Friday, July 24, 2015

20K Spending Challenge - Final Update - All Merchandise Bought - 2.9-10.3% Profit So Far - Should Get Better

Back in May, 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 been sold and I am only waiting to be paid for one iPad because it was returned and resold so there is another delay in payment after the refund.

- 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:

Chasing the Points updated Wednesday night, he had a slight loss, but was able to spend the money rather quickly.  Best infograph ever!

This is Noah of Money Metagame's last update - He has not updated since my last update.

This is Vinh of Miles per Day's last update.  I am curious how he is doing in all of this.

The Numbers Breakdown

All of the spending took place between 5/10 and 6/21, about 6 weeks.

  • Inventory Total: $405 -  One laptop was returned, it will be shipped back to me soon, this will hurt my profit margin until it is resold.

  • Selling Price of Merchandise after Amazon Fees: $20,482.53
  • Net After Fees - $571.53

  • Profit Margin from Sale - 2.87%

  • Portal Cashback - $897.51
    • Ebates - $343.99
    • Be Frugal - $341.19
    • 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 - $279.18
    • eBay Bucks -$42.48
    • Staples Rewards $24.70
    • Best Buy Rewards - $32
    • Sam's Club Cash- $180

  • All forms of Portal and Loyalty $ - $1,478.20
    • 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.  Most of my portal cash will not become available to me until July or August.
      • 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.
        • Can expire and become valueless
      • Sam's Club Cash is not available to me until March 2016.  Most of the loyalty points have already been used in other purchases.  

  • Net after Portal and Loyalty Points - $2,049.73

  • Profit margin after Portal and Loyalty Points - 10.3%

  • Total Times Spent: ~15-17 hours.
    • It took me the longest.  I am getting better with time as I do more deals. 

Thoughts and Looking Forward

- I think the challenge went very well for me.  I really stepped up my reselling game and learned a lot of great information.

- My profit is still being held up by a return.  Profit margin would be over 12% without that return ($405) and should get back over 11% once it is resold with some loss.  That's part of the reselling model.  Nothing to be upset over

- Most of my sales had profit margins of 5-10% before portals.  I had some real duds though that threw off my profit margin (including that return - it was a loss before the return!).  I've become better at recognizing higher margin sales and if I can focus on that going forward, I will do much better.