New to Manufactured Spending? Start here (2019)

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Old Feb 4, 19, 5:01 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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NEW TO MS? It's suggested that new arrivals should do some serious reading for a month of all the posts and wiki to get an understanding of MS before asking common questions.

Note: the 2017 - 2018 version of this thread is here, 2016 version of this thread is here, the 2015 version of the thread is here

Welcome to Manufactured Spending. Marathon Man did not write this message, but he has edited it and anyone can. If you are new here, please spend some time reading before posting. Most likely your questions have already been answered multiple times. Consider deals that you share. These threads are searchable by Google. A volatile deal may be worth holding close to the vest.

Hints

1) On FT, topics are heavily consolidated. Sometimes the title of the thread and first few posts may not properly reflect the broad range of discussion inside the thread. Be sure to visit any thread relating to the product or service you want to learn more about because you might be surprised by how in depth the discussion really is. High "View Count" and "Replies" are good indicators of active "master threads" on a specific topic.

2) Use Google to search FT. It works a lot better than the built-in search.

3) A glossary wiki for MS located in the thread Glossary, Manufactured Spending Forum

Important Rules

1) MSing is very YMMV. It varies by store, manager, and right down to the cashier working at the moment. Some might argue that MS is like card counting in a casino. It is not illegal but casinos donít like it. Orhers have said itís like having a fake ID in college to use just to get into bars where all the fun is. Just because it worked here yesterday doesnít mean it will get you in today. MS is like being a wood worker constantly using a table saw. Always watch what you are doingóalways! Or you will lose something. That being said, always be nice and courteous in the face of rejection. The biggest secret for success is to lay low so you can try again.

2) DO NOT spend more than you can afford. START WITH SMALL AMOUNTS TO TEST THE WATER! As an example.. don't start with a $5000 purchase of VGCs if you can't afford to float that much! Instead, buy one and try it, and scale up once you are comfortable with a new method. It's easy to lose track, or get robbed, when you are handling so much money. Getting a refund is NOT always possible.

3) DO NOT ask employees, cashiers, customer service representatives, etc... about how to MS, or about things you read on this forum. The information you read here are very specific, unknown, legal uses of products or services. Most employees, cashiers, and even managers do not know about them. At best you'll get bad information. At worst you'll create a lot of unnecessary misunderstanding.

4) It bears repeating that there are no guarantees. you could easily buy $10,000 in gift cards or some other instrument, only to discover that your method for liquidating them vanishes the very next day. MS is not "normal" financial activity ("normal" being defined by the banks), and thus is often perceived as "suspicious" even if it is legal.

5) never underestimate the risk of criminal activity. gift cards can easily be stolen, loaded onto a compromised account, loaded in a debit card skimmer, or even fraudulent (e.g., an already used card put back on the rack).

6) MSing can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from smallish amounts to meet minimum spend requirements to get a credit card signup bonus, to accumulating huge numbers of points for travel/cashback/etc. Remember too that you will often have expenses such as purchase fees, liquidation fees, and gas.

If you have a question that does not seem to fit anywhere, or you have not found an appropriate place for it, post it here.

- A helpful note from seat17D about some of the inherent risks of MS

New MSers can also read all these threads:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manuf...-spending-719/
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Old May 14, 19, 1:57 pm
  #121  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 3
thanks jtav! wasnt sure if there was a holding period or a "pretend i didnt do this on purpose" period before paying off
berpalo is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 3:25 pm
  #122  
Moderator, Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: TIJ/SAN
Programs: Delta Silver. Hilton Diamond.
Posts: 1,416
Originally Posted by robertw477 View Post
Got an point bonus offer for my United Exporer card 2X grocery and 3X restuarants until the end of June. Does anyone here any any specific strategy for me to maximize those? That card also gives me a 10K mile bonus based on 25K in spend so I could end up with a nice bonus if I can work it out. I am new to MS.
Not a lot of obvious MS opportunities at restaurants. At grocery stores, look at the gift card rack
ChrisFlyer66 is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 4:19 pm
  #123  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 3
when filling out a MO, do i make myself the payee AND the payer with same addresses?
berpalo is offline  
Old May 16, 19, 6:58 am
  #124  
Moderator, Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: TIJ/SAN
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Originally Posted by berpalo View Post
when filling out a MO, do i make myself the payee AND the payer with same addresses?
I usually leave the address blank. The payee should be the person that will deposit the MO (which would be you if you are depositing the MO). The payer has to sign it, so it makes sense that it would be from you if the MO is from you. I use a signature that is mostly illegible but I don't think that it really matters.
ChrisFlyer66 is offline  
Old May 22, 19, 1:28 pm
  #125  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Programs: Military Space-A, UA Plat, AA, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Plat, IHG Plat, HHonors Gold
Posts: 1,233
Originally Posted by robertw477 View Post
Got an point bonus offer for my United Exporer card 2X grocery and 3X restuarants until the end of June. Does anyone here any any specific strategy for me to maximize those? That card also gives me a 10K mile bonus based on 25K in spend so I could end up with a nice bonus if I can work it out. I am new to MS.
Are you sure you still get the 10,000 point bonus? I have had the card for years, and they removed that benefit from mine last year: https://thepointsguy.com/news/united-new-explorer-credit-card/
slocouple is offline  
Old May 25, 19, 10:40 pm
  #126  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 7
I have a few $200 giftcards. Can I buy 1 money order and pay with a few giftcards?
Flyerinn is offline  
Old May 25, 19, 10:47 pm
  #127  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 7
Also, is USPS the best place to buy money order?
Flyerinn is offline  
Old May 26, 19, 3:33 pm
  #128  
Moderator, Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: TIJ/SAN
Programs: Delta Silver. Hilton Diamond.
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Originally Posted by Flyerinn View Post
I have a few $200 giftcards. Can I buy 1 money order and pay with a few giftcards?
There are certainly places where you can do that if you have the right gift cards, but it is very location dependent.

