Who doesn’t have an old cellphone in their drawer, or a camera you don’t use anymore? You probably have at least $100 worth of stuff right now that you can trade in for gift cards, all while avoiding the hassle of trying to sell it on eBay or Craig’s list.
How? It’s as easy as a trip to Best Buy or mailing it to Amazon.
Giant retailers Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Amazon have expanded their trade-in programs to include so much more than old video games: cellphones, cameras, MP3 players and more are now accepted.
Local news from across Southern California
"It’s not just limited to games and that’s the main benefit of it," said shopper Kevin Fredericks.
To test the program, I took a bag of stuff to a Best Buy in Culver City to see how much I could get: three games, movies, an older Google phone, a Motorola flip phone, and a Casio camera.
Here’s how I did:
Best Buy said no to the movies, but they would accept them online. The Casio camera was worth only 12 bucks. But the Google phone: $67. The older Motorola flip phone was worth nothing. And my son’s Wii games netted me a gift card worth 20 dollars and 80 cents.
Amazon’s online trade-in center took all my items, including the flip phone Best Buy rejected, but all they would give me is 75 cents.
A tally of everything shows that, in the end, they were pretty competitive.
Best Buy offered me $111.50. Amazon offered $110.
Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Amazon have easy to use online trade-in centers that estimate the value and give you free shipping labels. All you have to do is mail in your stuff.
Allen Graham used Best Buy’s online trade-in estimator to figure out what his four games were worth.
"That’s almost $50. There’s a lot you can do with $50. It was going to the trash or garage, why not?" said shopper Allen Graham.
Fredericks walked away with a $70 Best Buy gift card. If you want money to use anywhere, processing time takes longer and the payout is less since stores prefer you spend the money with them.
So for those looking to have a little extra spending money this holiday season, trading-in your old electronics could net you some extra cash.
And, one more tip: Make sure you include accessories.
The $12 dollars I got for my Casio camera would have dropped to zero if I didn’t have the charger.