Semi-Controversial Way to Earn Extra Points Next Holiday Season

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I’ve now entered the phase of our family’s life when my kiddo circles toys in the “Toys ‘R Us Big Toy Book” and has some favorites she has seen elsewhere that went on her Christmas list.  In fact, when we visited Santa a few weeks ago she wouldn’t tell anyone what she was going to ask for except for Santa himself.  Luckily we were able to overhear her request for a Doc McStuffins.  Thanks to her Toy Book browsing I knew she wanted the one that talks and comes with Lambie (for those fortunate enough to have no idea what I am talking about, just count your lucky stars and know there are several similar toys on the market).  Fast forward a week or two later when things were calm enough for me to try and order this specially requested toy from the North Pole and…….. Out of stock?  Sold out?  Not available for in-store pick-up?  What?

Who knew that my kid had a knack for picking out a toy that was sold out at many/most online retailers?  Great.  I stopped by a couple common toy sources in my city, but struck out there as well.  If it was any other toy I would either say “skip it” or get a different similar toy, but this was the toy she asked Santa for, so it kinda has to be right.  Because I was tight on time, I turned the seedy, dirty, and dangerous black market of toy resellers.  If I had a ton of time to devote to this search I probably could have located it in a store, but I’ll leave that quest for the 5 star parents, and I will happily sit at my 4 and a quarter star ranking.

I had no problem instantly finding this toy available if I was willing to pay a premium.  Some of the mark-ups were insane, but some of them were more tolerable.  So, I found one I was comfortable with and didn’t look back.  The toy appeared two days later, and Santa will now be able to deliver the special request.  Whew.

In addition to thinking that right next to Santa there should be a toy ordering station, I had another idea that could result in earning extra points next holiday season.  I know many in the miles and points community are into buying and reselling merchandise in order to take advantage of large shopping portal mileage bonuses and/or to up spending on credit cards, so this seems like a natural fit.  Just identify what some of the “hot” toys will be next year early in the season when prices are low and supplies are high.  If you aren’t sure what the hot toys will be, just ask to see Little C’s list as I am sure she could identify some of the winners.  Buy the toys through a portal to earn as many points as possible, and put them on a credit card where you are working on a minimum spending requirement or just want to earn more valuable points.  As an added bonus you also would then have a legitimate business to reference when applying for small business cards.

Before other parents come after me with torches and pitchforks for talking about buying popular toys with the intent of reselling, here is the difference in my proposal.  If you are in it mainly for the points, you could keep the mark-up small, and then you are not only helping yourself, but you are helping other parents who wait too long to order the toys directly from the usual sources.  I was actually grateful that there was a resell market for that toy as at least I had an option when the normal retailers around me were sold out.  Sure I felt like a total tool paying a mark-up for a silly toy, but since it was just one toy, it wasn’t that big of a deal in our overall Christmas budget.

Clearly this points scheme isn’t for everyone, but it struck me that it might be helpful to a few who want to earn more points next holiday season.  Just please remember the part about keeping the mark-up small.  This is all about the points, right?!  😉

PS.  Yes I know that the holidays aren’t all about toys and commercialism (duh, they are also about Christmas trees, music, and lights), no my daughter is not getting anywhere near every toy she circled in the toy book, yes she donated way more than she is getting, and yes Santa is real.  Any hate mail referencing any of the above topics will be filed in the appropriate folder.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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  1. I did this with watches from Kohl’s this month in order to earn the 15 Points per dollar from UR+freedom card. I dont think there is anything wrong with buying things on black Friday sales and then reselling them on ebay later. Only difference with watches is I was selling them for way less than even Amazon whereas you are talking about selling a otherwise unavailable product for more than Amazon would charge if they had it in stock.

  2. “Who knew that my kid had a knack for picking out a toy that was sold out at many/most online retailers?”

    haha MP. I’ve got a secret for ya! Get ready for this to happen every Christmas for the next 15 years!

  3. Ok, correction… he’s in it for the profits only, and doesn’t mention miles/points. Surprised that dwight isn’t into miles/point actually!

