The Meaning of Values: Resale versus Retail

Retail = The cost of what it is on the shelf in stores today. This is also what I consider as “Replacement Value”.

Resale = The amount of money you can get if you sell it today

The difference between the two can be staggering.

Yes, this seems like a silly common sense post, but I think it’s always good to bring up the point again about the different types of ‘value’ and ‘cost’ from different perspectives (buyer and seller) and from different views.

I posted a while back about my carrying ~$300 – $1000 worth of items in my wallet on any given day.

I asked about the worth of the items, and the question that cropped up the most was: retail/replacement or resale value, FB?

I was thinking replacement value at the time, but I thought it’d be fun to redo it again.

Here’s the rough list of what I carry as of today:

  • Leather Wallet
  • All Cards (Credit, Bank, Rewards, Personal)
  • Lip Balm
  • Cellphone
  • GPS
  • iPod + Headphones
  • 3 USB keys (with password protection software & at least 16GB for my documents)
  • Pen + Paper
  • Miscellaneous Bag (Tide-to-Go pen, Mints, Inhaler, Earplugs, Blister Block, Bandaids)


  • $55 Leather Wallet
  • $50 All Cards — Replacement value here to “buy” them back.
  • $9 Lip Balm
  • $150 Cellphone
  • $350 GPS
  • $300 iPod + Headphones
  • $200 USB keys x 3
  • $3 Pen + Paper
  • $159 Miscellaneous Bag — Inhalers are not cheap.

TOTAL: $1276


  • $25 Leather Wallet
  • $50 All Cards — Replacement value here, as we can’t technically sell them unless we want our identity stolen.
  • $0 Lip Balm — Who wants to buy used lip balm? Eww.
  • $20 Cellphone — This thing is so old and used I’d be surprised to be able to sell it
  • $100 GPS — GPS’ are going for $100 now..
  • $150 iPod + Headphones — Used iPod
  • $90 — 3 USB keys used? Probably $30 at best, even at 16GB
  • $1 Pen + Paper — Again, who’d buy a pen and paper?
  • $10 Miscellaneous Bag — Used inhaler, some bandaids and earplugs? C’mon now.

TOTAL: $446

DIFFERENCE: -$830 or a loss of 65%


Things will never sell for what you paid for them

If you paid $350 in the store for your GPS, expect to take it out of the box, use it for a month, and be able to sell it for $300, with every month of use lowering its value bit by bit.

The newer things are, the better they will sell, no matter how good of a condition they’re in.

So the next time you want to fork over $300 for a cute trendy blouse, think about what will happen if you have to resell it to make back some cash.

You will very rarely recoup the price paid, much less make a profit on it.

If you aren’t squeamish about used goods, you can get some good deals

The biggest money saver is your car. If you buy one 3-5 years old, you will be getting the most bang for your buck with the correlation between how used it is and how much you will eventually pay for it.

Another one is electronics, but I tend to be more wary about used electronics — you never know how gentle or good the person has been with them, or how close they are to dying on you. I wouldn’t buy a used gadget unless I didn’t really care about perfection, the price is great and I just want something that covers my basic needs.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.