Friday, February 26, 2016

Use MPX to Almost Immediately Top off Your United Balance

Yesterday, I shared the story of my upcoming trip in which I used hundreds of thousands of miles (still hurts) to save thousands of dollars from leaving my bank account.

One interesting tidbit is that I made a math error while trying to book.

I had 357,993 Ultimate Rewards points and I had 108,993 United Miles.   That's 466,998 miles I could have since I can transfer UR points into my United account.

I needed 510,000 United miles to make the trip happen so I calculated that I was 43,002 short.  I decided that the cheapest and fastest way (I needed to book that day) to get the extra miles was to buy them from United.  They only allow you to buy in 1,000 mile increments so I bought 44,000 miles so I now had 152,993 United miles.  More than enough, right?

Dead wrong!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

4x eBay Bucks - Targeted - I'm Buying Kohl's Gift Cards

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site:  Top Cashback and eBay

Update: You can juice it up a bit by buying eBay Gift Cards from Target for 5% off with a RedCard.

HT:  Danny Deal Guru and Doctor of Credit

eBay is sending out emails targeting people for increased eBay Bucks of 4x on every eligible item of $50 or more.

That's 8% back in eBay Bucks for today and tomorrow.

I will be buying $60 Kohl's Gift Card for $50.  That's 17% off which isn't bad on it's own but add in 8% in eBay Bucks and 2.5% in Top Cashback and you have yourself a deal!

Limit of 4 so you can buy $240 of GCs and earn $16 in eBay Bucks

You can check out all discounted Gift Cards available here

Even I Earn (and use) Points

If you have followed my site for a while you will notice that I lean heavily towards cashback earning with credit cards.  I love cold hard cash, big stacks of it!

I'm not a big traveler so my need for points is not huge and my credit card habits reflect that.  I also travel in economy and the value of points is more limited there.

That being said, I do earn plenty of points from reselling and it has been very helpful.  This blog is not in the business of showing you how to have cheap aspirational travel but yesterday was a day for me where having a large stash of points was great.

My family is planning a trip for a family event which we really wanted to participate in.  The problem was that due to time/work constraints our window for tickets was very tight.

There was only one night that we could fly out and one night/early morning we could fly back and for many reasons a stopover was not an option either.

It was also peak season so flights were very expensive.  It would have cost $8,000 for roundtrip tickets in economy for the whole family!  That's a tough pill to swallow even for a family event.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sneak Peak to Saverocity Observation Deck Part 2...

In case you missed it, I was a guest of Trevor's (of Tagging Miles) and Joe's (As the Joe Flies) as we discussed Reselling on the Saverocity Observation Deck Podcast.

Back by popular demand, we plan on having part 2 recorded soon.

Among other topics, we will discuss:

Amazon Fees - all those fees you like to pretend don't exist.  What are they and how can you avoid them?

Respond to Matt - Matt asks why Reselling is so attractive to the MS world?  Money and points of course!  Well, hopefully we will come up with more sophisticated answers during the Podcast and respond to many of the issues raised in his post.

We also want to hear from you!  What your burning questions you would like answered?  Leave a comment so we can address it during the podcast.

I think Trevor may have his own sneakpeak tomorrow...

Turnover Tuesdays - Sourcing from Slickdeals Works but Everyone Else is Doing it too

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Update your Returns at Sellable in IL - This is a Must for Taxes

This is something that came to my attention recently from @mileswhip.

I am a big fan of Inventory Lab as it saves me a ton of time tracking sales.

Inventory Lab does something a little curious with returns.  They automatically mark all returns as "Defective" when they come back to Amazon. They will never mark it as "Sellable".

If something is marked as Defective, the assumption is that it is getting sent back to you since it isn't sellable.  When you send it back in to sell as "like new" you would normally put in a buy cost of $0.00 or $0.01 since the cost was already captured the first time.  If however, it is marked as defective and is sold again, Inventory Lab will capture the buy cost a second time.  It will then look as if you made less money than you actually did.  Your knowledge of your own profit will be off and you will be underpaying your taxes.  If you are using Inventory Lab for taxes, you absolutely must pay attention to this.

