Sell electronics – it’s cash for nowt, says Paul Lewis

Personal finance expert Paul Lewis

With money tight for many of us, now is a good time to sell electronics and electrical gear that you no longer need, says personal finance expert Paul Lewis.

Had a tough coronavirus? Millions have. Need extra cash? You could be hoarding £620 worth of electricals and electronics in drawers and boxes. So why not sell those gadgets? Phones, laptops, tablets, curling tongs, power tools, that you once saw as cutting-edge tech – they were – now condemned to the dusty drawer at the bottom of your bed. 

Why you should sell your unwanted electronics

You can get cash for those electricals! That smartphone, laptop, or tablet may have been superseded but you can still sell them. It doesn’t need to be a hassle. 

Briefly, here’s how to sell old electronics:

  1. Check it works and that you have a charger. 
  2. Destroy your data – back it up, do a factory reset, remove cards sims etc. See more on deleting your data.
  3. Check out eBay or Gumtree (there are others, but these seem to be the most popular and trusted) and put your electronics up for sale. Avoid websites that offer you cash if you send your item in a padded envelope. You may not get what was promised. But it is easier to do it this way if you are happy taking the risk. Or, if you’re replacing a product, some retailers buy back your old one.

Whatever cash you get for this old tech will not be taxed, and it will not affect any welfare benefits you get. It is literally free money (apart from a bit of work). 

Donate your old electricals

You might not want or need cash for your old electronics. If so, why not donate unwanted gadgets to someone who needs them? A laptop to a local school perhaps? Other electricals like your old vacuum cleaner or hairdryer can go to a local charity shop that takes electricals. Or alternatively you can recycle them.

Before getting on to recycling here are some other tips to boost your finances in a time of coronavirus.

“The average home has five cables and the copper in them could save kilograms of rock being mined with all the damage to the Earth and the diesel that is used to dig it out, extract it, and ship it across the world.”

Finance boost

Get what’s yours

If you have lost your job make sure you claim back overpaid tax. And check your redundancy rights – if you’ve worked there at least two years you will get redundancy pay. If the firm has gone bust the Government will pay it. Also make sure you get the benefits and other help you are entitled to like Universal Credit or a council tax reduction. Remember, you have paid for these as a taxpayer in the past. There may even be charities that will help you. Check it out using the free, anonymous, calculator at

Cut spending

Start budgeting now. Get out your statements or log in to online banking and go through each line ruthlessly. Make sure you know what every payment is. Chances are there will be some you have forgotten about. You can stop any regular payment by telling your bank or credit card provider to stop it. They must obey your instruction. Look at the rest. Mark them necessary or nice. 

Boost income

Perhaps turn a hobby into income. If you have them, look at your savings. This could be the emergency you have put them aside for. 

Anyone born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 has got a little pot of money with their name on it from the government. If you are 18 you can get hold of it – the average worth £1000. Do it for free, through

Deal with debts

If you are going to miss a payment talk to the lender – they have all been told to be sympathetic and helpful. There are schemes to freeze payments worth checking out. If your total debt is really bad seek help from one of the debt charities or Don’t search online for help – at best you will find firms that charge you; at worst you will find people trying to cheat you. 

Recycle your electricals

For all the other electronics and electricals that you can’t sell or that don’t work and cannot be repaired – they can be recycled – disassembled into their precious components. Shavers, remotes, blenders, toothbrushes, irons, power tools. Anything with a plug, battery, or cable can be recycled. 

And talking of cables there is copper in them. It takes 142 tons of rock to get one kilogram of copper. The average home has five cables and the copper in them could save kilograms of rock being mined with all the damage to the Earth and the diesel that is used to dig it out, extract it, and ship it across the world. Recycle those cables! 

If your smartphone doesn’t work and can’t be repaired then recycle it. There is as much gold in two or three iPhones as in a tonne of gold ore. There is also silver, palladium, and platinum – not to mention yttrium, lanthanum, terbium, neodymium, gadolinium and praseodymium! No, I’d never heard of most of those either, but they are all very costly and damaging to mine. Recycling helps the environment and the economy.

From now on put all your electricals to recycle in a bag. When it is full, see if your local council does a doorstep collection on bin day. Some do. Many supermarkets will also take batteries (always recycle those separately) and may take lightbulbs. From January, when you buy a new electrical item, retailers must take back the old one it replaces at no cost. Otherwise make a date with your local council’s recycling and reuse centre. More information on where to find your recycling point can be found by using the recycling locator.

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