  4. I’ve been doing this for years. No shame in being the supply to the demand. It’s what got me into the hustle game in the first place; flipping anything and everything. Latest and greatest were the $450 Starbucks “limited edition” metal cards. If people will pay, I’m willing to sell. And it sure helps me drum up free spend + extra cash!

  5. Had the same thoughts as I have been in a half a dozen stores looking for rescue bots. That said, the market will demand equilibrium. No one is going to leave cash on the table because they are happy with their miles.

  6. Dan, well done!
    greek2me, well great. We need to visit Santa a little earlier in the season then. 😉
    Curtis, ha ha! He really should be into miles and points.
    Mike, so did I buy Doc McStuffins from you?! Those Starbucks cards were crazy!
    Dave, good luck looking for your rescue bots! I know the market will dictate, but as a desperate parent I had to include a plea for reasonable pricing.

  7. You’re not alone! I was kicking myself for not buying a certain Lego set my son wants when it was $50. After Thanksgiving it was also out of stock, etc, or $85+ on amazon! I also had to hit the black market for a somewhat tolerable markup. It hurts, but the smile on Christmas morning will be worth it! (Love your p.s., btw)

  8. I’m chuckling about your daughter circling toys in the Toys R Us book. Brings back memories. My daughter would cut them all out and bring them to Santa since she couldn’t write and she needed a list for Santa. You are going to have some wonderful Christmas morning memories.

  9. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what you’re suggesting, there’s a risk involved. My Christmas anecdote: my daughter wanted these certain black boots from Macy’s…I accidentally ordered them in brown…and as of last week, there’s not one pair of these particular black boots (like the ones she wanted) in any Macy’s in the US (yes I had them look).

  10. Thanks MP – I got my Rescuebots. I paid the mark up on one of them, ebay was cheaper than amazon, but in general my four year old’s toys were cheaper than the seven year old’s, so I didn’t feel that bad about it. When they are older I will worry about equalizing the spend. Until then the younger one gets hand-me-down dividends.

  11. It’s called capitalism. The beauty of supply and demand. It annoys me when I want certain concert tickets but I’d rather not have this over-regulated. I’ve purchased merchandise with the direct intent to sell for high profit – if you can’t beat them, join them.

  12. Not cool taking money out of fellow parents pockets just do you can earn some miles. Break even and keep the miles – fine – otherwise you’re nothing but a bottom-feeder.

  13. I got into the Beanie Baby craze years ago and made a good bit of money buying and reselling them. I stumbled upon it when they became real popular, sold them on the internet, at local beanie baby swaps, etc. I also collected the teanie beanies that McDonalds marketed. I got out just in time before they mass marketed them. I have bought other toys/electronics and sold them when the opportunity came. I love to shop and I love to find something that somebody is looking for!

  14. I don’t have kids. I don’t want to buy and resell toys for points. But this post is a great example of why I enjoy your blog – funny, well written, original content. Thanks.

  15. Having little ones myself i guess the only problem i may have is that we would have to run around to all the stores and find nothing and now not really know where to look. Then again if they end up on amazon or ebay for whatever price, then so be it. Those are other “stores” most savvy shoppers would also look at in their searches.
    .
    Its a risk in my opinion to play the resell game for miles but hey it youre good at it then have at!
    .
    I can however thankfully say that our kids didnt discover Doc McStuffins until our youngest was 4 (so we got a year of not needing the show’s character toys on ya lol) and we rarely let them watch shows with commercials (we watch that program as well as most others on On Demand) so they dont get bombarded with well crafted ads directed intently at the impressional minds of little kids. I also never take the kids to the supermarket when i food shop and this prevents them from asking for this or that, thereby saving me more money.
    .
    So while im not a toy reseller who gets miles, i also found i can save a little money instead, which can sometimes be better than miles. But yes my kids have many toys so dont take this post the wrong way. I just probably wouldnt do the buy resell thing. Then again maybe i would…who knows, maybe I can direct you to a store that takes ccs to buy cash products but youll have to buy me dinner for a full explanation lol

  16. It annoys me when people don’t have gas to get to their jobs and the doctor because of gas hoarding and price gouging after a natural disaster. That’s a bit different than flipping toys on the Internet.

