May 10, 2024 | Peter Kinney

10 Ways To Save Money With Your Old Phone

Time To Dig Out Your Old Phone

If you’ve got an old smartphone, it’s tempting to get rid of it or stick it in some dark corner of your house to collect dust. But that old phone might not be worthless yet—in fact, it might even save you some money. 

Here are 10 ways to repurpose your old phone and save a few bucks in the process.

save money with your old phone

1. A Wireless Webcam

Nowadays, lots of meetings are conducted remotely with webcams. If you find yourself without a webcam or stuck with a low-quality laptop camera, don't worry—just use your old smartphone. Its built-in camera is better than most budget webcams, so you can save money without sacrificing image quality.

Camera on laptop computerBlazej Lyjak, Shutter stock

Webcam Apps

Turning your phone into a webcam is easy with free apps. Just download a webcam app on both your old mobile and your computer, then connect them together. Once they're linked, you're all set to go. If you want to secure your phone to your monitor, you can get a magnetic mount or tripod, both of which are cheaper than a new webcam.

Phone recording video of talking womenGeorge Milton, Pexels

App Capabilities 

With most webcam apps supporting both 720p and 1080p video, you'll have clear visuals for your meetings. 4K support is limited, but unless you're doing high-end tasks like streaming or sales calls, this probably won't be an issue. So, why not save yourself some cash and turn your old smartphone into a webcam?

smiling woman recording video on smartphoneLiza Summer, Pexels

2. A Universal Smart Remote

In every home, there's a notorious spot where remote controls vanish without a trace. Instead of replacing lost remotes, consider repurposing your old mobile phone as a remote control.

Controlling home heating temperature with phoneRossHelen, Shutterstock

Make Space

Before diving in, clear space on your old phone for media apps and ensure you have your favorites like Netflix and Disney+ ready to go. Once you've prepped your phone, install your preferred streaming apps and any mobile versions of device-specific apps like Apple TV or Roku.

Woman hand holding Smart Phone with Netflix logoNatee Meepian, Shutterstock

Limitless Control 

It'll take a bit of time to download and connect everything, but once linked, you'll have seamless control over your entertainment. Plus, with apps like Google Home or Alexa, you can extend remote control to other smart devices throughout your home, making life a whole lot simpler.

boy holding a phone with amazon alexa opensdx15, Shutterstock

3. A Daschcam

Installing a dashcam is a great way of documenting your drives and collecting evidence in the case of accidents. But the cost of a dashcam can be something that makes people pass on this valuable tool. Luckily, if you have an old smartphone lying around, you can turn it into a budget-friendly alternative.

The phone on a tripod in the carElizaveta Galitckaia, Shutterstock

A World Of Capabilities 

Most dashcam apps can give you features like loop recording and collision detection, providing a solid substitute for a traditional dashcam. Some even have advanced features like 4K video recording and cloud storage.

Car camera for safety on the roadM2020, Shutterstock

Watch Your Battery

Keep in mind that some free dashcam apps might display ads and drain your phone's battery, especially if it's older. To get around the battery drain, just get long charging cable that can plug into your car's power outlet. 

Smartphone on mobile mount, used as navigation devicePatrick Daxenbichler, Shutterstock

4. An Alarm Clock

Whether it's work, school, or appointments, oversleeping isn't an option. If you need an extra alarm clock, just use your old phone.

Crop woman snoozing alarm on smartphoneMiriam Alonso, Pexels

Personalize Your Alarm

Setting up your old phone as an alarm clock is easy. You can either use its built-in clock or download an alarm clock app for customization. Heavy sleepers can get an app that makes them do challenges to silence the alarm, while those preferring a gentler wake-up can opt for apps with soothing nature sounds.

Young female sleeping on bed in morningMiriam Alonso, Pexels

5. An E-Reader

Getting lost in a good book is a fun escape, and an e-reader makes it easy to carry your favorite stories wherever you go. A good e-reader can be pricey, so keep the cash in your wallet and dig out your old smartphone. 

young woman reading a book on a phone screenMcLittle Stock, Shutterstock

More Options 

Start by decluttering your old phone to make space for e-reader apps like Amazon Kindle or Goodreads. The benefit here is that unlike dedicated e-readers, using your old phone allows flexibility across different platforms, enabling access to e-books from multiple sources.

