You may think I’m crazy when I say that I actually made money by upgrading from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 – but I’m not. I used to have an iPhone 4, but now I have a brand new iPhone 5 and $34.39 (this number has INCREASED – see the update at the bottom of the post) more than when I started the process…wow! Interested in how I managed to make this happen? Well read below for the details!
I’ll start with the elephant in the room that some of you will probably be wondering about. First of all, my company pays for my cell phone bill so I am just responsible for paying for the actual phone. I can go with any of the big three carriers (AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint) and get any phone I’d like – including the no cost ones. The key is that I don’t have a monthly cell phone bill as it is taken care of by my employer. Some of my more skeptical readers might say that my phone costs me a lot – that I have to stay employed in a job I don’t really like that severely limits my contentment – and that’s definitely true. For now though, I’m going to focus on just the actual monetary costs associated with the phone.
iPhone 4 Details
I started with my current company at the beginning of 2011 and bought an iPhone soon after for $200 plus tax, knowing that I would probably just upgrade every two years when my contract expired. What I didn’t realize is that AT&T will let you upgrade after 21 months so I was able to buy my new phone a little earlier than I thought. As I had no use for my old iPhone 4 (I am the only one in my family on AT&T) I knew that I’d be selling it and that eBay would probably be the best place. It took me several weeks until I finally got my ass in gear, but when I received an email offering me a free listing – I jumped at the opportunity and listed it a couple of hours later! I sold it with no reserve (meaning I would take the best offer I received) with a $.99 starting price to make sure I had a lot of interest. It worked as it ended up selling for $270 plus $10 shipping!! I ended up selling the iPhone along with all the original accessories (box, headphones, charger, etc), an extra screen protector, and two cases that probably cost $10-15 total. Here’s the breakdown of my costs/expenses:
As you can see – I walked away with $262.78 from the sale after paying for Priority Shipping with USPS and PayPal’s fees (just a note – you pretty much have to use PayPal to collect payment and they charge a 3% fee for this “convenience”…oh well). The biggest expense that I didn’t end up paying is eBay’s “Final Value Fee”, which for electronics is 9% of the listing’s end price! Because I took advantage of the free offer I received I ended up saving $25.20 ($24.30 for the iPhone and $.90 on the shipping – yes, they charge a fee on shipping too!). Even if I had paid the final value fee I still would have made $237.58 which is pretty good for a two year old iPhone!
iPhone 5 Details
Here are the costs that went along with buying my new iPhone 5:
- iPhone 5 – $216.49 – I am eligible for the contract pricing, so it was $199.99 plus tax
- Case – $11.90 – I found a very sleek case on amazon for less than $12 and I’ve been very happy with it. I actually received a $10 gift card from a wellness program at work (very random) which I used so the case ended up only costing me $1.90 – but I’ve put in the real cost so you can see it here!
- Screen Protector – $0 – My wife bought an iPhone a couple of weeks before me and picked up a case/screen protector combo for about $15 so I used one of her extras
- Total Cost – $228.39
When you take the $262.78 that I made selling my old iPhone and subtract the expenses for the new iPhone 5 you can see how I end up with $34.39 and a new iPhone! Oh, and apparently AT&T was doing a promotion so I may be getting another $50 back in the next few weeks – it’ll be added in with my paycheck so I’ll keep an eye out and let everyone know! No matter what, I think that being able to have the use of a phone for almost two years and then sell for enough money to pay for a new phone and accessories is amazing. This is one reason why I’m such a huge fan of Apple products – their awesome resale value!
As I don’t have to pay a monthly cell phone bill I wouldn’t mind paying for a new phone every two years.I could spend $240 (the phone, a case, and another $10 or so for screen protectors next time) every two years and that would still only be $10 a month for my cell phone – which would be a phenomenal deal. But at this rate, all I had to do was buy the first iPhone and now it looks like I’ll be using free phones for a while – this one will be paying me a dollar or two each month if you spread out my savings! At this rate I’ll be financially independent in no time…all because of my iPhone!If you read a lot of personal finance blogs they will tell you how expensive iPhones and other smartphones are and how you should have a prepaid phone – but my suggestion is just to get someone else to pay for it – then you can have whatever kind of phone you’d like!!! It’s not as easy, but it’s definitely more fun and will leave you feeling more content! 🙂
If you have upgraded something recently, have you checked out what your old TV/computer/phone/etc might be worth? You might be surprised! Let me know in the comments if you’ve sold something to pay for a newer version! I’d love to hear more stories.