I have this phone that I got free from Virgin Mobile. It’s a Samsung Galaxy SII, Model No. SPH-D710.
Let me just say, it was an old version when I got it over two years ago. But it worked for me, and I was glad to not have to shell out hundreds, or sign my life away onto a bloated two-year contract in order to score a phone for “free”.
Until, it died.
Two weeks ago I dropped it for the 714th time (probably not an exaggeration, especially since during my 40.5 weeks of pregnancy last year I literally was dropping it 2-3 times per day).
This time, the screen actually cracked.
Not a big deal; after all, I’m not in it for the look.
But I am in it for the function. So when I woke up three days later to find that the entire phone had died, I knew I had to get a replacement.
True to my nature of trying to extract value out of everything I come into contact with, I was curious: what would I be offered for my fine specimen of a phone?
What Different Sites Offered Me
I perused four different sites specific to cell phone cash-in, as well as eBay. Here’s what I was offered:
- Gazelle.com: Unfortunately this site doesn’t accept phones from my carrier (Virgin Mobile). They won’t accept my model in the “unlocked” phones area either.
- BuyBackWorld.com: For my model in excellent condition, the offer was $10. In poor condition (i.e. not working and a cracked screen)? $0.25.
- Usell.com: Doesn’t accept my model number.
- CashforPhones.com: My phone “has no trade-in value” on this site.
- eBay: I found a brand new, unopened, battery for this phone on eBay is going for $9.45 (four left, he sold 1); all of the phones of my model type being sold appear to be working.
So, I’m certainly not going to get rich (heck, I can’t even afford a Snickers bar off of the best offer!). However, I like that at least I won’t be throwing the cell phone away.
I decided to take BuyBackWorld on their $0.25 offer.
Deciding on My Next Phone
Since my cell phone is also my house phone, and I’m home with our baby all day, I knew I had to make a quick decision on this.
And trust me, I don’t like being forced into making quick decisions.
My first choice was to purchase a used, great-condition iPhone 5S off of my friend whose son no longer needed it. Unfortunately, the phone was locked and a Virgin Mobile rep said that I could not use it with them.
I was able to find an iPhone 5S on Virgin Mobile for $249. I actually saw this as a good deal because:
- No contract: I’m still not nailed down to a contract.
- Plan Cost Decrease: It turns out that their completely unlimited plan decreased by $10 per month, so now instead of paying $45/month for unlimited data, text, and a certain number of minutes, I will get all unlimited for $35.
- The Phone Will Pay for Itself: If I had broken down and gone with a big carrier in order to get a new phone for free − such as Verizon (whom I used to be with) − then my monthly price would have been double, meaning I would have paid quite more than $249 for the same phone.
So essentially this phone will pay for itself (instead of having gone with a big carrier) within six months.
I’m okay with that! Especially since I tend to hang onto my phones for awhile.
The other plus is that this phone has so much more functionality than my old one. Not least of which because it has more storage (I could no longer download apps, and I’m not a big app person to begin with). So that’s good for my business!
What is your cell phone plan and how much do you pay per month? Shopping around? Here’s a resource I made for the cheapest smartphone plans available.