June 27, 2012

Free Money

Okay, so nothing in life is truly “free”. But lately we’ve had a couple of nice unexpected surprises that meant a few extra dollars we weren’t anticipating!

The first is my old phone. A few months ago I got my first ever smart phone. My last phone was a midrange phone, I guess? Prior to my last phone, I have always selected the free (technically subsidized) phone when I renewed my cellular contract. You can bet if it’s free with a two year renewal, it’s not worth anything by the time the contract is up for renewal again! Last time I renewed my contract I thought having the ability to use the mobile web would be useful because of all the conference traveling I was anticipating. At the time, one could subscribe to the mobile web on a per month basis even if they had a two year contract. I planned to only subscribe during travel times. What I didn’t anticipate was my cell phone company changing the terms of the contracts a few months after I purchased the phone, so once the mobile web was activated, it would have to stay on for the rest of the contract! I was so mad, I never turned it on.

I went a year beyond my contract expiration date before getting a smart phone. The phone, which was the cheapest phone with mobile web at the time of purchase, was now three years old. It was still actually worth something! My cell phone company offered a gift card (which of course I have to spend at their store) in exchange for the old phone. The gift card will, however, cover the cost of a cell phone charger for my cell phone that I was going to get anyway. Sweet!

Then there were the books. Oh man, did we have a lot of books. We made a giant pile of books to get rid of, out dated technical references, old travel guides to places we will never visit again. We thought they were worthless. In fact, we thought we would have to pay to have them recycled. (I hate to thought of anything still usable or recyclable sitting in a dump somewhere!)

I took a few books to the local half price book store., not sure what to expect. I had read they wouldn’t take books they couldn’t sell, which makes perfect sense. But I was wrong. They took everything – even said they would recycle some they were sure they couldn’t sell! I made $42 dollars in three trips. It covered the cost of the smog check I needed for my car. Yippee!

The nice guy behind the counter at Half Priced Books told me the ones they typically offer the most for are the current year’s best sellers. Last year’s best sellers are not as good, because everyone who wants to read it usually already has a copy. Some out of print books are in demand, but don’t count on those. Since I’m a bit of a hoarder, I tend to keep my books well beyond their lifetime. I don’t remember how many I brought in, but I’m sure it was at least 45-50 books.

We were going to get rid of the old cell phone and used books anyway, so it was really nice to get something for them!

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