People aren't buying every new phone that's released anymore. The long lines on release day disappeared. Improvements are not as big as they used to be. But new smartphones are hard for some people to resist, and this is a great time of year to find a bargain.

On Craigslist, last year's iPhone Xs Max can be found for $750, which is about 60% of what it cost this time last year.

If you're selling an older smartphone yourself, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are where you'll get the most for your old phone, but there's lots of competition on these sites. Another option is trading it in to Apple or your carrier. That won't put cash in your pocket but it will knock off hundreds of dollars on the new iPhone.

If you are going to sell it or trade it in for a new phone, make sure you erase everything that's on it. Download all the pictures and delete them. Even if you're trading it in. One man I spoke to said he purchased a used phone from a retailer. When he turned it on, he found the previous owners contact information and hundreds of her photos. Many of them nude. Always save and delete things on your phone, then do a factory reset before you turn it over to the next person.

This is also a great time to pick up a deal on last year's phone. Apple discontinued the Xs iPhones and you can find them for hundreds less than a few months ago.

If you're buying a used phone off Craigslist or Facebook, make sure you meet them at your carrier's store and before you pay for it, walk in and ask the person in the store to check to make sure it isn't stolen or reported lost. They can look at a number in the phone's registry and tell you right away if it will work on the network. This happened to me a few years ago when I was buying an older iPhone for one of my children. I met the seller at my carrier and when the clerk checked the number, they found the phone had been reported stolen.

The seller told me she had no idea and that she'd traded for the phone a few weeks earlier.