Manufactured Spending: The Mechanics of the Game.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And, then you have to play better than anyone else.”

Albert Einstein

Any Average Joe can do manufactured spending. However, to be successful you have to understand the mechanics of the game, and then as Albert says, you just have to play better than everyone else. With manufactured spending, there are three phases of this game we need to learn and be successful at.  Let’s talk about each one-

The Buy– Using a credit card, you go to a store that sells debit cards. This can be a grocery store, gas station, convenience store, department store, or even online. The options are rather endless.  Hopefully, you have caught an advertised special, but if not, that is okay.  Pick out the specific debit card you want and be prepared to pay an activation fee of up to $5.95 (fees will vary). I buy $500.00 cards as the activation fee is the same as if I buy a $500.00 card or a $100.00 card. I prefer Master Card. Once you have your card, proceed to the checkout with card in hand.

At checkout one of two things will happen;

  1. The clerk will happily process your transaction, your credit card will be billed $505.95 cents, which is the cost of the card plus the activation fee, and you walk out with a debit card in hand. Or,
  2. The clerk smiles and says you cannot use a credit card for a debit card purchase. At which point you smile, thank her or him and walk out. Don’t be rude and draw attention to yourself. Simply move on to the next store.

Remember, the credit card companies are cracking down. The retailers are adhering to and are simply enforcing the credit cards policy of not using a credit card to buy a cash equivalent. Which means buying a debit card. This is not an uncommon scenario. And, it will require you doing your leg work to find which vendors will sell you debit cards with credit cards. I have been turned down plenty of times.

The Conversion- You now have a $500.00 debit card in your hand.  Now you have to convert that card to a money order. You now need to find a vendor willing to accept the debit card and who will allow you to use it to purchase a money order.  Don’t use the same vendor that you bought the debit card from. This is also becoming harder to do as again, vendors are cracking down on this process.  But, it is not impossible.

Check with your local Wal-Mart, K-Mart, gas station, etc.  Again, you will get some rejection here and you will have to be polite, thank the clerk, and then move onto the next spot. Don’t be rude and draw attention to yourself. If the vendor does accept your debit card, you are now going to pay a processing fee, generally around $.69 for each money order. Some vendors will allow you to use multiple debit cards for one larger denomination money order. Simply ask the clerk as politely as possible if this is possible. If so, it will help you greatly on reducing your overhead costs.

The Deposit- You have your money order. Now, head to your bank, fill out a deposit slip and make a deposit. Then pay your credit card as quickly as possible with the deposited $500.00.

Smile, because you have just done your first manufactured spending run. It is that simple.