Author Topic: Help! Phone is trashed, 10 months until upgrade --> best Mustachian decision?  (Read 5870 times)

casadlo

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Right now my wife and I each have an iPhone 5S on Verizon's network.  Hers is covered by her company and she also gets a discount so we pay about $80 a month total which includes 4GB data and tethering.  We're 10 months away from our 2-year contract renewal and a reasonably priced upgrade phone.  Right now to upgrade would be full retail price of $650. 

Problem:  My wife dropped her phone months ago, shattered the screen, and has been limping along with it ever since. It really started to hit a wall so we spent $60 on a replacement LCD off Amazon. The swap worked great for a couple days but then acted up, wife dropped it again, and now that's shattered too.  She needs a new one, and FAST. 

Option 1: Pay the full $650. Yuck. Upfront cost $650. Ongoing savings: $0

Option 2: Get a used iPhone.  The 5S runs about $340 on glyde.com and reasonable looking ebay ads.  A 4S is $140. Upfront cost $140-340. Ongoing savings: $0

Option 3: Give my wife my iPhone to activate on her number ($0), I get a Moto X on Republic wireless $25 plan ($150).  Net upfront cost = $150, ongoing savings of 80-25 =$55/month. PROBLEM: I HAVE to have tethering. I have a long train commute and would be crippled without it.  Looks like a FreedomPop on top of this would increase my one time cost by $40, and cost $29/month.  Net: $190 upfront, monthly saving of 55-29=$26/month.  HOWEVER, it looks like Verizon has a killer $350 early termination fee. That would take ~13.5 months to pay for itself. But then at least I would be free of shitty long term contracts and expensive plans! Upfront cost: $190.  Ongoing savings: $26/month after ~13.5 months.

Option 4: Give my wife my iPhone to activate on her number ($0), I go with a Ting iPhone 4S refurb for $166 that I'll probably pay about $64/month because of ~3GB data usage.  Same Verizon fee to deal with.  Upfront cost: $166, ongoing savings $16/month after ~22 months. 

It seems like option 3 is the best deal, but I'm leaning a bit towards option 4. My wife is super picky about wanting a recent model iPhone so giving her my 5S will solve that problem, and I'm not married to iPhones but eliminating the learning curve of a new phone would be nice (and not an option with Republic Wireless).  Also with option 4 I can tether with the phone, eliminating the need for two devices, which is more convenient.

What say you, Mustachians?!?

Jags4186

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alsoknownasDean

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I reckon either option 4 or 2 :)

Give her your 5S and decide what you want to use until the contracts are over, then change to Ting.

Goldielocks

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Don't forget to buy an otter box case!

casadlo

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Update: It looks like the ETF goes down per month of use and would be $220 now, not $350.  And, Ting covers 25% of that as an incentive to switch.  So, option 4 is looking even better.  Upfront cost: $166, ongoing savings $16/month after ~10 months.

Syonyk

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Don't forget to buy an otter box case!

I love my Otterbox Defenders. Robust, saves phones from nearly everything.

seattlecyclone

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How much mobile data do you really need on your train commute? FreedomPop is free for the first 1 GB per month (provided you add at least 10 people as "friends" from this or other lists). Avoid streaming audio/video while commuting and you should have little trouble staying under this limit and not paying them $29/month if you go with option 3.

marty998

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Learning to do without may be an eye opening experience for her?

My parents always told me that if something broke it, that was it. Learn to take care of your things.

As for you and needing a phone for your long commute else being crippled....read a book instead?

:)

Sorry for the troll, but life can go on without an iphone (or any phone for that matter).

If you really have no other choice but your 4 options, go with (2). Or ask your wife to pay for (1). If it hurts the hip pocket,maybe she will be more careful in future?


Hey It's Me

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Dude, that 3GB/month just blew my mind...

Stash Engineer

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Learning to do without may be an eye opening experience for her?

My parents always told me that if something broke it, that was it. Learn to take care of your things.

