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6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Used Gadgets

6 Tips to Make the Most of Your Used Gadgets

The new iPhone 7 has been available for less than four months, and already the web is aflutter with speculation and leaks about the next generation of iPhones. In a world of planned obsolescence for all the tech gadgets that seem vital to our everyday pursuits, it comes as no surprise that pretty much everyone has a few hundred dollars worth of “outdated” electronics lying around.

There’s good news for anyone looking to sell their older model devices for some cold hard cash. An ever-growing market of secondary and refurbished devices means it’s become easier and easier for people to sell older models they no longer need either via trade-in websites like Stopoint and Amazon or via classified portals like Craiglist or eBay. But with so many retailers, businesses, and independent sales platforms, what’s the best way to get the most money out of that old smartphone? Here are six tips for maximizing the trade-in or resale value of your used gadgets and devices.

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1. Looks Matter

Your scratched up device isn’t going to fetch a great price on the resale market, even if it works like brand spanking new on the inside. While some normal wear and tear is expected, the better your device looks, the more value it will have. Think of it in terms of Amazon ratings. Is your device Like New, Very Good, Good, or Barely Acceptable? That’s why it’s smart to invest in some quality cases for your device. Go for durability and function, not aesthetics. That clear PCU case with the floral print might look pretty, but it’s not doing much to preserve the pristine shell of your phone or tablet, nor will it prevent a giant crack on the screen from an accidental drop. Make sure the protective covering you choose protects against scratches, falls, and water to minimize wear and tear.

2. Keep All Original Packaging

Speaking of looks, making sure you have the original box, instructions, dongles and accessories can increase the value if you decide to sell it to a private third party. It just provides more reassurance to them that the product was taken care of, and it feels more legitimate. If you don’t have any of the original packaging, fear not, as there are plenty of websites who buy used devices as-is for recycling purposes.

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3. What’s on the Inside Counts Too

Just in case you thought a pretty face was all you needed, the inside of your device matters too in terms of resale. Always keep your operating systems up to date, with the latest patches and improvements. Any hacks or viruses can damage the internal specs of the devices and seriously diminish resale value. If you can, avoid jailbreaking or hardware modifications that can compromise the internal hardware and software. If you have the technical know-how, return your device to its original factory settings before attempting to sell it – it can give it a little performance and value boost while simultaneously mitigating any concerns about personal data on your device.

4. Keep Up with Routine Maintenance

Oil, dust, and other microparticles will invariably collect on or in your device. Even a regular wipe down with a microfiber cloth is better than nothing. Regular battery and hardware checks are also essential to ensure your device is in the best condition it can be when you choose to sell. And always keep your device away from extreme weather and temperature conditions to avoid premature deterioration. If your device allows for modifications to change the battery or other hardware, doing so may bring in more value than selling it as is.

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5. Timing Is Crucial

Know when to sell. The value of a used product diminishes each time a new model is out. In some instances, it’s possible to upgrade with minimal cost if you know when to sell and where to sell. For instance, if a new iPhone model is set to be announced in October, aim to sell your current model before the new model hits the retail stores; there may be a rush of people trying to sell once the new model is available, driving down prices.

6. Choosing the Right Channel to Sell

While it might be tempting to list your items on eBay or Craigslist, be careful when calculating the resale value of your items. Many sites that allow you to list your own products will take a portion of the selling price, not to mention transaction fees from credit cards or PayPal. There is also a greater risk of getting scammed out of your items by shady buyers. Retailers will often have trade-in programs, but those tend to offer lower value than independent trade-in sites (and depending on the condition of your item, some will offer you no money at all, simply a free “recycle” service). Fortunately, there are trustworthy third party websites that are likely able to offer the best resale value for your device without the risk and hassle of listing it yourself. Shop around and look for ones that match competitor quotes for the best deals on your used device.

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Hira Saeed

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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