Old iPhone? 7 Ways to Make It Pay for Itself

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- iPhones come and go, but the old ones don't need to go very far to still be useful -- or to net owners a few hundred extra dollars.

With the latest versions arriving Sept. 20, Apple ( AAPL) aims to expand its iPhone user base while keeping its existing one. The lower-priced iPhone 5C should appeal to tighter budgets, while the more-advanced iPhone 5S will lure existing users to upgrade because of features like the 64-bit chip, fingerprint reader and better camera. Or they just might want to have a gold iPhone.

If you're upgrading, you might as well milk your older-generation iPhone for all it's worth. And for some iPhone owners, you can get paid to upgrade. Or you can save money by turning an old iPhone into a household appliance.

Sure, you can give your old iPhone to your kid, as many do, or recycle it at the local electronics recycling canister. But new iPhones don't come cheap -- even the "budget"16 GB iPhone 5C is $99 plus contract -- so make your old one pay for itself.

1. Trade it to Apple for credit on a new iPhone.

Apple knows that iPhones are ubiquitous and that nearly anyone who wants one has one. So, to tempt existing users to upgrade, Apple now exchanges old iPhones for credit toward new ones -- some news outlets report as much as a $279 credit on a new iPhone with contract.

Apple won't offer specifics, but did respond with this statement:

"iPhones hold great value. So, Apple Retail Stores are launching a new program to assist customers who wish to bring in their previous-generation iPhone for reuse or recycling. In addition to helping support the environment, customers will be able to receive a credit for their returned phone that they can use toward the purchase of a new iPhone." To get an idea how much your old iPhone is worth, you must visit an Apple store.

2. Sell it for cash or store credit.

Electronic recycling programs aren't in business (for the most part) out of the goodness of their hearts. It's all about money -- for them and the iPhone user. Over at Amazon ( AMZN), a 16 GB white iPhone 5 in great shape can net you a $300 gift card. Amazon, in turn, has a company reselling a similar refurbished iPhone for $530. Of course, you likely purchased the phone less than a year ago for $649, or around $199 with a contract.

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