How to make money buying for other people

Here is a quick story of how I made $21.80 by offering to pick up the bill for other people. This might work for you too.

Last Thanksgiving before leaving Denver and heading home to visit my parents in Iowa. My father asked me to pick up a few things that he couldn’t find back in Iowa. With Denver being a major metropolitan area, he figured it would be here, as well as some other errands since I would be out.

Here is where the story gets interesting, at Target while picking up these specialty things. Target had their Black Friday deal of buying $20 worth of merchandise, you get a $5 gift card for your next purchase. I didn’t know about this or think about it till checking out when the cashier handed me four $5 gift cards. Not sure why she didn’t put them all on one card, but that’s beside the point. It was pretty cool. Later I added another $10 at IKEA and spent a total of $90. Keep in mind, the entire time, I used my 2% cash back credit card so my credit card company paid me $1.80 just for using my card.

Now when I got home, I handed my dad the receipts for $90 and he promptly paid $90. So I was returned my original $90 and had an additional $21.80 from Target’s promotion and my cashback card.

My Dilemma:
Give Money Back – Do I give my father back $21.80 since that was earned through his errands?
Keep the Money – I paid $90 for the items he asked for and he paid me $90 back. That should be the end of story, right?


Photo Credit: Pixabay

What happened – I offered the gift cards to my father since they were received when I was acting on his behalf picking up his errands. He informed me to keep them to help pay for the gas running around town. While the $20 was more than what gas was, he’s just that kind of generous guy. As for the 2% cash back from the credit card. I have no reservations about keeping that. It was my choice to pay with a credit card rather than cash.

Lesson Learned:
After that, I learned the benefits of picking up the check. Now when eating out with friends and the waiter won’t split the check, I now always offer to pick it up and people can pay me via Cash, Pay Pal or Venmo. Usually, it’s easier for the waiter and my friends thank me for taking care of it. I have yet had anyone not pay me back and I love the cash back. A meal with 12 people that cost $250 generates $5 from my 2% cash back credit card. That’s $5 I didn’t have before.

Pretty cool right?

4 replies
    • Wallet Squirrel
      Wallet Squirrel says:

      Thanks Amber Tree,

      I used to hate using my credit card and only used cash or my debit card because of the late fees, but if you can responsibly pay off your credit card each month. Those cash back perks can really be handy. I hope they release something similar to you soon, they’re so nice.

  1. Dividend Wisp
    Dividend Wisp says:

    Nice post. I always recommend and do filter all or at least as many of my purchases through my cashback credit card. Unfortunately it is only .75% on all purchases, but that’s what I get for a no-fee card.

    • Wallet Squirrel
      Wallet Squirrel says:

      Thanks Dividend Wisp, I’ve started doing this all the time and people love me for it and I make cash back =)

      I recently wrote a post on my favorite cashback credit card (2% back on everything) and that makes it worth it. It’s definitely worth checking out.


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