A few weeks ago I found this post by BigHabitat at Saverocity that pointed out a 40% Back in Staples Rewards for one day only (Saturday, May 2). This was a one time coupon, but since there have been 25% back coupons. I was not familiar with Staples Rewards but had some time and had been looking for a good way to reach my minimum spend on a couple of new credit cards. So I decided to try my hand at reselling Staples purchases as a way to manufacture spend (and possibly make some additional money). I made some (big) mistakes that I will go over below so hopefully you don’t make the same.
For those with a credit card that gives you 5% back for office supply stores, like the Chase Ink card, this would be an even better deal (My first lesson). Also, I would suggest using a shopping portal (I like Ebates.com for cash back, but many credit cards and airline loyalty programs have their own version) if you are shopping online. This 40% Back deal was for in store purchases only.
Doing some quick math I was able to find a couple of good deals.
I didn’t want to invest too much on this experiment in case I messed it up royally. I settled on three products to purchase and then try to resell (Lesson #2: I also purchased an iPad Mini 3 that was $100 off but returned in when I realized that it didn’t qualify for the 40% back coupon). The three products were on sale and, doing some quick research on Amazon, were popular products that seemed like possible quick flips.
Product 1: Keurig K145 Brewer – On sale for $99.99 with a $20 Staples gift card
Product 2: Fellowes Saturn 3i 95 Laminator – On sale for $109.99 with a $60 Visa prepaid card
Product 3: Google Chromecast – On sale for $25.00
I purchased two of the laminators and one each of the Chromecast and Keurig. I also had a coupon for 25% off a “break room supply” purchase. In this case, I was able to use it on the Keurig machine; bringing the cost down to $74.99.
The total I paid for the four items was $319.97. It came to $350.69 after tax (Lesson #3: Living in a city with a high sales tax; 9.6% in Seattle, makes reselling less profitable) which I put on my credit card.
The rebates total $140 — two $60 Visa prepaid cards and one $20 Staples gift card. Assuming I am able to use the Staples gift card (maybe for a future resell), that brings my total paid down to $210.69.
On top of the rebates, I will also the 40% back in Staples Rewards that can be used for future purchases at Staples. Rewards are calculated off of the price you pay at the cashier so you get 40% back on the full amount before rebates. Again, I am assuming I am able to use the Rewards for either something I need (toilet paper anyone?) or for something I can resell. The Rewards total $127.99. That brings my total investment in the four items to $82.70.
I would need to sell each item for the price in the final column below at minimum to break even: