Addition by Subtraction

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Walmart. Yucko.I haven’t exactly made my feelings about Walmart secret.And let’s be honest, I open myself up to a lot of criticism with my anti-Walmart stance. (Most of it well-deserved.)Am I being elitist?Absolutely.I would definitely earn some Everyman points by nonchalantly walking by the recycle center, replete with meth addicts dumping crushed beer cans into the four-refrigerator sized recyclotron machine.As it was, when I used to walk by this scene on my way to loading up my bluebird card I’m pretty sure I had an obnoxious nose-raised “tragedy of the commons” expression on my face.

Good god.  Would you look at the Riff Raff?
Am I hopelessly out of touch?
Ding ding ding ding ding. (Winner winner chicken dinner.)
The fact is that for many many Americans Walmart is a necessity. It’s the only show in town. The only place where you can earn minimum-wage stocking shelves. The Armory where you can load up on ammo. The general store where you can fill up on cheap corn-based snacks and GMO optimised commodity priced produce. The toy store to buy your little ones cheap Chinese-made petrochemical figurines molded into the shapes of their favorite Pixar characters. The bank for the bankless where you can cash your paycheck and pay your gas bill (for a fee).  And the fact that I disdained just walking into the place for 10 minutes to load up my bluebird card with manufactured spending certainly reflects very poorly upon my character.
If Sarah Palin were to label me a “west coast liberal elitist” sadly it would not be far off the mark.
(She happens to have a point on this one…)
But there you have it. There’s just something about that place. The smell emanating from the subway stand. The “efficiency is king” warehouse feel of the place that makes Costco feel positively intimate. The grayish blue lighting that gives everyone’s skin a deathly pallor. The evident dread on the expressions of 75% of the workers’ faces.

I. Can’t. Stand. Walmart.

Which is all to say that I’m really enjoying my first month of Walmart-free manufactured spending.

Don’t get me wrong I’d go back in a pinch. Somethings are more important than aesthetic considerations, (the miles game being one of them.)

But good god, my Walmart-free life feels glorious.And here’s how I’m doing it.

Step 1

I buy $5000 worth of moneypak cards and load them online onto my ISIS serve card.

Cost: 49.50 (or $-.50 if I buy $1000 worth of the cards with my Amex Blue Cash Card)

Time required: about 20 minutes.

Points earned: $4000 spent worth of points. (The actual amount of points depends on the number of points earned per dollar, the bonuses earned, etc. based on the specific credit card and merchant that you use.)

Step 2 

Buy 4000 dollars worth of PayPal My Cash Cards.

Load them onto my PayPal account.

Transfer $2500 to my wife’s PayPal account, then withdraw the money to our bank account.

Transfer $1500 onto my Serve Card via automatic debit from my Paypal Business Debit.

Cost: $31.60 (or $6.60 if I buy one of my eight My Cash Cards with a 5% cashback card.)

Points earned: $3500 spent worth of points.

Time spent: about 20 minutes.

Step 3:

Automatically load $1500 onto my ISIS serve card from a credit card.

Cost: zero dollars.

Points earned: $1500 spent worth.

Time spent: Zero after I initially set up my automatic debit on ISIS serve.

Step 4:

Buy and sell about $5000 worth of stocks from Loyal3 (A little over $2500 from each of my and my wife’s account)

Cost: variable. So far I’ve made money each and every month.

Points earned: about $5000 spent worth.

Time spent: about 45 minutes.

Step 5:

Send $1000 to my wife on Amazon payments and withdraw from her account to the bank.

Cost: zero

Points earned: $1000 spent worth.

Time spent: five minutes.

So let’s add it all up.

Total cost: $6.10 plus or minus.

Total number of points earned: $14,000 spent worth.

At minimum you should always get at least two points per dollar spent so this equals at least 28,000 points or $280 worth. (Very conservative estimate.)

Total Time spent: 90 minutes.

Total time spent at Walmart: zero

As you can see the Loyal3 angle is the biggest time sink. (and this doesn’t even include the time that will be added to calculating my taxes next year.) So I will probably just keep this in my back pocket (and dabble in IPO’s)going forward.   In its place I will switch my wife’s Bluebird over to another ISIS serve account for next month to make it all that much more efficient.
Not that I’m complaining. This month has been great.
No money center. No customer service. No broken walmart moneycard ATMs.
Just Miles. Sweet. Sweet. Miles. (And lots of them.)
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13 Responses to “Addition by Subtraction”

  1. Grande June 18, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    The circus only goes through my town once a year. So Walmart is the only place I can see the bearded lady 7 days a week. All stores employee a least one.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. June 18, 2014 at 8:47 pm #


      My worst adversary was neither female nor bearded.

      It was a pimply sour puss sub manager who accused me of money laundering when I tried to load my bluebird…

  2. asdasdads June 18, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    Which store do you purchase the Moneydot’s from?

    • Miles Dividend M.D. June 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm #


      Thanks for stopping by.

      Rite aid is my gift card go to for moneypaks, OneVanilla, and PayPal mycash.


  3. Eric June 18, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    Are you still able to purchase moneypaks with credit card? If so, any suggestion on retail locations. Thanks for your help.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. June 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm #


      Yes I can. I go to Riteaid.


  4. Bev June 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I’m new with the manufactured spending and learning lots. Bought 2000 bucks of the wrong VISA cards to load onto my Blue Bird acct at Walmart. I know the correct one now, but it did close down the registers at Safeway! Does ISIS work for I-phones thru T-mobile? Do you have posts on Pay Pal? I’m learning and I enjoy your style immensely. I have 30 thousand dollars of taxes to pay this year and I’d like to get any perks I can before that 30 grand are gone. THanks.

  5. Jason June 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    I think I read on your site awhile back about a website that will allow you to make credit card payments to sallie mae or other student loan providers but for the life of me I can’t find the post. Any help would be appreciated. I enjoy the blog. Thanks.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. June 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm #


      I think what you’re referring to is buried in the comments sections of one of my posts.

      But the angle is this. Pay Salliemae using with Visa gift cards (purchased with a credit card) as a debit transaction.

      There seem to be some new limits on this angle described here:

      Hope that helps,

  6. Scott July 8, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    Sorry for being naive. How do you load Money Oak cards onto Serve. I enjoy your site. Keep up the good work.

  7. Scott July 8, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Sorry for the simple question. How do you load moneypak cards onto the Serve card? I am new to the miles game. I enjoy your site. Keep up the good work

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