All of your refunds processed through Amazon will show in this screen. The default disposition for the refunds is “Defective”. It is very important that users periodically review this page and indicate if an item was actually sellable. An item marked defective that is actually sellable and returned to inventory will result in your accounting being incorrect as the buy cost of the item would be captured twice.

Luckily, there is an easy fix.  It's annoying that you have to do this manually but it is rather simple and not terribly time consuming if you do it every once in a while.

Here is what to do:

Go to your reports on Amazon (Reports>Fulfillment and then click Returns on the side).

Change the "Event Date" to whatever time frame you want and then run a report.  You will sell all your returns that made it back to Amazon there.

 You are looking for the ones that say "Sellable"  those are the ones that made it back into your inventory.  

In Inventory Lab, click on Inventory>Refunds. You will see see that all of your orders will say "Defective"

Copy each Order ID from Amazon that was marked as sellable into paste into the search bar in Inventory Lab.  You can then change that item from Defective to Sellable.  It will then add a "Buy Cost Credit" associated with that item so that you don't have your item cost counted twice.

As I said, annoying but easy.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Breakdown of Amazon Return Fees

Returns have a way of really eating your profits.  I think this is pretty obvious.  You bought an item for $50 and flipped it for $100.  Amazon paid you $80. Awesome, you just made $30 and 60% return on your investment (ROI).

Then you get the dreaded email saying that you have a return.  Now you are stuck with no profit and just the cost of $50.  The item may not be worth $50 anymore and you may not be able to return it to the store to get your $50 back.  Uch!

Oh well, hopefully it doesn't happen too much and your overall profit margins can sustain some returns.  Otherwise you need to rethink what you are doing.

What you may not realize is that aside from losing your commission, Amazon also charges you fees for handling the return on your behalf.

Fees Associated with Returns

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Top 3 Credit Cards for Reselling

Update:  Citi ATT is a great card to have as well.  It earns 3x Thank You Points at many online merchants.  Doctor of Credit has a great post on what earns 3x and what does not.  This can be great for certain gift cards.  Miles to Memories also has a nice post on the same subject.

Reselling is very capital intensive.  If you are putting a couple hundred thousand or more on your credit card every year, every little percent helps a lot.  1% on 100,000 is an extra $1,000 in  your pocket every year.

That being said, you also want to keep things simple for a variety of reasons.  Between tracking expenses for taxes and returns to stores, fewer cards is much better, as long as it doesn't significantly hurt your overall return.

Here are the credit cards that use on a regular basis or would use if I had them or could maximize their benefits.  I am not an accountant and you should talk to your accountant about the ramifications of using a personal card for business purchases.  I have stopped using these cards for personal use for those reasons but once again, talk to an accountant.

Spending on business cards has the added bonus of not affecting your credit score.

Keep in mind that I love cash.  I love cash much more than I love travel so I am heavily biased towards cashback and my credit card choices reflect that.  I fly economy so points don't do much more than cash.  Just please don't tell anyone that a Blogger is recommending cash.

General Purchases - Non Bonus Spending

Bank of America Travel Rewards with Preferred Rewards 

The travel rewards card earns 1.5 points for every purchase that is good towards travel redemptions.  You can redeem for cash but it will only get you .6 cents per point.  The great thing is if you have $100,000 with Bank of America or their affiliates like Merrill Lynch you will earn 2.625% towards travel purchases.  It's also a Visa which is great.

That goes a long way but you have to have a lot of money in reserve for that one.

You can also try to get a 50% bonus on the business version.  That's 2.25 points per dollars.  Not bad.

I would not bother with this card unless you can get the bonus.

Any number of 2% cards:
Whether it be the Fidelity American Express (soon changing to US Bank instead of FIA), the Citi Double Cash or the Capital One Spark ($59 annual fee year 2), there are plenty of 2% cashback cards out there.

Most of my gift cad purchases go on these types of cards.

Chase Ink

Chase Ink is the card to get for anyone reselling.  You can earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points at office supply stores, internet, phone and cable.  You can use it for iPads at Staples and earn oodles and oodles of points.

Points can be redeemed for cash (1 point to 1 cent ratio) or transferred to Airline/Hotel partners if you have the $95 annual fee version.  You can also book travel directly through the Chase Portal with the annual fee version.  Your points are worth 1.25 cents towards travel in that scenario.  Check out this Devil's Advocate post on the topic.

Keep in mind that the merchant category is determined by the merchant.  Try your Chase Ink everywhere once.  You might be surprised to find what codes at 5x for no apparent reason.


You may no longer be able to sign up for the Discover Double promotion but it is still worth it to have a Discover card for access to the rotating categories and, more importantly, access to Discover Deals.  

Discover Deals often has the best shopping portal earnings potential like 5% at Best Buy and often 10% at Macy's and Kohl's.  Just make sure to check out the exclusions before you shop.  

 I put over $15,000 of spending on my Discover Card last month alone and almost entirely through Discover Deals.

 I know I'm asking for trouble.  Here's hoping I don't get any :)

Honorable Mentions

1) As noted in the update: the Citibank AT&T card is great for reselling.  3x Thank You Points for many online merchants

2) Barclays Arrival Plus - 2.1% cashback on all purchase which can be redeemed for travel.  Has a $89 annual fee so you would need to spend $89,000 to break even with the extra .1% over a 2% card without an annual fee,  I have one for quarter four when I can't keep available on pretty much any of these cards.

3) American Express Simply Cash -business card which earns 5% cashback on Office Supply stores with no annual fee.

Between these 3 types of cards I put well over 90% of my spending for the business. The only time I waiver is when my credit limit does not support using them anymore or if there is an especially lucrative promotion going on.  I sometimes use store specific cards as well like Target and Kohl's but that is rare as well.

What credit cards do you use and love that I didn't mention?  Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

An Alternative Automated Fee Calculator without the Referral Link

I posted about a nice tool that automatically opens the FBA fee calculator toot and adds your item to speed things up a bit.

The only problem is that the tool automatically added its own referral link into every link on Amazon so that they got a commission - and took the commission away from your favorite bloggers ;) - even when you weren't actively using the tool.

Here is an alternative chrome extension that does the same thing without adding a referral link:

There are two downsides and three upsides to this tool

1) It takes about a second or two longer than the previous tool
2) It doesn't automatically add the fee for shipping if the item is fulfilled by Merchant so you have to watch for that or you will think your net is lower than it really is
3) It gets you one step further. You will know the final takehome without having to click anything on the fee calculator.  One less click is nice
4) It is more accurate on pricing.  The last tool would sometimes add a random number to the price.
5) Randomly, the other extension wouldn't work.  I have not seen that yet for this extension.

Do you have a better version?  Let me know about it in the comments

Turnover Tuesdays - Don't be Afraid to Recall Your Inventory

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Buy on CardCash App and get 5% Statement Credit (likely Card Cash Gift Card) through February

Cardcash is offering a great promotion.

Use the CardCash app to buy any gift cad and you will earn 5% cashback as a statement credit.  They will add money to your account which can be used towards a future purchase.

Maximum of $100 credit which is $2,000 in purchases

Happy Buying!

Max of $100

Save more with CardCash when using our new mobile app. *Cashback will be issued in March as a CardCash website credit which you can apply towards future purchases. The maximum eligible spend during the month of December qualifying for the Cashback promotion is $2,000 with a total of $100 credit maximum. Offer cannot be combined with other offers or coupons. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - A Purchase Just for the Points

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - Reselling in Earnest Has Hurt My Credit Score

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.