Manufactured Spending Tournament: introduction

Inspired by Frequent Miler's mapcap quest for 1 million miles and points last March, Matt from Saverocity recently approached me, along with several other bloggers, to propose a little good-natured competition: who can manufacture the most spend within one month, constrained by a $5,000 "bankroll," with none other than Frequent Miler himself judging the results.

Manufactured spend? Cut-throat competition? How could I refuse!

My Advantages

There are a lot of reasons why I think I've got a lock on this contest:

  1. I already have the tools. While other competitors start scrambling to apply for prepaid cards that might take weeks to arrive, I've already got plenty of products to start aggressively maximizing come March 1.
  2. I'm blessed by geography. Plentiful drug stores, a gas station or 3, and a Walmart where the associates are more than happy to humor my ridiculously spending habits are all advantages the other competitors can't necessarily count on.
  3. I've still got my Alaska Airlines debit card, which acts as a force-multiplier on all my manufactured spend. When other competitors get their money out of a product, they're done, but I get to push it through my debit card one last time, which I have every intention of doing.

My Disadvantages

That doesn't mean I won't be overcoming some obstacles along the way, the biggest of which is that since I've already been at this for so long, many products which represent the lowest-hanging fruit have already been closed to me. For example, one of my rivals could apply for a new GoBank account and push $2,500 per day through that card, while my account has already been closed, meaning I'm going to have to be more creative, and incur higher expenses. PayPal and Netspend are two more examples of opportunities closed to me, but perhaps open to my rivals.


What I'm most interested in seeing in this competition is the range of reselling and churning techniques the other players use. Until Evolve Money came along, I did virtually no gift card churning, on the grounds that there was too much room for potentially expensive error. Now I do some light manufactured spend at Staples, but I know there are others who buying thousands of dollars in either products or gift cards and attempt to sell them for a small loss, or even profit. While I don't expect them to share all their secrets with the world, I'm looking forward to picking up a few hints that might help me decide whether to dabble in that field myself.

May the best hacker win!