Possibly the worst thing about owning the latest electronics—like cell phones, TVs, tablets, wearable tech and laptops, for instance—is that these items have a shelf life. Coincidentally, that’s also one of their best features. Selling your old gear can be the springboard into buying your new gear. It’s kind of a virtuous cycle, as much of a pain in the butt as it is to have to buy and setup a new device, because there’s no way average middle-class people like you and I could afford to keep buying all the new tech toys and tools we want.
This is especially true when it comes to cell phones. Wanna buy a phone? Sell your phone. Of all the items I listed above, our phones are probably what we end up wanting to replace most often. I mean nobody wants to be that guy still using an old iPhone 3G, right? The iPhone 4 was the first iPhone I ever owned. I also owned the 4S and now the 5C. I plan on getting the 6 as soon as it’s available (maybe around September). As it turns out, I still have one of my older iPhones laying around the house. But not for long. I recently discovered just how much an old smartphone can be worth.
There’s a reason why carriers like Verizon and ATT want people to trade in their old phones when they buy new ones. They are expensive tiny computers with inherent value. True, in some cases you can use your old phone to upgrade to a new one through your carrier but you’re never going to get the most bang for your buck that way. Luckily I’m here to tell you the best way to get the most money for your old phone. But first, let’s briefly explore why your phones worth so much in the first place.
So why is that little phone in your pocket is so expensive? Part of the answer is in that keyword I just typed: little. It takes an incredible amount of engineering power to shrink down the components that go into your phone while at the same time feeding them with more power and speed. This is what enables you to live your digital life to the fullest. Of course, your phone is packed with precious materials known as “rare earths” that have inherent value as well. Why? They are hard to mine.
So, for the reasons stated above, a phone provides value because of what it does and what it’s made of. As phones get older, some of the value from what it is capable of doing evaporates a little as newer phones with better features appear on the market, but the value of the components inside—especially the rare earths—remains high.
So how much is your particular phone worth? Well that depends. If you have a relatively new model—one or two models older than the current latest generation—you’re probably going to get the most bang for your buck by selling it to someone who wants to use it. The alternative—scrapping it for parts, or recycling it—is going to yield less money because it’s stripping your phone to it’s lowest common denominator: it’s parts. And a semi-current phone has more value than that.
If you’re thinking, “It’s probably such a hassle to unload my phone that it’s not even worth it,” then think again. It’s actually much easier than you think. If you’re thinking about selling your phone give eBay’s new Sell Your Phone tool a try. Since eBay is an auction environment, you can get more cash from people competing to buy your phone. Here’s how it works:
Select your current device, see it’s value and then list it. Yes, it’s literally that simple. If you’re not sure what your phone might fetch, there’s no harm from just popping it into the system and seeing what you can get. I bet you’ll be surprised.
For instance, a 32GB black iPhone 4S (Verizon) in excellent condition can sell for up to $226. If you’ve got a white 32GB Samsung Galaxy S III SCH-I535 (Verizon) in excellent shape, you can sell it for up to $225. That’s a lot of money to leave sitting around burning a hole in a drawer in your house. For more examples, check out the infographic below.
So what are you waiting for? That new cell phone, TV, tablet, wearable device or laptop can be yours for a couple hundred dollars cheaper if you’ve got an old phone laying around.