Like many of you, I think that Microsoft is pricing its new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets too highly. But like many of you, I also have an easy way to lower that cost: I can trade in an iPad or iPhone and get $200 or more in store credit at a Microsoft Store. Now we're talking.

Your best bet, of course, is to use the oldest possible qualifying i-Device. That's because the "$200 and up" offer is really "$200, plus a very little bit more if you have a much newer device." So let's just call it $200 and see what an old i-Device can do for you.

To be clear, the original offer applied only to iPads, but a more recent Corporate Buyback Program offer added iPhones and other devices as well. These offers are a bit different.

The former is available through Microsoft Store, and you will get a $200 (or higher) gift card to that store. Qualifying devices include iPad 2, 3, or 4. The best deal is to be had on the iPad 2.

The latter deal will net you a VISA gift card which you could of course use anywhere. And it applies to a wide range of phones and tablets, including the iPhone (all versions). Looking through their online rebate quote tool, a base iPhone 4S is worth $160. A gen-1 Google Nexus 7 tablet with 32 GB of storage is worth $70.

It's time to return some old electronics and upgrade on the cheap.

Assuming you could get $200 for one or more of your old devices, the effective cost of a 32 GB Surface 2 is now a far more reasonable $249. A 64 GB version—I mean, you may as well splurge, right?—is just $349.

Move up to the Surface Pro 2 and these devices start to make financial sense as well. The base 64 GB version is now $699 and the 128 GB version is $799. OK, maybe I need to find a few more old i-Devices to trade in.

If you're going to do this, you need to act fast, at least for the Microsoft Store offer: It runs from September 5, 2013 until October 27, 2013. No word on whether the Corporate Buyback Program expires, and if so, when.

Note: And no, you can't trade in a first-gen Surface RT through the latter offer.