3 Ways to Put Your Old Cell Phone to Good Use

A friend of mine recently got a brand spankin’ new cell phone. While I was really impressed with his new cell phone, I was far from impressed with his lack of plans for responsibly disposing off his old cell phone! According to this website an estimated 130 million cell phones will be retired every year for the next three years! With service providers offering fancy new phone for under $50, it is sometimes difficult to resist the temptation to be the owner of the fancy new phone everyone is talking about. But I urge you, for the sake of frugality and the environment, please consider putting your old phone to good use. Here are some of the options -

Save it
Nothing fancy to do here - just remove the batteries and put the phone away in a safe place. Most new cell phones we buy are inexpensive because they are offered as an incentive for signing a service contract. Through some ill luck, if you lose your phone or damage it before you contract is over, you will find out the hard way (as my old roommate did) that a phone without a contract can be a horribly expensive thing! So, save your old phone as a backup for your current phone to cover for unlikely events.

Sell it
Irrespective of how many people are in the household, I think one phone is enough for a backup (as long as everyone uses the same service provider). So, turn the rest of your old phones into cash! There is quite a booming market out there for used cell phones in good condition for exactly the reason mentioned above – buying a new cell phone without contract is very expensive. So, people who don’t like contracts or who have had the misfortune of damaging their phone before their contract is over, look for used cell phones. Depending on the model of your phone you may get anywhere from $5 to well over $100 for your phone. Here are some options for selling your phones.

I did a Google search and found several more sites, but I don’t know how legitimate some of these buyers are. I have only used "Cell for Cash" before and it was a smooth experience. I registered on their site and they sent me a box and a pre-paid mailing sticker that I used for mailing my phone. When they received the phone they verified that it was the same model that I had registered it as, and sent me a check for the amount listed on their site. Note: I am not affiliated with "Cell for Cash", and this referral is based on a phone I sold them 2 years ago, so take it for what it’s worth.

Donate/Recycle it
This is an option we are considering for the next time we replace our phone. Frankly, we are not really being altruistic. The cell phone we want to get rid of is a relatively common model and hence will probably fetch us less than $20 if we try to sell it. One of the sites listed below has a nice program where they collect donations of low-cost phone and redistribute them among seniors to provide them with easy access to 911 services. I think that is a very good cause and a responsible way to get rid of my phone. Here is a list of options if you are looking to donate your phone –

I also found this handy data eraser guide where you can input your model number and find instructions for cleaning out your data before donating/selling your cell phone. Well, now you have 3 different options to put your old cell phone to good use. What’s your excuse for having three old phones lying around in the house gathering dust?

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1 Comment:

KMull said...

I recently wrote a post about this. Sell it! http://www.kmull.com/2007/03/14/selling-your-cell-phone-a-look-at-your-options/