Originally Posted by Flyerinn View Post
Also, is USPS the best place to buy money order?
No. It is unlikely your gift cards will work at USPS. I suggest reading the threads on flyertalk for ideas. The information is there.
ChrisFlyer66 is offline  
Old May 27, 19, 3:02 pm
  #129  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: BGI | CMH
Programs: AA Platinum Pro | HH Diamond | SPG Gold
Posts: 262
Are USB VGC safe to buy ? I read a lot of articles saying they were hacked or easily guessed in 2017

any issues liquidating them for MO at Kroger, Giant Eagle, WM ?

thanks
Shadowfactor is offline  
Old May 27, 19, 7:33 pm
  #130  
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: TIJ/SAN
Programs: Delta Silver. Hilton Diamond.
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Originally Posted by Shadowfactor View Post
Are USB VGC safe to buy ? I read a lot of articles saying they were hacked or easily guessed in 2017

any issues liquidating them for MO at Kroger, Giant Eagle, WM ?

thanks
The visa gift cards are safer than mastercards, but there is some risk. I wouldn't buy them unless you can liquidate them the same day. They will work at WM and many grocery stores for MO, but YMMV if the cashiers will allow it.
cajunguy likes this.
ChrisFlyer66 is offline  
Old Jun 12, 19, 8:59 am
  #131  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 3
New here, want to do a sanity check on my MS Avenue.

Based in TN, Discover IT card with plenty of real spend in all sorts of categories, as this is my only card.

Plan is to go BP near me that sells gift cards, and buy a $500 Visa vanilla one. Then, Iíll go to Walmart and load my Bluebird with the card and cash out to my bank. Once this is paid off I plan on essentially repeating the process one more time in order to mostly max out my discover category. I think completely maxing out the category isnít the best idea, although to do that I would need to get a $128 gift card.

Anything I should be aware of/careful with?

edit: I know that the cashiers at this Walmart are fine with me loading via gift cards, I did so with a $50 Visa gift card that was a gift from a family member.

Last edited by GottaLoveFreeMoney; Jun 12, 19 at 9:01 am Reason: Remembered an additional detail.
GottaLoveFreeMoney is offline  
Old Jun 12, 19, 9:39 am
  #132  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: LAX
Programs: AA, UA, DL, NSA, CIA, MIB
Posts: 448
What are people doing with those small balances left on gift cards after purchasing money orders?
cajunguy is offline  
Old Jun 12, 19, 10:53 am
  #133  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by cajunguy View Post
What are people doing with those small balances left on gift cards after purchasing money orders?
You could potentially load it to your amazon balance.
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GottaLoveFreeMoney is offline  
Old Jun 12, 19, 7:24 pm
  #134  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 381
Originally Posted by cajunguy View Post
What are people doing with those small balances left on gift cards after purchasing money orders?
I use them when grocery shopping. Though when I purchase cards, I often get some for $499.88 or $199.88 so I don't have left over. But it does mean you gotta keep track of which cards have the oddball amount.
Klemhuzzah is offline  
Old Jun 12, 19, 7:29 pm
  #135  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 381
Originally Posted by GottaLoveFreeMoney View Post
Plan is to go BP near me that sells gift cards, and buy a $500 Visa vanilla one. Then, Iíll go to Walmart and load my Bluebird with the card and cash out to my bank
2 things - a lot of gas stations don't sell the $500 cards. I think (not sure, and YMMV) but BP doesn't. And if you have to settle for a $200 card, then the $6.95 fee wipes out most of the profit even at 5%

Second, Walmart doesn't like Vanilla cards, though again YMMV. With Vanilla, I think they only allow loads under $50, ie $49.99 max. I'm surprised your $50 card worked. If you found a unicorn, you'll probably want to keep it to yourself.

Good luck!
Klemhuzzah is offline  

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