You may be asking yourself, what does eBay have to do with traveling for next-to-free. Well, I can’t blame you as the connection is not obvious at first. Oh yea, that stock featured image is not my hand.
Reselling goods on eBay allows you to spend a lot of money on product and then get that money back with a small profit. The credit card industry, well the rewards-side, is fueled by people using cards. Banks charge fees to merchants every time you swipe your card or make an online purchase.
Banks can also make interest on your charges if you don’t pay them off in full each statement. If you are going to carry a balance, this game is not for you as interest fees can kill any profit. Don’t carry a balance, period.
You did what?
I’ll be honest, I’ve really been slacking the last two months. We took a large trip around the world (spending under $200 pp in airfare) and I’ve been a little lazy since, whoops. In the last month, Alyssa and I have signed up for 4 credit cards in total. Those 4 credit cards required a total of $15,000 to be spent in 90 days to earn the bonus points. Easy, right?
The 4 credit card bonuses will earn us an estimated $2,050 in “travel points/money”. Do I have your attention yet?
If I told a random person that I just spent $13,000 on electronics to earn free travel they’d think I am nuts. (and buried in debt). Well, I did spend over $13,000 in electronics in the last month, and all of it is in the process of being resold on eBay, some of it as I type. I average about 9% in net profit on my resold goods, which is reasonable.
The act of buying goods using credit cards to then be later liquidated is called manufactured spending. Some people do it with money orders, eBay, or gift cards. I take part in the latter of the two.
How I did this quarter
My results from January to April, I know it isn’t really Q1 since it is four months, but just roll with it 🙂
Spent on merchandise to resell: $25,689 (at 1x points per dollar, that is 25,689 points on my credit cards)
Net profit on resold goods: $2,372 (around 9% super-net profit)
Money earned from Cashback portals: $641
Points earned from shopping portals: 16,402
$2,372 + $641 = $3,031 (cash profit)
25,689 + 16,402 = 42,091 points from purchasing product via shopping portals
If you add it all up:
4x credit card sign-up bonuses = $2,050 in value
Reselling cash = $3,031
= $5,081 in travel money/cash + 42,091 points from purchases/shopping portals + 80k points from gift card reselling = a lot of free travel (over $6,800 in realized gains in Q1, depending on how you value travel points)
My suggestions for starters
As you can see, eBay’ing can be lucrative in two aspects, cash and points. If you can figure out how to ‘spend’ a big chunk of money on credit cards and then get all (plus more) of that money back by liquidating, that is when you unlock BIG free travel.
If you are new to eBay, start very slow. Pay attention to every detail when listing and shipping. If you are busy or distracted, do not eBay for a bit. All of my mistakes, a few that cost me money, were from having too much going on at once. Don’t think of it as a job, take your time and try to have fun with it, you’ll make fewer mistakes.
Only purchase items to resell that give the option of returning for free. I have almost perfected the art of buying goods to resell at a guaranteed profit, but I still keep the return option on-the-table. Another key piece is buying small enough items that can be shipped inexpensively. If any item has to be returned, it will save money on return shipping. (and yes, returns are going to happen)
And finally, don’t buy anything online without first checking Cashback Monitor. You could be missing out on free cash or points from shopping portals. All you have to do is click one button, totally worth it, especially when spend gets into the thousands.
Questions? Leave a comment below