Whatever choice you make can reduce the cost of staying current

Should I Sell My Phone Or Trade It In?

by Elisha Montgomery


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When you go in to buy a new phone, you often get the option to trade in your old one. Because you haven't considered this option, this can be a tricky moment, and you really don't know how much your phone is worth. Another thing that makes it hard is that offers vary, especially if you are a new customer. Because of these variables, it's a good idea to know your stuff beforehand. Here are some guidelines that will help you put a little extra money in your pocket.

Check your phone online: The first thing I do is check what my phone is selling for on eBay and Craigslist. On eBbay, I type in the model number of my phone and then use the filter to see sold items. I look for the most recent ones, as this gives me an idea of what they are selling for now. As for Craigslist, I just try to get an estimate based on what most people are asking. If you have a definite preference of where you want to sell your phone, you should rely more heavily on that medium to get an idea of a fair selling price. It's good to slightly undervalue how much you'll get from your phone, as you can't always make as much as others.

Check the offers from your provider: Typically, I've seen that companies offer $50 to $100 for a trade-in, but this number can change drastically if you take advantage of promotions or are a new customer. It's great to take advantage of promotions as you can get closer to what you would have made by selling it yourself without investing time and resources.

Condition of phone: This can greatly impact the value of your phone. If you only sell occasionally, it is a good idea to only sell devices in really good condition on eBay. I suggest this because returns can make you regret selling, and selling damaged products can greatly increase the likelihood of a return. Even when you clearly state product condition, the customer's interpretation of your description can be different from what you intended. One way to get around this is by selling on Craigslist, but not everyone feels comfortable with this medium.

So how can you keep your phone in good selling condition? Some like to use their phone without a case, but that is a mistake if you would like to resell it later. It doesn't have to be an expensive case. In fact, any case that provides adequate protection will work. Also, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a screen protector. The most important aesthetic part of your phone is the screen, and a damaged screen ravages resale value. As a side note, I have never broken a screen that I've had a screen protector on, so I think the protection value more than makes up the cost.

Are you heading for debt trouble? This simple checklist can help you.

Be Patient: When you're selling a device, whether online or locally, don't rush things. If you don't need the money immediately, you can increase profits by up to $100 just by not lowering your asking price right away. If you see that a similar phone in a similar condition has sold for $300 two days ago, there is a good chance you can do it too. Instead of lowering the price, make sure you have quality pictures, double check the wording of your listing, and look at shipping costs. Fiddling with those variables might give you the edge you need to sell it the second time around for what you want. At the same time, be reasonable. If when investigating, you picked the highest dollar amount you could find and your device is not selling, then lowering the price may be a good idea.

Wrap-up: After you've calculated the value of your phone, checked the trade-in promotions, and made sure your phone is in good condition, it is decision time. When they make you an offer, you'll know whether you'll make an extra $100 selling it yourself or if the extra $15 you might make isn't worth your time. Whichever happens to be your case, you'll be sure to have made the best decision.

Take the Next Step:

  • Buy and sell used cell phones and electronics at Gazelle.com
  • Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!

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