My Experience Trying Reselling as a Way to Increase Manufactured Spending

This is a scheduled post as I am on vacation. I may not be able to respond or approve comments right away. 

I’ve never been huge into manufactured spending outside of the “low hanging fruit” such as Amazon Payments back in the day and more recently with Redbird when credit cards loads at Target were allowed. I’ve dabbled with Visa Gift Cards, Bluebird, Serve, American Express Gift Cards etc. but I no longer deal with any of those as where I live is very manufactured spend unfriendly.

So while I’ve recently sat on the sidelines in regards to manufactured spending with those methods, I have been thinking of trying reselling as a way to increase my spending. A few weeks ago, I saw a few deals that allowed me to try reselling as a way to increase spending for the first time and I thought it would be interesting to share my experience. As you will see below, I broke up my analysis on my actual cash profit or loss on the actual reselling of the item and then separately analyzed the “bonus items” associated with it such as portal cashback, credit card points, rewards certificates and other items to see how I truly did.

Apple 13.3” Macbook Pro (Model Number MD101LL/A)

Macbook

Buying Them:

I saw a post on Oren’s Money Saver that showed a seller on eBay discounting these to $799 each while Amazon was selling them for $880-$890. Additionally, there was a 15% off code (max discount of $100 though) that lasted only a few hours so I was able to purchase one for $699. I couldn’t use that coupon again but I had a targeted 10% coupon in my account so I was able to purchase a second Macbook for $719.

To make this a better deal, I went through the TopCashBack portal to earn 1% cashback which I was able to get increased to 5% by filing a Best Rate Claim and stating Inbox Dollars had a better 5% cashback offer (this no longer works). At the same time, eBay was running a targeted bonus eBay Bucks campaign in which you could get 10% back in eBay Bucks so that was $80 back per Macbook (it was based on listing price of item, not price actually paid). Lastly, I would earn 1,418 SPG Starpoints from my credit card which was my new American Express Starwood Business credit card (and this helped to meet the minimum spend on the card).

Selling Them:

I sold the Macbooks through Amazon’s FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) service which was was my first experience with them. It was quite easy to ship the MacBooks to them and let them handle everything else. Here are the results:

I was able to sell these for $850.99 each via FBA as prices dropped on these MacBooks. After Amazon fees of $56.37, I netted $794.62 for each one. The Amazon fees include shipping the MacBooks to Amazon which was only $4.32 each thanks to deeply discounted UPS pricing with Amazon FBA.

PnL:

  • Total Cash Inflow on item (Revenue) = $1,589.24
  • Total Cash Outflow on item (Expense) = $1,418.00
  • PnL Before “Bonus Items” = $171.24
  • Value of TopCashBack Received = $80.00
  • Value of Credit Card Points = $28.36 (I value SPG points at $.02 each)
  • Value of eBay Bucks Received = $160.00

Total PnL = $ 441.60

Apple iPad Mini 3 – 16GB Space Gray

ipadMini3

Buying Them:

Best Buy was having a 4 hour flash sale where these iPad Mini 3s were $175 off (normally $399.99) so I picked up 2 of them for $224.99 each + tax. My total cost including tax (shipping was free) came to $244.40 per iPad Mini. Amazon was selling these at the time for around $300.

To make this a better deal, I went through the TopCashBack portal to earn 1.25% cash + I would earn 449 Best Buy Points which are worth about $9 when redeemed for a Reward Certificate. Additionally, I would earn 489 miles from my credit card which was the Barclays Lufthansa Miles & More card (I wouldn’t recommend this card normally but I am trying to meet the minimum spend on the card at the moment).

Selling Them:

I sold the Macbooks through Amazon’s FBA service but for these I wanted to see the difference if I sold them myself via Amazon without using FBA. I’m not sure I made the right decision here but here are the results:

Of course by the time I went to sell them, the prices went down and I was only able to sell these for $265.99 each + I received a $5.49 credit for shipping. After Amazon fees of $17.50, I netted $253.98 per iPad mini. Since I sold these myself and not through Amazon FBA, I still had to pay to ship these to my buyers who were of course on the West Coast (I am in Long Island, NY). Shipping was $11.05 for USPS Priority mail – I chose Priority mail over Standard Post as it was only $.75 more.

PnL:

  • Total Cash Inflow on item (Revenue) = $485.86
  • Total Cash Outflow on item (Expense) = $488.80
  • PnL Before “Bonus Items” = ($2.94)
  • Value of TopCashBack Received = $5.62
  • Value of Credit Card Points = $4.88 (I value Lufthansa miles at $.01 each)
  • Value of Best Buy Rewards Certificate = $9.00

Total PnL = $16.56

Final Results:

  1. So how did I do overall? I did really, really well on the Macbooks as I was able to make a nice profit before even counting all the “bonus items” such as the eBay bucks, credit card points etc. On the iPad Mini 3s, I didn’t do as well as I took a loss on the actual product (though a quite small loss at $2.94) but I made a profit if you count the “bonus” items.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is the time involved. I don’t think it was too time intensive though I spent the most time boxing & labeling items and driving around to UPS/USPS to ship these items. That probably took an hour or so plus the time to buy the items, list the items for sale and followup with buyer’s questions or order updates. Overall I’d estimate my total time at 2-2.5 hours total. For the amount made on the iPads, this wouldn’t be worth my time but is definitely worth it if I can find another deal lik the MacBooks. 

Will I continue doing this? In short, I’d like to but I am going to set a goal for myself to make sure I earn a profit of at least 10% on the actual reselling without having to count the credit card points, cashback or other bonus items. By only looking at deals where I think I’ll turn an actual profit reselling, I won’t get caught up in too many deals and it will allow me to focus on more valuable deals. Of course, this may or may not feasible as it could be a while until I find a deal that meets this criteria but I am ok with that as I don’t NEED to do this – it’s merely an avenue I want to explore further when it makes sense for me based on my criteria.

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