phone with open Kindle app, online reading platform.sdx15, Shutteerstock

Digital Libraries 

Transforming your old smartphone into an e-reader is also a great way to expand your reading options and support your local library. Nowadays, many libraries have apps that give you access to a variety of e-books and audiobooks at no cost.

young woman reading ebook on screenMcLittle Stock, Shutterstock

6. A Security Camera

Home security is a top priority, and using your old smartphone as a security camera is a cost-effective way of keeping an eye on things. With a security camera app, it's easy to set up a live feed. Once you connect both your phones to the app, you can use your new phone to control the feed, while your old phone captures video.   

monitoring modern cctv cameras on smartphoneNew Africa, Shutterstock

The More The Merrier

Installing the chosen security app on all devices is the first step to creating your live feed. Positioning your old phone near a power outlet ensures it stays operational without constant charging. And if you have more than one old phone lying around, you can create a more secure setup with multiple live feeds.

using a smartphone with a Security camera system and network connectionProduction Perig, Shutterstock

7. An MP3 Player

Remember the days when MP3 players were a separate gadget from your phone? Repurposing your old phone as a dedicated MP3 player not only saves your current phone's battery but also opens up more space for music downloads.

Black Headphones Beside Android SmartphoneMihis Alex, Pexels


Start fresh by performing a factory reset on your old phone, then equip it with music streaming apps like Spotify or Apple Music. Subscribers can enjoy offline listening and download their favorite albums. Even if you get the free versions of the apps, you'll still have access to plenty of tunes, just with a few ads and functional limitations.

Woman holding a phone with music service SpotifyDenPhotos, Shutterstock

More Than Music

When you need a break from music, you can explore the variety of podcasts and audiobooks available on streaming services. Just be aware that some audiobooks may require additional payments or have monthly access limits.

Google Podcasts logo mobile app on a mobile screenPrimakov, Shutterstock

8. A Gaming Device

Mobile gaming has exploded in popularity, offering a wide range of titles from classic throwbacks to modern favorites like Pokémon Go. By making your old phone into a gaming device, you can get access to a huge library of games to entertain you on the go.

man playing video game on smartphoneSamer Daboul, Pexels

Games Galore 

With a stable Wi-Fi connection, you can explore popular mobile games on platforms like Google Play and Apple Arcade. Clearing out unnecessary apps creates ample storage space for downloading your favorite games.

Playing games on phone with arcadePryimak Anastasiia, Shutterstock

Play All Your Favorites 

Take your gaming experience further by using services like Xbox Cloud Gaming, PS Remote Play, and Steam Link to play console and PC games on your old phone. Repurposing your old phone is a fun, cost-effective way of extending your gameplay, especially for young gamers who don't need a brand-new device just yet.

Xbox Game Pass on Smarthphone screenMiguel Lagoa, Shutterstock

9. A Livestream To The World

Whether you're working from home or at the office, your desk view might not always be the most captivating. But why settle for a dull scene when you can turn your old phone into a window to the world?

Phone on tripod functions as web cameraParilov, Shutterstock

World-Renowned Views 

Live webcam apps like EarthCam Webcams and EarthCam TV 2 offer access to stunning views from around the globe. They charge a small annual fee, but allow you to enjoy a breathtaking view of Niagara Falls or soak in the energy of Times Square from the comfort of your desk.

Webcams EarthCam mobile app logo on phone screenPostmodern Studio, Shutterstock

Awesome Budget-Friendly Options

If you prefer not to pay for live webcam access, there are still plenty of free options available. For example, you watch animals at the San Diego Zoo through live cams set up in various enclosures. Just make sure your old phone has a reliable wireless connection to make the most of your virtual window experience.

The dog lies on the phoneBystrov, Shutterstock

10. A Digital Photo Frame

Nowadays, our smartphones double as our primary cameras. But why let those memories gather digital dust when you can showcase them by turning your old smartphone into a digital photo frame?

Woman hand using a tablet and watching photosAntonio Guillem, Shutterstock

Sync Up

Start by making sure your desired photos are on your old phone—you can transfer them manually from your PC or via Bluetooth from your current device. You can also sync your old phone with cloud storage to access your photos.

Cloud upload from mobile phone to store dataNicoElNino, Shutterstock

Keep The Family Close

With photo framing apps like Fotoo or Google Photos, you can create albums and set up cool slideshows. In addition to your old smartphone, you can also turn an old tablet into a digital picture frame. It's a great way to add warmth to your workspace or brighten up any dull corner of your home.

Google photos application on android smartphonedennizn, Shutterstock


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