Bay Area Manufactured Spenders, i’m sorry it happened to you!