  17. Doc McStuffin’s was on the hot toy list for this year, so it was sold out early. It was this that led me to checking Target daily, and I learned they have the ‘store in-stock’ feature. It will even tell you what aisle number an item is on. Nice work on that feature Target. I do not see anything wrong with buying and reselling, as that is what all the stores are doing anyway. I’m fairly sure HEB isn’t growing the bananas in the store, they just resell from another supplier.

  18. I do have a more technical question for all Doc Mc Stuffins viewers: Is it LAMBIE or Lammy? I mean… what would kids say? 🙂

  19. I do some work for investment companies and they spend a huge amount of effort to analyze and identify investment opportunities with minimal risk and a good guaranteed return (at least, the ones I work with do this — it seems it’s not necessarily a widespread practice in the industry). It would be interesting to apply their techniques to identifying popular toys with limited supplies, buying them up and reselling them to desperate parents. At a large enough scale, you could be looking at an interesting little business (and there are possibilities with other consumer commodities that are subject to fashion and scarcity as well).
    .
    Out of curiosity, just how much over the retail price did you pay?
    .
    Not hate mail, but put me down in the category of people who hate to see holidays of any sort turn into “give me presents” events. We changed our whole approach to Hannukah when our older daughter was four and began expecting things. Now, we celebrate with series of ever-larger dinner parties with our girls’ friends and their families. Presents come at unpredictable times or from outside the immediate family. I realize I’m in the minority here (in more ways than one, I guess!) but this works great for us.
    .
    From a relatively early age we taught our kids that if they ever bought something, or asked for something, because they saw it advertised somewhere, it meant that there was a building full of people in downtown Manhattan laughing at them. Interestingly enough I mentioned this to a couple of guests at one of our Hannukah dinners who both had had fathers with important positions in the advertising industry in the 70s and 80s and they both told me their fathers had told them almost exactly the same thing.

  20. I don’t fault you for the idea, but it’s not realistic without building in a substantial profit margin to offset loses. There will be at least some cases where you can’t get a break-even price, and probably some cases where you’d take a very large hit. The make this worthwhile, I think you’re talking 1000s of dollars to yield 10s of 1000s of points. That’s a big risk to take. If you can manage a decent profit, you can always give any long term profit to charity, right?

    • Mikes, or you can just start small and have little risk but almost a guarantee of at least a small profit. I don’t have the time to do it, but with hot toys at a good price you (almost) can’t go wrong.

  21. Not for nothin but my wife said our local Toys R Us store was stocked full of Doc McStuffins toys just yesterday. They are a hot item and i hope mp does well but now if there are many on the shelves just before Xmas i dunno

  22. Mp omg yer right!! So do you want me to go grab them all for us to make coin? Hows about we split the costs to buy and we split the profits!

    • MM, ha ha. Sadly I barely had time to buy one price hijacked one, but if I had the time……. 😉 (though I would likely never charge near enough cause I would feel guilty!)

  23. Well ya could suck me into this plan… I work for myself and could try and get to the store tomorrow… If they have em maybe we could strike a dealio. I dunno

  24. I’m a new miles-earner, but I’ve been couponing & following coupon blogs for years. This came up today and I thought of you!

    Doc McStuffins with Lambie at Disneystore.com for $39.50 ($7.95 shipping, or free with $75 purchase and code SHIPTODAY).
    http://www.disneystore.com/dolls-toys-doc-mcstuffins-doll-set/mp/1319951/1000259/

    I also use evreward.com to see what the click-through bonus would be at various sites.

    For Disneystore.com (http://evreward.com/store/go/692), AA is 2 points/$, Mariott is 4 points/$, and SWA is 2 points/$. Plus, with SWA, when you make your first RR mall purchase, you get a bonus 500 points…

    Hope your LO’s Christmas is magical!

  25. The fees and commissions that places like Amazon charge to sell on their platform usually exceed 20%. So for example, if I’m selling a $40 Doc McStuffins doll for $60 I’m only making $2-$3 profit after everyone takes their cut.

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