Replacing a “Poopy” Phone

Swappa

You’re busy, and multitasking is a way of life. There are some places where multitasking should never really take place. Some of those places are obvious to most people, and some of them fall into a gray area for others. One of those gray areas is the bathroom. I know of two people personally who ruined their phones by dropping them in the porcelain throne. If it works after that, it’s never quite the same.

So what are your options?

  • If the phone works, you can keep using it until your contract renews. (Yuck!)
  • Pay full price for a new phone.
  • Extend your contract and get another phone.
  • Pull out an old phone from the kitchen drawer that’s been collecting dust.

But let’s say that you read the post about Ting and you’re convinced that you don’t want to renew your contract, or you like your big carrier, but don’t have the extra cash to go out and buy a new phone and your contract isn’t up for renewal. That’s where Swappa comes in.

Swappa is a site where users can buy and sell good, working phones. Unlike eBay, where you may never really know what you’re getting when you bid, prices on Swappa are set up front and sellers have to follow a certain set of guidelines.

  • Phones cannot have any water damage, including toilet water.
  • Phones cannot have cracked screens.
  • Phones must have clean ESNs (which means they can be activated on the appropriate network when you purchase it).
  • Each listing is approved by a Swappa moderator.

Purchases are paid through PayPal, which gives the buyer and seller extra protections.

Buyers

The price you see is the price you pay. It even includes shipping, so it’s a pretty straightforward system. If there is a certain phone model that you’ve been interested, you can sign up for notifications and receive an email each time someone lists that type of phone. If you like what you see, you can buy the phone.

I believe they originally sold Android phones, but they’ve expanded into all types of phones including iPhones and Windows Phones. They even have listings for tablets as well if you’re looking for one.

Sellers

If you’re a seller, there are no listing fees or commissions that you pay. You simply choose the amount you want to get when you sell it, and $10 is added on to pay Swappa. When the device sells, you ship the phone to the buyer and you get the full amount that you wanted. The buyer pays the $10 fee to Swappa when they buy the device. You’ll need to factor in the cost of shipping since you’ll be paying for that.

We’ve used this service several times to purchase used Sprint phones for Ting, and we’ve directed several others to use it as well when purchasing a phone. It has worked out really well and we’ve been very happy with each phone that we’ve received. They are often in better condition than we assume they will be. Sellers are usually very good at communicating with you and answering any questions you have. In fact, I have even video chatted with the first person I bought a phone from because I had some questions on how to modify it after getting it. Since then, I’ve sent him emails asking different things that weren’t even related to a listing and he’s always been quick to respond.

Potential Savings: You should be able to save 50% or more off the purchase of a gently used phone versus a new one. It all depends on the demand for the device. If it’s a new phone, the price will be higher. If it’s a year or two old, then the price will be even better, even compared to a new version of the same phone.

Target REDcard debit card

Target Logo

Do you shop at Target? Do you have a Target REDcard yet? More specifically, do you have a Target REDcard debit card? Assuming you shop at Target and you haven’t signed up for one, what are you waiting for?

When we were first asked by the cashier if we had a Target REDcard we of course said “no”. We don’t have credit cards and we don’t sign up for them in order to get a deal. That’s when she told us that they had a debit card. Of course, the question that came to mind was, “what’s the catch?” Since I couldn’t see any at first glance, we decided to sign up for one and start saving right away. We’ve had our Target REDcard debit card for probably 3-4 years now and the benefits have continued to get better.

Benefits

5% off your purchases

This benefit is the one that appealed to me the most – 5% savings on purchases at Target stores and Target.com. You might wonder how they’re able to offer 5% off your purchases and not charge any fees. This is what I’ve come up with. With a normal debit or credit card, when you make a purchase, the store is charged a fee to process your purchase through your card. It’s a cost of doing business that most stores absorb to win your business. With the Target REDcard debit card, Target is able to do the processing and take the money out of your checking account using a bank transfer. This keeps them from having to pay the fees to the banks or credit card processors. They can then pass the savings on to you. The normal processing fees probably don’t amount to 5%, but I’m sure they’re willing to take a little bit of an extra hit to give everyone the 5% rebate.

Free Shipping from Target.com

They didn’t originally offer this when we signed up for our card, but I’m not going to complain. I took advantage of it recently when buying an anniversary gift for my wife that they didn’t have in the store.

Extra 30 Days for Returns

If you use your REDcard, you get an extra 30 days to return your purchases. Not that you’ll need it though, but it is a benefit.

Take Charge of Education (1% to the school of your choice)

You can enroll your REDcard with Take Charge of Education and choose the school you’d like donations to be sent to. One percent of your purchases is sent to the school of your choice. You can even log in and see how much has been sent to your chosen school because of your purchases and the purchases of others who support the same school.

NO DEBT!!!

They don’t list this as a benefit, but really it is. What good is saving 5% if you’re going to pay interest on your purchases because you went into debt for them?

Drawback

Spending More

One drawback that I can see (and they probably hope for) is that you might spend more than you normally would because you know you’re saving money. A little self control can fix this problem. As long as you use it to purchase the items you would have bought anyway at Target (for us, that was diapers and wipes), you will save money. Otherwise, stay away if you have a shopping problem that you can’t control.

An Extra Card to Carry

That extra weight in your purse or wallet could cause some serious health problem. Not to mention the anxiety that is caused by making a purchase at Target and then realizing you forgot to use the REDcard. Then you’ve got to consider the chiropractor and counseling charges. This thing could end up costing you a ton more than you’re saving. (Can you tell that I’m having a hard time coming up with drawbacks?)

Potential Savings: I guess this depends on how much you spend at Target, but essentially 5% of your total purchases and free shipping if you use Target.com. If you have the willpower, take the savings (which prints out on your receipt) and put it in a savings account, towards your debt, or in a 529 for your kids. You would have spent it anyhow, so you might as well redirect it before it gets absorbed somewhere else.

Update 11/24: 5% Off Gift Cards

I’ve recently discovered that you can get 5% off of gift cards that you purchase through Target. They don’t have everything available, but they do have quite a variety. We’ll be saving $140 off of our Disney vacation by purchasing Disney gift cards through Target.com and using them to pay for the trip. That’s some serious savings!