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Upgrade to the iPhone 5 for less

With its blazing-fast A6 processor, gorgeous 4-inch screen and 4G LTE capability, the iPhone 5 is a hard-to-resist upgrade for the instant gratification crowd.

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If you’re an iPhone 4S owner in the middle of a two-year contract, you probably fall into one of two camps.

Camp 1: You’ll happily upgrade to iOS 6 and use the 4S for a while longer until you’re eligible to receive the $199 upgrade pricing on the iPhone 5.

Camp 2: You’ve pre-ordered the iPhone 5 and are selling your 4S to cover the cost.

The second strategy isn’t as financially reckless as it sounds, as long as you can get top dollar for your 4S.

The first step is to use this handy tool to determine your upgrade eligibility. If you aren’t eligible for upgrade pricing, you’ll have to pay the full $649 price for the 16GB iPhone 5.

But if you can sell your 4S for $400-$450, paying $200-$250 out of pocket may be worth it for owning a new iPhone 5 sooner. That’s a big “if” though.

When the iPhone 5 was officially unveiled earlier this week, prices for the iPhone 4S at popular online buying sites such as Gazelle and NextWorth dropped down to the $200-$275 range.

To receive top dollar, you’ll need to sell it to a private buyer through Craigslist or eBay. Use a site like WorthMonkey to see how much you can expect to make.

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