Yesterday I came across an article on MarketWatch talking about how American's are sitting on about $34 billion worth of old cell phones. iPhone's alone account for about $9 billion of that sum. So, what's the deal? Why are so many of us sitting on money we could be saving or using for other purposes?
The answer? According to the article – “one-in-five of those surveyed say they are just ‘too lazy' to sell their old devices. The same number of respondents were worried about jeopardizing their personal data by throwing away or recycling their unused cell phone, while others still don’t realize they can make cash from their old phones.”*
Seriously? I guess I can understand the part about worrying someone will take your personal data – but not knowing you can make cash from them?
This and Charlie's article about saving money by practicing minimalism got me to thinking: How much money am I sitting on. How much are we sitting on that could be turned into cash or making interest?
Just this weekend, we got rid of some old vending machines that had been cluttering the basement. While we didn't get what we wanted for them – we did score some cash AND freed up some space, not to mention a nice kudo from the Mrs! :)
As I'm looking around my office right now – there's tons of things that I don't need anymore and can sell – now! Here's just a sampling:
Old Norman Rockwell Stamps
I picked these bad boys up almost 20 years ago as I was a big fan and was just starting to get into stamp collecting (which was a hobby that didn't last very long). Today, this sheet could fetch probably double its value on eBay.
USB Turntable and Digital Recorder
A few years ago I got into a entrepreneurial streak that included my buying this recorder that could take any vinyl record and turn it into a digital file. I did a couple of jobs and then.. nothing. It was great at the time – but now, it is sitting in the office here under a pile of crap.
Military Payment Certificate
This one is pretty cool – but I'm just not a real collector. I got this from an uncle who served in the Navy. The certificates were issued by the military for men/women as currency while they were serving. I'm not sure they are still using this type of payment – but this 25 cent piece goes for about $10 online.
Abraham Lincoln Framed Photo
I've written about a neat way you can take old photos from the Library of Congress and print them out to decorate your home. I printed several of these and framed them up to spruce up my first home purchase. But when I got married, the Mrs didn't take too kindly to these. I've got several of Lincoln and others who are now collecting dust.
And, I could go on and on. There's books, DVDs, and other boxes full of stuff that I could sell – get rid of. Money – that's sitting around. This is going to be an on-going project for me this year – to keep downsizing and turning crap – into cash. Are you with us?
*By the way – if you are looking to sell off or trade-in your old cell phones – AT&T has a buy-back program you can check into. They also provide instructions on how to delete any old information off your phone, if that is something you are concerned with.