Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Latest Manufacturing Spend Strategy

There have been so many ways in the past few years to manufacture spend in order to meet the minimum spend requirement for new credit cards or just as a way to get points to your point/loyalty program that you need more points in.  It can be overwhelming trying to keep track of it all.

We have done the Vanilla Reloads first from Office Depot/Staples then they stopped selling them.  Later CVS began selling them and that was very convenient for most of us.  That lasted for about 8 months. We had BlueBird that we could load our gift cards to that was sponsored by WalMart and American Express. Then we had the Target Prepaid Debit Card, affectionately known as Redbird, that we could load money directly on it from our credit cards – no fees and too easy.  There are other “ways” out there – Serve, GoBank and a few more.

I have not done Serve, Go Bank or some of the others.  Once Redbird flew away I began doing money orders.  I would purchase $500 VISA gift cards either at some of the grocery stores that I frequent, 7/11’s or at two of the Simon malls that are about 30 miles away.  In the stores, generally the fee is $5.95 however at the mall offices, it is $3.75 or $4.25.  I have found that in the recent few weeks that two of the grocery stores that I was able to purchase them no longer sell them when you are purchasing with a credit card.

What to do, what to do!  I had read in Frequent Miler’s blog about purchasing gift cards through iConsumer and then going through the store called   I decided to try it out.

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This is what it looks like when you log in
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When you search for a shop, write in (not
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Your next screen will have a dropdown of stores that sell gift cards.  You want GiftCards.  Reading across the screen, it says 1.5% back

After I logged in and was redirected to, I was notified that I would receive a total of 1.5% back by purchasing through them.  I planed on purchasing $2000 in VISA gift cards and my cash back would be about $30.  That would take care of the fee that comes with each card as well as the shipping.  By not having to pay for the fee, I feel like I am coming out ahead of the game by being even!  It took almost a week to get my cards.

Once you receive them, call the number on the front of the cards and they will give you the pin number, which I write on each card with a Sharpie.  What I like about these cards is that they are embossed with my name on it so it looks like a debit card from the bank.  I’ve heard stories, but have not experienced it myself, that when purchasing money orders at WalMart, that they cashier wants to look If you are interested in going through iConsumer, please consider using my link – I thank you.

I then take the cards, pin activated, and purchase money orders at WalMart (.79 for $1000 money order), Kroger grocery store (.79 per $750), Food Lion (.46 for $500).   I felt “funny” when I went into my bank to deposit these money orders.  To avoid suspicion cast on me (call that my active imagination) I spoke with a branch manager and told her what I was doing.  Her response was “can you come to my house for dinner and explain it to my husband – he would love it”.  She brought into the office another branch manager who inquired how much I was going to do each month.  I told them about 5k- 8k.  I was told that they would be recorded like checks and that there would be no problems.  I felt so much better talking to them.  I know with our hobby we are suppose to fly under the radar and not bring attention to ourselves, but for me, being honest so that no suspicion would arise, order

Another site to consider is Yazing.  Remember to purchase from and not as not all the cards from is PIN enabled.

Remember, to do this you do not want your credit utilization on this card to go above 50% of your credit limit AND you want to mix up your spending so that you have normal everyday purchases as well as manufactured spending.  Ramp it up slowly as well/.  Don’t go from having a $500 monthly spend to $5000 in one month.  Also, once you have liquidated the money orders, wait a couple of weeks before you make a payment to your credit card.  Be smart about this so you don’t get shut down by your credit card – I never have because I don’t go overboard.

Do you purchase VISA gift cards?  How do you liquidate your money orders?  Would you consider ordering them online like I did?



Are You Going to Change Your Travel Plans?

Our hearts go out to citizens of Brussels as well as the rest of Belgium.  We are still reeling from what happened in Paris last Fall.  It’s made some of us question our travel style and whether it will make any impact on our desire to travel.

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This past June, we flew out of the Brussels Airport and we are scheduled to fly out of it this Fall.  Will the events the other day make me change my mind about flying out of this airport?  Absolutely not.

After our river cruise in the early fall, we’ll be in Paris, riding the metro, going to high visibility tourist attractions.  We are not renting a car but rather doing our touring through public transportation.  Will I worry and wonder if something will happen…..probably.  Will it stop me – not at this time.  We may alter when we do certain activities.  Perhaps go to the Eiffel Tower very early in the morning or very late at night.  Instead of the metro, maybe we’ll take buses.  We’ll also be in Bruges, Ghent and Brussels.  France and Belgium, at least this year, seem to be the “hot spots” for terrorism.

I find that a lot of people ask me if I worry about terrorism when I travel and honestly, up to now I haven’t.  Blogger Hubby and I were planning our first European vacation for June 2002 but then 9/11 happened and I got very nervous.  Living outside of Washington DC I had conjured up so many different scenarios that I wasted a lot of time worrying.  I packed an emergency bag for school (I worked in an elementary school) in case we got stranded there due to attacks, I had an emergency bag in my car and I had a big emergency box at home.  I made so many preparations just in case.  I felt uncomfortable going to Europe so instead we did an Alaskan cruise.  Nothing did happen and I missed out on an opportunity. That missed opportunity taught me to not do something because “something” could happen.

We will continue to make plans for our trip, try not to let the world events affect us but yet be so ever vigilant and, to a due, cautious and aware of our surroundings.








What Do You Do When You Have Extra Money

Last year I mentioned that both hubby and I were given 600 euros each when our award flight from Brussels was delayed seven hours due to mechanical trouble in the United States.  We received the money in the form of a pre-paid debit card.  Here is the post in case you missed it

With our trip to France on our mind, we planned on using the using the “extra” money to do some activities or dining that we wouldn’t ordinarily do – something extra and unique for us.  Now Blogger Hubby is suggesting that we use this extra money and apply to our normal type of trip so that we have less out of pocket expenses and not do the extra events that we would have done with this free money

That’s led to a debate between us.  Both are rational ideas and have merit to them and we aren’t sure what to do.  I’m sure it will be somewhere in-between; some money for extras we wouldn’t have done and the rest toward our trip.

What would you do?