Monday, June 29, 2015

20K Spending Challenge - All Merchandise Bought - 2.9-8.9% Profit So Far

Recently, I joined Miles Per Day's $20,000 spending challenge.  The idea is to spend $20,000 on the American Express Platinum card within 90 days for the greatest amount of profit and the least amount of effort/time.  The full sign up bonus of 150,000 Membership Rewards Points is earned when you spend $20,000 in 90 days.

A couple of notes to start with:

- Everything that has been sent to Amazon has already been sold.  I have not been paid for all of it, but on July 4th I will be paid over $7,000 and the next week I should be paid another $4,000 or so.

-  I have bought all the merchandise needed for the contest.  All have arrived, but 5 iPads still need to be shipped to Amazon today or tomorrow.

- Almost all spending has gone through American Express gift cards first at a 2.25% payout from Top Cashback which leaves a net of 1.9% after fees.

Here is some updates  from some of the other contestants:

Noah from Money Metagame gave his breakdown and continues to do well.  8% profit so far.  Great job Noah!

Chasing the Points updated as well.  He finished most of the spending with very little effort.  He didn't profit much, but it is really great to have manufactured spending techniques that aren't time intensive.  It's worth a read.

The Numbers Breakdown

  • Spending Complete: $20,121.02 - this number actually decreased since last time.  I wasn't able to buy a certain item due to shipping issues.  
    • Let's use $17,376.22 as the current number since that is how much I paid for the merchandise that has been sold already

  • Selling Price of Merchandise after Amazon Fees: $17,874.36
  • Net After Fees - $498.14

  • Profit Margin from Sale - 2.9%

  • Portal Cashback - $761.06
    • Ebates - $343.99
    • Be Frugal - $267.04
    • Top Cashback - $53.70
    • Shop Discover - $96.33
  • Portal Miles - 4,720 = $62.30  - See Frequent Miler Fair Trading Prices
    • United - 4,720

  • Loyalty Points - $239.18
    • eBay Bucks -$42.48
    • Staples Rewards $24.70
    • Best Buy Rewards - $32
    • Sam's Club Cash- $140

  • All forms of Portal and Loyalty $ - $1062.54
    • Assumes all forms of extra cashback and loyalty points are the same.  They are most definitely not.
      • Portal Cashback is regular cash, but can take a while before it is available
      • Shop Discover rewards can be used to buy gift cards at a discount so their value is greater than what is listed.
      • Value of United Miles entirely depends on how they are redeemed.
      • Loyalty Points are not cash at all.  You won't get credit card rewards or loyalty points when using loyalty points.
        • You can only unluck any of their value with a sale in the future.
      • Sam's Club Cash is not available to me until March 2016.

  • Net after Portal and Loyalty Points - $1,560.68

  • Profit margin after Portal and Loyalty Points - 8.9%

  • Total Times Spent: ~15 hours.
    • It is taking me the longest.  Still new at this. 

Thoughts and Looking Forward

- My statistics going forward should be similar.  I'm pretty excited that I was able to earn 150,000 MR points while still earning a profit and a decent one at that.

- I have a couple of coupons to bring to Bed, Bath and Beyond that will shave another $150 off my purchase price.   That sale will change from a loss of ~12% to a gain of ~8% so that should improve everything to over 9%.

- For the challenge, I bought 30 iPads from different sources (Staples, Target, Best Buy, eBay and Sam's Club).  I bought 5 Lenovo tablets, 3 laptops and 2 Roombas.  That's it.