Last week's column featured estate sales as a way to shore up some new savings, but the modern world's used electronics can sometimes bring a goodly amount, too. (And, yes, you can donate last week's treasures and this week's items for a fair market price as deductions for the calendar year's income tax.)
Let's see what and where to make some money.
• Cell phones: Go to www.greenphone.com and answer some questions about your cell's quality to obtain a price quote. The site also allows you to print a prepaid shipping label and, even better, for each phone it buys, Green Phone not only recycles but also plants a tree after it pays you by check, Paypal or Obopay.
• Digital cameras: Whether to buy for recycling or selling for parts, www.buymytronics.com is a winner. The site displays a price quote and then sends a prepaid shipping label or box, depending upon your camera's size and/or weight. You're paid with either Paypal or by check.
• Movies/musics: www.abundatrade.com refurbishes and recirculates used DVD and CD discs. Once you enter each UPC code,
the site offers a price quote; then you swap for cash, gift cards, new iPods or bigger-ticket "featured trades."
• Gaming systems: Two of my grandsons will be delighted to learn about www.sellvideogames.com. Once you accept the site's price quote, you print a prepaid shipping label from the confirmation page. Payment is in the form of a check or by Paypal.
• Laptops: To refurbish for resale, www.cashyourlaptop.com buys your used laptops. The site will send you a prepaid shipping label, packaging, and a UPS tracking number. Once it's done all the work for you, it'll then offer check or Paypal as the payment mode.
• MP3 players: At www.yourenew.com, you'll be paid via Paypal or check for your music player if you accept the site's price quote. (It overhauls and resells used electronics.)
• All electronics: Enter the brand, model and condition of your old and working gadgets to www.gazelle.com and the site makes you an offer. You'll be paid via PayPal, check or gift card. If you prefer, the site will donate your money to one of 50 charities.
Tax Tip: For 2011 only, the 6.2 percent tax rate for the employee portion of the Social Security tax will fall to 4.2 percent, a tax savings of up to $2,136 per filer.