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February 23, 2009


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As you go through the checkout steps at the U.S. Mint website, they make it look like standard shipping is $4.95. Click on through and you'll see that shipping is free.

Sounds good except there is one problem for me. My bank charges a 4% fee on all rolled coins. With that fee, I would lose a lot of the benefit.

While I am all for making money, I don't think this is a good idea. The packaging material used to ship the coins and the fuel to transport it through our mail system creates waste and causes more foreign fuel usage. Also, I'm guessing the free shipping is somehow subsidized by the Federal government using our tax dollars, so we may all be paying for your money-making opportunity.

I bet the federal government can easily cover shipping costs out of the taxes that FMF paid himself.

Curious... is there anything stopping you from just buying a full $6,500 on January 1st to ensure you are in Tier 2 for the rest of the year with the AmEx?

Jim --

You are so right -- unfortunately. :-)

My Life --

There is a limit on how many you can get with free shipping -- I think it's two boxes.

Matt, your bank charges 4% fee for rolled coins? I've never heard of a bank doing that. I guess banks are just looking for one more way to tack on fees to make money. What's next $3 per check deposit?

Anyway, it's a great idea to make a little rewards money, but something tells me the tellers will give me a dirty look when I bring 500 dollar coins to deposit lol. How much would that even weigh? A roll or quarters seems heavy to me!

It's also a great way to get dollar coins into the system, but so many people hate them. I cannot wait for the day when physical money is gone and it's a cashless society.

$40...... I thought you were planning to say a $100+ profit...

Duh! (I need to say this even I didn't want to)

I hope you aren't passing the obsessive nature of collecting money onto your kids. It seems like a sickness at the level you are wasting your time to earn a pittance (only to waste it at a church.)

Me --

I sure am. Next week the kids and I plan to go dumpster diving in hopes of finding a penny or two at the bottom of a sickening pile of disease-infested trash. Hey, it's free money after all right?

Then we plan to waste it all by doing something really crazy -- like giving it to our church's food pantry to feed the poor and homeless. Wow, we sure can pour money down a drain!!!

That's a decent income for the amount of time you put in. I think the value of gold is increasing too.

I just did a rough crunch of numbers, but if you buy 2 boxes each month($500) and you have that money deposited into your HSBC direct online savings 2.25%APY, and you buy it with Chase Freedom which you can get rewards. You can make up to $260 a year with it. 3% of $6700 = $200, but chase offers an extra $50 if you save $200, so you'll actually get $250. So:
You need to spend $6700 on Chase credit card to get $250 reward.
You'll buy
12months*$500=$6000 (So you just need to spend another $700 to qualify or another month and a half, I use only chase freedom, so $700 is easy for me to spend)
12months of interest from $500 is $11.13 at a 2.25%APY
So you'll end up getting $250+11=$261 in a year for doing almost nothing besides buying it, depositing it and paying off that CC, not a bad deal.

If S&H is free great, otherwise a years worth of shipping is $59.40 so you'll still get $200. Maybe it's a lot to get an extra $21 a month, but hey, it's free.

...okay, this is downright exciting. I'll buy a couple of boxes. Sounds like a fun way to make 20 bucks. :)

what prevents people from repeatedly doing this and earning cashback on their cashback...? why invest your money when you can guarantee money?

Actually you can buy up to 12 boxes at a time...

they limit you to 2 boxes OF A PARTICULAR TYPE DOLLAR COIN. At present there are 6 different designs on the US Mint website.

My credit union will accept up to $200 in coins without a fee. Not sure about rolled coins, but by circulating the coins you are performing a service for the mint and that is what they want.

It says that this direct coin program is typically not covered by Cash Back Credit Card programs. If you happen to know of a card that does cover it, (wouldn't it be wonderful to use a 2% card?) let us know.

Doing some basic math, 2 boxes *6 designs= $6,000/order you can get with free shipping.

Now I didn't notice any limits on time, so perhaps you could order this much 2X per month or even more.

I know that some credit cards offer credit limits of up to $50,000.

Now lets take a moment to whisper of a dream, one in which your monthly expenses are $3K and you order $47,000 of dollar coins from the mint, (that's 12 boxes every 3 days).

Its amusing to think how much effort it would take to deposit this much money, you would have to visit 2 or 3 different branch of your bank each day and deposit the maximum, (or maybe use the bank's coin counter, fill that sucker up with $1000 or so:)

So $50K/month you charge to a credit card like the Schwab 2% visa= $600K/year of charges= $12K/year in free money!

Know that's fantastic but lets estimate how much time it takes to do all this.

Going to 3 bank branches per day, (that have automatic coin counters) and depositing $500/visit in gold coins, maybe 2 hours, 1.5 if you have the branches mapped out ahead of time, (make sure not to visit a branch more than once per week).

