Turning your old tech into cash
If your junk drawer or cupboards are filled with old tech, you may just be able to turn that tech-trash into some cash.
Marc Saltzman, tech expert and the host of 580 CFRA’s Tech Talk, joins us regularly on CTV Ottawa’s News at Noon to keep us up-to-date on 'the updates.'
I asked Marc about if he could tell us about potential "tech treasures" stuffed into our closets and attics.
"There are some rare items that can get you a lot of money but it’s not even just tech, anything you have in your home at spring cleaning season, could be valuable to somebody," says Saltzman.
"Not only are you decluttering in your home, which feels very refreshing, but you’re also putting some cash back in your pocket."
Saltzman explains the free on-line classified sites like Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor, and eBay make selling easy.
Know what you are selling and present it well, advises Saltzman.
While a lot of the older technology is just that, old, out-of-date tech, there are some absolute finds.
If you happen to be a forgetful shopper. If you bought some video games a few decades ago, tucked them away and forgot to gift them, you may be in a position to receive a payout, or payday, from a collector.
"If you still have it, and it’s unopened, or at least in mint condition, we’ve seen some (games), I think the record last year was $1.56 million US, for an unopened copy of Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 game for the Nintendo N64 platform, from the mid-90s. That got a record at an auction."
While that is, of course, a rare find, other games can still hold their value and fetch a nice little profit decades later, as well.
"If you have unopened or mint-condition games or game consoles – like Atari, ColecoVision, Intellivision or Sega -- anything like that from the 80s or 90s, wow, go online, places like eBay they’ll give you a rough sense of what you could expect," explains Saltzman.
“And, as you likely know, eBay lets people bid. It is not a one-time purchase where you likely set your price. People can bid on it."
An unopened, original iPod may also be worth a 'pretty iPenny'.
Maybe you bought one as a gift for a girlfriend and that relationship fizzled before you presented it 20 years ago.
If it has been in the dresser drawer all this time, you may feel a bit better about getting dumped way back.
"The original iPod classic--one of them went for $90,000 US. The U2 edition, I think. It was unopened," says Saltzman.
When I told Marc that my nephew got really excited that my Dad hung onto the old Commodore 64, I asked if that basement find had more than nostalgic value, he said, "Maybe, depending on its condition."
Old vintage computers - the VIC- 20, the Commodore 64, the original Apple, or Apple IIe - can also get you some cash but don’t expect tens of thousands, says Saltzman.
"But it could be worth a couple of grand, which is still nice but that’s probably what you paid for it in the 80s anyway," chuckles Saltzman
"Definitely, if it’s in good condition working condition, there are collectors out there who will pay for old tech, including personal computers."
While it doesn’t count as tech, old turntables do put a glint in the eyes of the 20-somethings. Do they hold value?
Saltzman says not really.
"Unless it was a rare one, vintage turntable or something really old that’s in great condition but the vinyl may hold value."
Here’s an example that will have you shake, rattle and rolling all the way to the bank.
"I think it was an Elvis Presley album that went for $300,000 US. It was ‘My Happiness’. That was the name of it."
You can say happiness again if you were the seller of this one-off pressing album.
"It was open but it was in mint condition. So yes, if you have old vinyl and it’s not scratched, there are places you can go online that will give you a rough idea of what it goes for among collectors," Saltzman advises.
TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR OLD TECH
Here are some tips to test selling your old tech that extend to any type of sale.
"It could be clothing, it could be home decor items, anything that you want to get rid of, let’s face it — inflation is affecting everyone, for groceries, and also gas prices!" says the cost-conscious tech writer.
Saltzman sees the value in selling what you don’t need and says these tips will help you make money to spend on what you do need, like groceries and gas.
TOP TIPS TO SELLING YOUR STUFF ONLINE
- Pick some things to sell, take good photos
- Have a catchy headline, write descriptions
- Find the pricing “sweet spot”
- Post to nearby cities/suburbs
- Meet in public place during the day
"Take good photos and write a good description of the items that you have in your home that you want to sell."
"Have a catchy headline. People often just scroll through the categories they’re interested in. Make sure something stands out maybe in bold letters. Put “great price” or “brand new” or “unopened”-- anything that can catch the eye," said Saltzman.
"Find the sweet spot when pricing. Put it a little higher than you’re willing to let it go for because people will want to negotiate on these platforms. You don’t want to have sellers’ remorse where you feel I should’ve sold it for more-- but don’t price it too high that it’s going to scare somebody off. Expect people to try to bargain with you."
“Not only can you post to your exact city, like Ottawa but you can post to suburbs like Kanata or Nepean, or you can go to Gatineau. That way you’re expanding without having to drive too far to meet with them.”
“Finally, if I mentioned if you are going to meet somebody in person, do it at a coffee shop or in front of a fast food restaurant. Resist going into someone’s home. You don’t want to invite any trouble. Make sure you do it during the day.”
And always remember when selling old tech, ensure your private data has been deleted.
KEEP OLD TECH OUT OF THE LANDFILL
Saltzman says if you can’t sell it or you can’t gift it or hand it down to someone who can use it, make sure you keep your tech from ending up in landfill.
"All you have to do go to www.recyclemyelectronics.ca and type in your postal code or your address," says Saltzman.
There are many drop-off locations - big bins often inside of a big box store or outside of a school or a community centre, office building.
"It’s free for you to take your old tech, your ‘end-of-life electronics’ and drop it off. It will be properly dismantled and shredded.
"Even If you forgot to remove information off an old hard drive from an old desktop tower or a broken iPad or something, it will be completely shredded. Then those precious materials are going to go into all new products."
Saltzman says you can feel great knowing those components containing gold and palladium will be properly used and kept out of landfill.
Marc Saltzman’s Tech Talk is on 580 CFRA on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. and Sundays at 1:00 p.m.