Now more than ever, we need to be smart about how we spend our hard-earned money. While so much of the marketing world is laser-focused on encouraging consumers to spend, we need to find ways to save (and even earn!) money from our old gadgets and electronics. Not only will it be good for our wallets, but it will also greatly benefit our environment. Here are some ways to get the most bang from your buck on your once-loved electronics and gadgets.
Salvage what you can
Don’t be too quick to get rid of gadgets and electronics you deem too old. Just because they have scratches or have been with you for years, it doesn’t mean they’re completely hopeless or that they will no longer work. You’ll be surprised at what a simple screen repair or replacement can do to give your gadget a brand-new makeover, or even a battery replacement. Even old computers can be salvaged when given to passionate technicians who know their way around electronics. Think twice before discarding your old electronics; make sure they’re impossible to salvage before you replace them.
Take care of your gadgets
One of the biggest reasons our electronics don’t last long is because we don’t give them the tender loving care they deserve. Think of your phone or laptop as an extension of you—because in 2021, they most certainly are. Here are some care tips you need to consider after getting your hands on a new phone or PC:
- Clean them regularly and gently using mild antibacterial hand soap and a damp cloth. You can also purchase a microfiber cloth, keyboard brush, and sprays that were specifically formulated to clean screens.
- Avoid eating and drinking beside your phone, laptop, or PC.
- Keep them away from your pets and your kids.
- If you’re the type to drop your gadgets often, consider placing them in anti-shock cases.
- Follow the manufacturers’ instructions and recommendations for battery care.
Make use of trade-in programs
Multiple retail giants offer trade-in programs, which will allow you to receive store credit or gift cards in exchange for electronics and gadgets they deem eligible. The amount of the store credit or gift card you will receive is dependent on the appraised value of the electronic you’re trading in. The types of gadgets they receive include smartphones, e-readers, Bluetooth speakers, gaming devices, tablets, streaming media players, cameras, and others.
Use apps to sell your old gadgets.
Platforms like Gazelle, Swappa, Glyde, Buy Back World, Gizmogul, and others allow users to sell your old electronics. These platforms all have different advantages and benefits. For example, Gizmogul provides a way for users to donate money to important charities while they sell their old gadgets. With every successful deal, $1 goes to charities and non-profits for building schools or funding after-school programs, both domestically and internationally.
Apply for a phone plan that provides a free phone.
If you’re on prepaid, take note of your monthly usage and costs, and see if you can afford to consider getting a phone plan that’s equivalent to your prepared expenses. Many phone plans provide heavily discounted, if not free, phones whenever you successfully apply for them. Consider subscribing to a cheaper phone plan so you only need to shell out a minimum amount for a good phone. Do thorough research on carriers’ current phone plans and what kinds of phone discounts you can take advantage of.
Consult with organizations that handle e-waste.
One of the biggest challenges we face today is the overwhelming volume of e-waste. Unfortunately, as manufacturers improve their tech and create new gadgets with more state-of-the-art features, it means the more obsolete ones will more likely be discarded, and they have to go somewhere—to landfills, mostly. Statistics show that 20-50 million metric tons worth of e-waste are disposed of worldwide every year. It’s a dire number, but one that we can still do something about. If you don’t know what to do about your old gadgets to make sure they don’t end up in landfills, consider consulting with organizations that were created specifically to help address this problem, like Great Lakes Electronics, a team that disassembles electronics, takes the components apart, and sells the parts that are still valuable and have resale value. Every part is recycled, while the other metal parts are recovered.
The Bottom Line
Doing right by your possessions—not just your electronics—will be good for your finances and the environment. Consider exhausting every means possible to earn some money back from your old gadgets so they’re not just sunk cost, and protect the gadgets you have now, so they can last a long time.