So basically it takes you about 15 hours/week, slightly less than a part time job to pull off this feat. During this time you can listen to an Ipod and enjoy music and or podcasts or audiobooks, while earning $250/week or $16.67/hour.

Don't know about you but as someone who once worked as a Cashier at a grocery store for less than half that much, this sounds like a fantastic alternative.

So lets go completely mad and try to see how much you could make if this was your full time job.

If $45K worth of coins=15 hours/week then 40 hours/week at proportional rate of deposits, (8 banks/day) is $120K worth of coins/month or 20 orders of 2 boxes each of the 6 designs.

I think it is feasible, 240 boxes consisting of 2400 rolls of coins isn't something I couldn't fit into my house, (or I could rent a storage unit).

So what's the haul from this ingenious system when its your full time job?

Well first of all it requires 3 credit cards with $50K limits and 2% unlimited cashback rewards. I don't know if 3 such cards exist but for the sake of fun lets say they do.

$120K worth of coins *12 months= $1,440,000 *.02= $28,800 or $2400/month, $600/week and $15/hour.

Ok pay for a job where you're your own boss but perhaps not enough to live on comfortably.

So lets take things one step further, go completely mad and assume you purchased $6K of coins/day every day for a month.

Thats $180,000/month, which would require 4 different credit cards to fit all the charges. Again assuming 2% cash back for the charges, lets crunch the math.

180K worth of coins, 360 boxes, your house filled to the rafters with gold coins, (makes you feel like Scrooge McDuck don't it, swim in it baby:D) 3600 rolls of coins, assuming each weighs 1/3 of a lb = 900 lbs of coins! Nearly half a ton/month the mint is shipping to you, (you're quiet the patriot aren't you doing all that work for uncle sam:)

How long does it take to deposit $180K of coins? Well again, $500 at a time requires 360 bank visits per month or 12/day. At the rate of 3 banks/2 hours I would need 8 hours, for a monthly total of 240 hours, or 60 hours/week.

Total for the year= $180K*12= $2,160,000/year = 4320 boxes = 43,200 rolls of coins = 10,800 lbs = 5.4 tons of coins!

The yearly haul? $43,200 in cash back. $3600/month, $900/week, still $15/hour.

Of course this is ridiculous, you'd have no time to enjoy life and the mint would surely catch on the first month, plus there's no health benefits with this gov job.

Better to go to the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, (military med school). They'll give you a free education, train you to be a doctor, pay you $56K/year, (only $30K which is taxable and there are ways to reduce that with a thrift saving plan) and you get the best healthcare in America, (Tricare Prime, no annual fee, no copay, no deductible, free medical, free pharmacy, free optometry, heck even free Lasik!)

On top of that 1 month of paid vacation, you retire at age 62 with a pension of $113K/year adjusted for inflation each year and oh, did I mention that you after med school your pay goes up to $71K, $115K after residency and ballooning up to $200K per year after 30 years?

With this route you can max out a Roth IRA, a thrift savings plan, (mutual funds with .05% expense ratios, half as much as vanguard!) and put together a seperate taxable account elsewhere!

Each account after 30-40 years will be worth over a million dollars and you'll have that massive pension, (and healthcare during retirement costs $55/month and is basically the same as active duty!).

Sounds better than lugging around 30 lbs of coins a day to a bunch of banks doesn't it?

Well then do what I did! Apply to the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and become a military doctor! Serve your country, wear cool uniforms that drive the ladies wild and get crazy rich!



Adam Galas
Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences,
Class of 2014, Army Program

I heard today that the US Mint has now stated that credit card purchases will be recorded as cash advances rather than credit card purchases. They said credit cards typically do not give reward points for cash advances. I think this is to stop people from earning points or miles on the coin purchases.

Christy's right-- this is no longer the case, and you should consider updating your post. You can see that they're keeping track of these purchases because they now state that buying coins this way must be the only part of a transaction and therefore has different processing.

Also, getting them and then putting them in the bank defeats the whole purpose of the program-- which was to get $1 coins in circulation. By depositing them right back into the bank, you don't put any in circulation.

MInTheGap --

You need to follow along. This post is almost two years old. Since then:

1. Gold Dollar Coins Not Treated as Cash Advance:

2. As I also note in that post, I am circulating the coins. Here's a more recent update:

It clearly states in the Amex TOS that cash equivalents do not qualify towards the cash back. I suggest you read that.

Frank --

Not sure about now -- this post is over two years old. I use a Visa to do this currently...

I hope that long, protracted email from Dr. Adam Galas was a joke. Write almost a thousand words with absurd calculations to conclude by pitching joining the military!? And to add a pretentious signature? What a clown!

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