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Having turned a leaf from the old Anthony (who was not frugal), I consider myself to be quite frugal, although I still have a few indulgences (mostly surrounding food). For this reason, I am never one to jump to buy the latest phone knowing that I could potentially buy one from a less frugal friend who always has to have the latest and greatest. I really am also just not that into phones. I am thankful that beyond making calls, apps do make like much simpler, but I know I don’t need the latest and the greatest to use all of those amazing functions.
We had upgraded my wife’s phone almost 2 years ago, and we bought it on the plan where they add the payment for the phone to your phone plan spread out over 24 months. She is a photographer so it seemed to make sense that she has a smartphone with a great camera. At the time, I did not want to add the extra expense of a phone for me, so I just let it go. Last week, I got an email from my carrier stating that I could upgrade from my iPhone 6 (16GB) to an iPhone 6s (32GB) for just $5 per month for 24 months ($120). Now that seemed like a decent enough deal for me to want to bite the bullet and pay that extra $5 per month, especially because I was strapped for room for apps and actually needed more space. I also knew that I would not need to pay for insurance because… well… that was more than the cost of the phone. And I also figured I could sell my phone for roughly $100.
I went to the store to claim my offer and was told it was an “online only” offer. It was frustrating but they said they could ship the phone to the store and I could pick it up there, have them switch the SIM cards and I would be on my way. I did find out that there was a $40 activation fee, which they cut to $20, bringing my total cost to $140.
Selling my iPhone
I am not sure why I thought I would get $100 for my phone, but it turns out that I was wrong. I checked with my provider online and the site said they would give me $70. I had checked the Decluttr site which offered me $72, so I figured it was just as easy to go to the store and trade it in and get the credit towards my bill. I arrived at the store and joked about getting a few thousand for my phone and the guys said, “well, maybe a few hundred” so I was feeling good. Well, by the time I got to the actual rep, he put it in their system and it said $55 trade credit! I asked why it was different from the website and he said I could feel free to go to the website and try to claim that offer. Not so great on customer service… but that seems typical for certain providers.
So back to my Decluttr offer… I have had email offers from them since I have used them before to sell electronics, and I recalled getting an email for an extra 10% in trade value. My coupon was expired, but I did a search and found one online, and got an additional 10%, so in the end, I got $79.20 for my phone. This brought my total out of pocket expense to just $60.80.
Other Options to Sell Your Smartphone (or Save Money on a Smartphone)
While Decluttr is a great place to sell a smartphone, there are certainly other options for selling your phone and you might even net a little more money. And if you are looking to save money on a smartphone, you can use the same sites. Here are a few options:
Social Media – Ask your friends on Facebook if anyone is looking for a phone. This is a great way to help someone get an affordable phone from someone they trust, and for you to ensure that you don’t get scammed in the process (because scams do happen)
eBay – I am leery of selling on eBay (mostly due to the potential for scams), but I have sold old smartphones on eBay prior. There is lots of competition as well. Always make sure you are working with a buyer with a solid history and positive ratings. I typically won’t sell or by from anyone without a solid eBay history.
Craigslist – Sorry Craig… don’t do this. You would be better off donating it and taking a deduction. I hear about way too many scams on Craigslist to where I just can’t recommend them.
So what about you… how often do you upgrade your phone? And what secrets do you have for saving money on smartphone purchases?