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.

Trade in your old phones and electronics

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 it. You can even buy a refurbished phone. For instance, 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.

Trade in your old books

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 took 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 my old books 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 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 reducing landfill waste. It also keeps your home or boat tidier.

So before you buy something new, see if there’s a trade-in program available. If there’s not, check to see if there’s a way to sell your old items back and put a little bit of that money back in your pocket.

Do you have any other examples ofΒ  ways you can trade in or trade up? Have you used any of the examples in this post? Leave a comment below!

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