Getting a new cell phone might be the highlight of your week, especially if the phone has all the latest bells and whistles. But like any other electronic device, the newness eventually wears off; sooner or later, you find yourself looking for an upgrade.
Because new phone models debut often, most people get a new phone every one to three years as technology improves. But naturally, the more you upgrade, the more likely you are to accumulate a collection of old phones.
Rather than storing these older phones in a junk drawer, here’s how to put them to good use.
1. Trade In
If your older phone remains in good condition, you might be able to trade in the phone for a discount on your new phone, or get store credit for merchandise.
When trading in a phone isn’t an option, you can also sell the phone and pocket some extra cash. There’s always someone looking to get their hands on an older, inexpensive cell phone. List your phone for sale on websites like eBay, Craigslist, Letgo or even Facebook Marketplace.
2. Give It Away
The old saying is true, “There is more joy in giving than receiving.” So if you know someone on the hunt for a cheap cell phone, do them a favor and give them your old phone, no strings attached.
An older phone also comes in handy if you’re thinking about getting your child his or her first cell phone. You can provide your child with an emergency contact phone without having to shell out cash for an expensive phone.
3. Repurpose the Phone
An extra phone laying around the house can also prove useful in certain situations. You might enjoy listening to music while walking or jogging, yet you don’t want to lug around your new cell phone during exercise. In this case, you can listen to your music library from your old phone.
Cells phones are mini computers and you don’t need cellular service to use certain features. Therefore, an older phone can function as a backup media device, alarm clock and more.
4. Donate Your Old Cell Phone
If you are self-employed—or looking to lower your taxable income—you know the benefits of a tax write off. The more write offs you have, the lower your tax obligation. You’re probably familiar with writing off business supplies, mortgage interest or eligible medical expenses. What you may not know is that donating an old cell phone to charity can score you an additional write off.
Several charities accept used cell phones as a donation. These phones are then given to those in need. Keep in mind that not every charity accepts cell phones, so you’ll need to call around and speak with local charities to find ones that do.
5. Keep It
Of course, there’s no harm in keeping an old cell phone as a backup. Anything can happen with your new phone. You might crack the screen, drop the phone in the pool or run it over with your car (yes, it happens). Until you’re able to purchase a replacement, an older phone can serve as backup and help you stay connected to the outside world.
Just because a cell phone is slightly outdated doesn’t mean it’s useless. Trading in or selling the phone can help you net cash toward your next purchase. But if neither is doable, there’s always the option of donation, keeping it for an emergency or gifting it to someone—which is much better than the phone collecting dust in a box or drawer.