Frugal Hack #19: Where to Sell or Donate Old Cell Phones

Updated August 10, 2020 by Kyle

Do you have a drawer full of old cell phones in your home just collecting dust? Time to bring them out into the light of day and do something useful with them. You can either sell them for cold hard cash or donate them to a great cause. Below are my five favorite options.

Important Tip: Before you sell your old cell phone make sure to take the appropriate steps to keep your personal information out of the hands of the next owner. You need to remove your SIM card, remove your micro SD card (if you have one), erase or reset your internal storage, and erase and format your SD card. Here is an excellent article to reference on Lifehacker.

Cell Phones for

~ By far my favorite option is Cell Phones for which takes the money they get from selling your old cell phone and uses it to give free calling cards and free minutes to our soldiers fighting overseas.

The business was started by a couple teenage entrepreneurs and to date they have given over 200 million free minutes to the brave folks keeping us free.

Even if your phone is a total relic, donate it to them rather than throwing it in the landfill. You’ll help the environment and give something back to the troops all at once. A total no-brainer if you ask me.

~ If you’re looking to make a quick buck on your old cell phone you should start at

They are currently buying iPhones, iPads, Tablets, iPods, and Apple computers.

They are also buying the following Android brands: BlackBerry, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung. They also buy broken devices which is kinda cool.

I got a quick quote on what they would give me for my iPhone 4, I entered my information and told them it was in “good” working condition.

They gave me back a quote of $45. Not great, not terrible.

I am quickly realizing that my iPhone 4 is becoming a tech relic and hipsters may start laughing at me, which I am totally fine with by the way.

I mean seriously, why would I go dump money on a new smartphone that is only slightly better than the one I already own? is similar to Gazelle except it collects offers from a laundry list of potential cell phone buyers.

It should also be noted that they will also help you sell your textbooks, video games, game consoles, iPods, and iPads.

Broken or working, they’ll give you a competitive offer. Again, I entered my iPhone 4 information and was given 6 different offers, all of which were lower than what Gazelle offered.

It is also worth noting that if you do decide to use them they’ll mail you a pre-paid envelope to return your old devices.

~ If your smartphone is unlocked and in good working condition,, while a little more time consuming than the previous options, is your best option for selling it for a good price.

By looking through the completed listings on eBay it looks like I could easily sell my iPhone 4 for right around $125-$150.

Here is a great article detailing the steps to consider before listing your cell phone on eBay.

My favorite tip is to start the bidding low (with no reserve) as it will spark an early first bid.

Studies have shown that items with at least one early bid will encourage others to jump in on the action as they perceive a good value on the item.

Trade It In for a BestBuy Gift Card

~ Use the Best Buy Trade-In program to trade in your unwanted tech products in return for a Best Buy gift card.

This can be done online or in-store. Using their online program they would give me a $48 Best Buy gift card for my iPhone 4 in good working condition. Not too shabby.

Also, if your trade-in has no value you can recycle it for free in all their brick & mortar locations.

Ask the Reader: Other than throw them at neighbors you don’t like, what do you do with your old tech products and cell phones? Have you ever sold one for a few bucks?

By Kyle James


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Wow Kyle that is a great tip on the phone for soldiers.


I’ve sold my old phones and an old camera to Gazelle before…nowadays I see they don’t take non-smart phones. I mean who doesn’t have a smartphone I guess. Well my wife and I do have smartphones nowadays (if hipsters laugh at your outdated iPhone, I wonder what they would think of our flip phones!) Only thing I sometimes worry about is whether the companies really get rid of the data on the phone like they say they do.

Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

We take the batteries out of our old cell phones and “donate” them to our kids’ toy boxes, negating the need for us to buy them smartphones like all of the other kids get. 🙂

Matthew Garcia

the company I work with, iCracked is currently dominating the market with phone repairs but we also buy back phones like usell and gazelle. the great thing about icracked is that we pay more than anyone else for your old or broken phones. is your phone not worth anything and not even worthy of one of our many great soldiers? well we can recycle them for you for free as well. just visit and check out what we’re all about

G Goober

I was looking to sell my Verizon Iphone 5s 64mb through one of the websites mentioned here. I decided to compare Apples to Apples (pun intended).
Here are the current offers for the Iphone 5s 64mb in excellent shape from there and several other sites.
Gazelle $195
uSell $175
greenbuyback $195 $242
iretron $199
All seemed to offer pretty much the exact same service. I went for the most money and everything went off without a hitch. They sent a prepaid box. I sent it off and had my cash in my PayPal account 2 days later.