Exploiting inefficiencies in the secondary BTFE market, part 2

So, back in November of last year, I wrote a post about buying up Box Tops for Education (BTFE) from eBay and then reselling them. Back then I bought a coupon for 1000 BTFE for $81 and was attempting to sell it for $119.99.

I tried 2 auctions back in November and did not sell it even after I dropped it to $114.99. I then decided to hold on to it for a few months until it is BTFE turning in time (the schools turn them in twice a year, Oct and Feb I believe). I listed it recently at $114.99 and it did not sell again so I relisted it at $109.99, and it finally sold.

So, subtracting $3.49 paypal fees, $1.40 ebay insertion fees (35 cents * 4 listings), $9.60 final value fee and $3.29 in postage (I’m sending it certified to make sure it gets there), I have a net profit of $11.22. Not bad, but much less than I was hoping for and arguably not really worth it. Of course you are talking to someone who looks under Coinstar machines for pennies….

I think 2 things contributed to the delays in getting somebody to buy these.

  1. It was a coupon, rather than actual clipped box tops. I think people are a bit more hesitant due to potential fraud. Especially because of
  2. The fact that it was for $100 rather than say $10 or $20. People a) don’t want to spend that much and b) are probably more worried about the 1 coupon being fraudulent. Higher risk than 1000 individually clipped box tops being fraudulent.

Still, $11 is $11. I will continue to keep you posted if I find any other deals.

In which I invite the lady behind me in line at Staples to shut right up

So I took the kids out to the mall-ish area this evening to give their mom a break. And to look for coins of course!!! (6 quarters, 3 dimes, 1 nickel and 8 pennies – the coin cycle baby!).

Also I wanted to stop by Staples. I had gotten a $10 off $10 coupon for Office Max in the mail. I was going to just put it on eBay, but I saw that there were tons of them on eBay and they were going for about $3 or $4. Not bad, but then I got to thinking and decided to buy stamps there. I like Staples more than Office Max (and it’s more convenient) and they all take competitor’s coupons.

So we got there and originally I was going to buy envelopes along with 1 book of stamps (to get over the $10 limit) but the cheapest envelopes at Staples were $6.99?!?!? So instead I decided to just buy 2 books of stamps.

So we’re checking out and first there was a delay because they only had 1 book up front so some guy had to come with more books. And then the cashier was having math trouble figuring out how much to charge for each book (he couldn’t just take the $10 off the total – he had to price adjust the books themselves for whatever reason). So we’re causing some delays which I am of course used to, and then the lady behind me pipes up with

“I thought it was illegal to use a coupon on stamps – a federal law”

Umm hello – way to dealblock me lady, to paraphrase a somewhat lewd term. And hence the title of my post. The cashier starts saying yeah I don’t know maybe you’re right. And he double checks the back as I point out – Nope nope nothing on the back that says you can’t use them (lots of times there are exclusions on stamps)

But I was just annoyed by this lady’s piping up. I didn’t say anything to her there because a) I’m a wimp and b) I didn’t want to make any kind of scene because I was hoping to stay under the radar so the transaction could proceed.

In the end, it all worked out and I got my 40 stamps for $6.80

Meijer Box Tops deal report

Okay so Meijer had a promotion this week where if you bought 10 participating products, you got a custom coupon for 70 box tops for education. Each BTFE has a face value of 10 cents, and you can turn them into your kid’s school, or, in my case, sell them on eBay.

This is actually somewhat stingier than similar deals that they have had in the past (the best was one where you got 100 BTFE for buying 12 products, and it was on the same week as super double coupons!)

As is usually the case with deals like this, with coupons it’s fairly straight forward to buy the 10 products for less than the $7 face value of the coupon, making it a moneymaker.

My report:

40 Chex Mix
24 Bisquick 40 oz
20 things that I can’t tell Carolyn about
38 Jars of frosting
20 Muffin mix
13 Hamburger Helper
4 Boxed potatoes
1 Cheerios Snack mix

I paid a total of $87.08 and if you add that all up, you’ll see that is 160 products, or 16 coupons worth. So they have a face value of $112, but I think I can eBay them for a net profit (after ebay and paypal fees) of $8 each at least, which would make them $128. So a net profit overall of about $40 or more (plus all that food).

As an added bonus, that $87 came out of the “Dan” envelope because I’m treating it as an investment in selling the box tops, so the total weekly grocery bill was only $53.

I heart the Internet

I was getting Carolyn’s (rockin) Christmas present today and so when I went to checkout from the website that shall not be named, there was a place to put in a promo or coupon code. So I thought well let’s go searching. I typically do searches like these but I normally don’t have much success.

And sure enough the first 4 or 5 codes I found were either invalid, expired, for purchase amounts more than what I was spending, or some combination thereof.

But then I found one! Boom – free shipping! Saved me $8.

I can’t tell you what the code is or what website it is for because that might spoil the super awesome surprise.