Decluttering & Recycling

Last year I mentioned that I am a minimalist, though I do not subscribe to the 100 item challenge.  However, there is value in disposing of items that are no longer providing any value in your life.  Rather than trashing them, why not recycle them for cash.  Here are a few places that accept gently used and sometimes roughly used items, in an effort to create a more sustainable economy and the planet.  For really old devices, they extract the precious metals to be used in new devices.

Note: Shop around all these sites and programs to get the most money for your product. Also, one site or store may not take it, but another might so keep shopping around. Also, if you are getting store credit make sure it’s at a store you will actually use.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list.  Comment down below if you know of any other places or apps that have worked for you really well.  Some apps work best in the city versus the suburbs.

  1. Amazon.com Trade-In: They will give you Amazon gift card, for Kindle e-readers, tablets, streaming media players, BlueTooth speakers, Amazon Echos, Textbooks, Phones, and video games.
  2. Best Buy: Will buy your iPhones, iPads, Gaming Systems, Laptops, Samsung mobile devices, Microsoft Surface devices, video games, and smartwatches for BestBuy gift cards.
  3. Game Stop (one of my favorites): Will take your video games, Gaming systems, most obscure phones, tablets, iPods, etc. and will give you cash back.
  4. Staples: Smartphones, tablets, and laptops can be sold here for store credit.
  5. Target: Phones, tablets, gaming systems, smartwatches, voice speakers for a target gift card.
  6. Walmart: Phones, tablets, gaming systems, and voice speakers can be cashed in for Walmart gift cards.
  7. Letgo app: A great way to sell almost anything.  Just make sure you meet up in a public place to make the exchange, like a mall or in front of a police station. Your safety is more important than any piece you were willing to part with in the first place.
  8. Facebook.com Marketplace: Another great way to sell almost anything. The same warning is attached here as in Letgo.
  9. Decluttr.com: They pay you back via check, PayPal, or direct deposit.
  10. Gazelle: They will reward you with PayPal, check or Amazon gift cards.
  11. Raise: This is for those gift cards you know you won’t use.  You can sell them for up to 85% of its value, via PayPal, direct deposit, or check.
  12. SecondSpin: This is for those CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays, and you can earn money via store credit, check, or PayPal.
  13. Patagonia: For outdoor gear and it is mostly for store credit.
  14. thredUp: This is for your clothes. Once they are sold via the app you can receive cash or credit.
  15. Plato’s Closet: Shoes, Clothes, and bags can be turned in for cash.  Though they take mostly current trendy items.
  16. Half Price Books: Books, textbooks, audiobooks, music, CDs, LPs, Movies, E-readers, phones, tablets, video games, and gaming systems for cash.
  17. Powells.com: For your books and you can get paid via PayPal or credit in your account.

My advice, I try to sell first to a retailer, because they are going to always be there, it’s their job, it’s safer, you can do it at your own schedule, and you will get what they promise you.  No hassle of no-shows, fear of meeting a stranger, getting further bargained down when you are there and they conveniently forget to bring the full amount, or them arriving way late.

Another piece of advice is to hold on to at least one old phone (usually the latest one), for two reasons: (1) if your current phone breaks, you can use this as an interim phone, (2) international travel, if the phone is unlocked.

Subsequent advice is to make sure you turn off and clear out all our old data from electronic devices.  The last thing you want to do is have your data compromised when doing something positive for the earth.

Also, Look for Consignment shops, local book stores, and ask around. You never know who you may be able to sell stuff to.  At a consignment shop, you deposit your items there, and if they sell, you get a part of the earnings. When all else fails, what you cannot sell, recycle it by donating it to goodwill, habitat for humanity, etc.

Business Intelligence: Targets, Probabilities, & Modeling

  • Target Measures are used to improve marketing efforts through tracking measures like ROI, NVP, Revenue, lead generation, lag generations, growth rates, etc. (Liu, Laguna, Wright, & He, 2014). The goal is that after a marketing effort is conducted, there should be a change in Target Measures. Positive changes in these measures should be repeated.  Hoptroff and Kufyba (2001) stated that these measures could also be defect rates, default rates, survey ranking results, response rates, churn rate, the value of lost to the business, transaction amounts, products purchased, etc.
  • Probability Mining is data mining using Logit Regression, neural networks, linear regression, etc. Using this helps determine the probability of an event, in our case meeting or failing to meet our Target Measures based on information on past events. (Hoptroff & Kufyba, 2001)
  • Econometrics Modeling is a form of understanding the economy through a blend of economic theory with statistical analysis. Essentially, a way of modeling how certain independent variables act or influence the dependent variable using both economic and statistical theory tools to build the model.  Econometrics Modeling looks into the market power a business holds, game theory models, information theory models, etc.  It is rationalized that economic theory nor statistical theory can provide enough knowledge to solve/describe a certain variable/state, thus the blending of both are assumed to be better at solving/describing a certain variable/state (Reiss & Wolak, 2007)

In the end, an econometric models can contains elements of probability mining, but a probability miner doesn’t have to be is not an econometric model.  Each of these models and miners can track and report on target measures.

Econometrics Modeling is a way to understand price and the pricing model, which is central to generating profits through understanding both economic and statistical/probability principles to achieve a targeted measure.   Companies should use big data and a probability miner/econometric modeling to help them understand the meaning behind the data and extract actionable decisions one could make to either meet or exceed a current target measure, compare and contrast against their current competition, understand their current customers.

Two slightly different Applications

  1. Probability mining has been used to see a customer’s affinity and responses towards a new product through profiling current and/or new customers (Hoptroff & Kufyba, 2001). Companies and marketing firms work on these models to assign a probability value of attracting new customers to a new or existing product or service. The results can give indications as to whether or not the company could met the Target Measures.
  2. We have Marketing Strategies Plan A, B, and C, and we want to use econometric modeling to understand how cost effective each marketing strategy plan would be with respect to the same product/product mix at different price points. This would be a cause and effect modeling (Hoptroff, 1992). Thus, the model should help predict which strategy would produce the most revenue, which is one of our main target measures.

An example of using Probability Mining is Amazon’s Online shopping experience. As the consumer adds items to the shopping cart, Amazon in real-time begins to apply probabilistic mining to find out what other items this consumer would purchase (Pophal, 2014) based on what has happened before through the creation of profiles and say “Others who purchased X also bought Y, Z, and A.”  This quote, almost implies that these items are a set and will enhance your overall experience, buy some more.  For instance, buyers of a $600 Orion Telescope also bought this $45 Hydrogen-alpha filter (use to point the telescope towards the sun to see planets move in front of it).

The Federal Reserve Bank and its board members have been using econometric modeling in the past 30 years for forecasting economic conditions and quantitative policy analysis (Brayton. Levin, Tryon., & Williams, 1997).  The model began in 1966 with help of the academic community, Division of Research and Statistics with available technology, which became operational in 1970.  It had approximate 60 behavioral equations, with long-run neoclassical growth model, factor demands, and life-cycle model of consumption.  Brayton et al. in 1997 go on to say that this model was used for primarily the analysis of stabilization of monetary and fiscal policies, as well as other governmental policies effects onto the economy.

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