As someone who is constantly trying to reduce expenses (in order to save more), I hate it when I have to part with a huge chunk of change to buy something, even when it’s something I need.
I also have a rule on the boat that says, if I buy something new, I have to get rid of something old. Sometimes this is a matter of just throwing said old thing away (like in the instance of a pair of shoes I recently threw out after getting a new pair), but sometimes, what you already have may still have some life in it. In that case, it’s always a good idea to see if you can trade it in or sell it to help offset your costs on buying the new item.
One great example of a way you can do this is with your cell phone or ipad. Depending on the model and condition of your phone, some carriers will buy your old phone back from you at a pretty decent price. They do this because they can turn around and refurbish them, then resell them at a profit.
I know people who just get new phones when they’re eligible, but still keep their old phones in a drawer, collecting dust until said phone becomes an antique (my husband still actually has his old Verizon flip phone from 2006 sitting in a box…). Why do that when you can get money for it?
I once got $100 back when I traded in my old phone from Best Buy, simply because I kept it in good condition (I always keep it in a case, and have a protective cover over the screen).
Even if your phone is old, or not in perfect shape, you can use a site like Gazelle, Glyde, or The iPhone Antidote to sell your old phone or even buy a refurbished phone. If you have an old iPhone 5 laying around, you could get $50 for a 16GB in good condition, and even $5 or $10 for a broken iPhone (cracked screen, won’t power on, etc.). I just got $25 for an old iPhone 4 that was pretty antiquated by selling it on Glyde (no one else was accepting iPhone 4 phones).
And you’re not limited to phones. You can get rebates or refunds when you sell or trade in all kinds of other things, like computers, tablets, video games, guns, car batteries, and even boat parts, like this program which offers a $200 refund for return of a good core when you buy a new Evinrude lower unit.
One of my favorite things to trade in is books. While it’s not very lucrative, if you’re a voracious reader like I am, then it can pay off in simply getting more books. When we lived in Nashville, I used to take regular trips to McKay bookstore, armed with a handful of books. The staff would assess their needs and the condition of the books, then make me 2 offers. One cash offer (which was usually minimal), and one store-credit offer, which was usually 3X or more the cash offer. Because it was a used bookstore, the store credit allowed me to get at least as many new (to me) books, and not pay a dime. After I read them, I’d repeat the process.
If you’re on a boat, and you’re not at a marina that has a good lending library (best thing ever!), you can also sell your books online, although you’re not likely to get much cash for them. My favorite place to sell off some of my old books online is Bookscouter. Just enter the ISBN of the books you want to sell, and they’ll return a list of offers from various bookstores, and you can just take the best one. They even cover the shipping costs!
Finding deals like this can help offset the cost of a new item, while also minimizing what goes into the landfills, or just sits there taking up space in your home or boat.
So before you buy something new, see if there’s a trade-in program available, and if not, check to see if there’s a way you can sell your old items back and put a little bit of that money back in your pocket.
Do you have any other examples of ways you can trade in, trade up, or sell that some of us may not know about? Have you used any of the examples in this post? Every comment will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $100 REI Gift Card! The drawing will be on December 2nd, just in time for the holidays! (Update: A winner has been selected.)
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