20k Spending Challenge Update 2: $11k Spent, $5.6k Sold, and 11% Profit So Far

I’m back from my week long vacation and despite a week of no spending at all (towards this challenge at least…), I’m still well on pace to complete the challenge.  If you want more details about the $20k spending challenge, check out my original post on the matter and my first update.  One of my personal goals is to complete all the sales by the end of the 90 days even though that’s not a fixed requirement of the challenge.  I’m a little behind that pace at $5.6k sold as we near the 30 day mark, but if you take into account my week off, I think I’ll still be okay to complete in time.  My fellow competitors got out of the gate really fast with the spending part, so it will be interesting to see how quickly they unload the goods.  Read on to see some more detailed statistics and where you can find updates from the other competitors.

Tracking The Competitors

Most of the competitor’s also operate blogs, so it’s been nice following along with their progress in the challenge.  I’ll give you the latest links and my thoughts on each one.

Vinh at Miles Per Day provided an overdue update and absolutely killed it.  Not only has he met the spending requirement (still some Amex GCs left), but he’s already turned most of it into merchandise and sold a good chunk of it.  His extrapolated profit margin sits at a whopping 17.7%!

Chasing the Points recently gave us a second update and he’s already accounted for over 75% of the spending and even shipped them all for sales already!  He didn’t comment on the profit margin, but from what I know about his methods I expect him to make a little less than me in much less time.

Oren over at Oren’s Money Saver gave a two week update just under two weeks ago, so I expect we’ll see another update soon.  He blew through about half of the spending in the first two weeks so he shouldn’t have any trouble meeting the $20k, but we’ll have to see what his sales look like before I can comment much further.

Big Habitat invited himself to the spending party and I’m happy to have more competitors.  He’s off to a solid start at over half way there with a mix of traditional MS and his forte of reselling goods.  His profit looks good so far at over 13%.


If I missed anyone else with a post/update who’s also participating the spending challenge, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Leaving for a week causes the gift cards to really pile up.
Leaving for a week causes the gift cards to really pile up.


Progress at 1 Month: 58% Spent, 28% Sold, and 11% Profit

At the end of 6/1 (just under a month since the 5/4 start), I have spent $11,696.63 out of the $20,000 that the challenge requires.  I did jump on the Amex Gift Card offer when TopCashBack had 2.25% cash back, so that accounts for just over $6,000 of the spend and I’ll probably get some more soon.  I haven’t paid for the free shipping on the gift cards (yet!), so after purchase and shipping fees I’m able to add a 1.9% margin to all of the gift cards I buy with them.  That makes a big difference!

The Numbers Breakdown

Spending Complete: $11,696.63

Unused Amex Gift Cards: $2,016.47

Inventory Total: $3,725.82 (this reflects the cost of inventory, not the value, not the expected sell price)

  • Waiting for gift cards to arrive: $1,990.32
  • Waiting to sell gift cards: $233.99
  • Gift Cards Listed for Sale: $1,501.51

Pending Earnings Total: $3,599.90

  • Cash From Sales: $2,957.21 (just waiting on the check)
  • Shopping Portal Cash Back: $358.25
  • Store Bucks: $284.44

Realized Earnings Total: $3,254.38

  • Cash from Sales: $3,243.79
  • Other: $10.59 (I used some of those fuel points I earned from Safeway)

Total Time Spent: 6.6 hours

Thoughts And Looking Forward

I’m happy with my progress so far despite being a little behind the competition in spending.  It’s the tortoise that wins the race anyway, right?  I think my current profit margin of 11% should be pretty competitive if I can maintain and I did double check my math this time!  If the merchandise resellers can keep up their margins for the entire $20k and end up spending less time, then I know what I’ll be heavily researching next.  Using my knowledge of the gift card game might even give me a leg up!  At the end of the day, my love of numbers and data makes this a pretty kickass hobby and the extra money I’m generating is a nice bonus.  Whether I’m reselling gift cards or stuff, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.


7 thoughts on “20k Spending Challenge Update 2: $11k Spent, $5.6k Sold, and 11% Profit So Far

  1. Wow, that’s awesome. Good work! Now if only PayPal would let me buy gift cards on eBay…that or I need another source (probably the better idea – I know Oren has been having issues with PayPal too).

    1. In the past few weeks my Paypal payments had been hit or miss with Paypal Digital Gifts, but last week it was especially bad, so I had to call them to verify my identity. @PointsForLater, have you done something like that?

      1. I’ve always had problems ordering from PP Digital Gifts. I’ve called in several times which allows me to push a single order through, but I run into the exact same problem on the very next order. I’ve pretty much given up on ordering from them for now. Luckily I haven’t had any problems with giftcardmall or svm (except for that cash advance thing I suppose…).

        1. I’m not sure if I’m happy or upset hearing that you have Paypal problems with PP Digital Gifts. I’d be so happy I’m not alone. I’ve made hundreds of calls to Paypal about it. And it seems like only few reps are professional enough to at least help you push through one order (learned from last time, this time I ordered more than one GC in that order…) and things went wrong again… But I always assumed it was my ‘new user’ problem. Didn’t expect the same thing from you. I guess I just shouldn’t expect it to be solved completely any time soon.

          1. FYI, during the recent deals, I got no problem with SVM at all while Paypal Digital Gifts always gives me hard time.

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