As for you and needing a phone for your long commute else being crippled....read a book instead?

:)

Sorry for the troll, but life can go on without an iphone (or any phone for that matter).

If you really have no other choice but your 4 options, go with (2). Or ask your wife to pay for (1). If it hurts the hip pocket,maybe she will be more careful in future?

This was my first thought as well.

casadlo

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Hey people, take it easy. 

Re: wife dropping phone. It slid out of a coat pocket just days after buying it.  Yes life can be lived without a phone, but with no land line and a 12 month old daughter, it's nice to have around.  Her company also blocks personal email at work so it's nice for her to have some version of smart phone to check at lunch time.  We are married and all our money is in the same pot, so having "her" buy it to feel the pain more or something doesn't make any sense or any difference.

Re: 3GB.  I don't stream anything, and I work for my hour long commute each day, so it is not leisure time (unless you count this post).  Mostly it's because I sync everything through dropbox and google drive between my laptop and desktop. If I forget to sync before I head to the train, that syncing happens on the train over my tether when I open my laptop.  Yes I could be better at remembering, but I choose to take a train that allows me to get home in time to see my baby before she goes to bed, which means that it's still during working hours for most colleagues.  I could probably keep it under 2GB, but under 1 would be tough.

2Birds1Stone

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Get a 4s

rocksinmyhead

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Re: wife dropping phone. It slid out of a coat pocket just days after buying it.  Yes life can be lived without a phone, but with no land line and a 12 month old daughter, it's nice to have around.  Her company also blocks personal email at work so it's nice for her to have some version of smart phone to check at lunch time.  We are married and all our money is in the same pot, so having "her" buy it to feel the pain more or something doesn't make any sense or any difference.

right but there's a vast gulf of cheap phones in between "NO SMARTPHONE" and "MUST HAVE LATE-MODEL IPHONE." hey, this is the home of the facepunch, we do it 'cause we love you :) no way am I going back to life without a smartphone unless I'm, like, starving, but at the same time I can't help but mock iPhone devotees... $650 for a phone, are you fucking kidding me?! I bought a laptop for my boyfriend that cost less than that! I have a Windows phone that was $60 off-contract, maybe the same exact phone wouldn't work for you (I'm on TMobile not Verizon), but I would look for something like that.

personally I tend to drop my phone a lot unless I have some kind of grippy rubber case on it, might be something to look into.

I'm not going to heckle you about the tethering and data use, I am blessed with an extremely short commute and pity those who aren't... so that sounds legit to me
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 07:15:44 AM by rocksinmyhead »

casadlo

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Understood, rocksinmyhead.  It is the home of the face punch and that's why I came here.  Option 1 was never really an actual option, we would never pay retail like that!

James

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In what way is her current phone ruined? If the screen is shattered seems like best plan would be to fix it.

My wife and I use iphones, and if you really like it and use the communication between the two of you a lot, then I would stick with iphone for yourself. The upfront cost isn't a huge difference, and staying in the same ecosystem makes sense to me. As long as it isn't the latest and greatest they aren't a bad deal, just purchase used like you said.

Not sure what the overall best option is for you, best of luck sorting it out, and make sure you always keep cases on smart phones. My son purchased a new iphone with his own money, and shattered the screen the first week at school. He kept it "safe" in his locker instead of carrying it around, and then forgot about it and it dropped when he picked up his stuff. It really sucks to shatter those screens, and most any case provides enough protection for 95% of drops.

mwulff

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Where I live there are 5-10 shops that will replace an iPhone 5S screen for a reasonable fee. Why not just have the screen replaced?

Ccube19

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Any chance of work kicking in any money? Also get her a case designed to handle drops.

MicroRN

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Especially with a toddler, definitely get an otter box or a hardened phone.  I have a Casio Commando, and this thing is amazing.  I've dropped it on pavement with zero damage.  Plus, it's waterproof so when your kid chews on it or drops it into the toilet, or she drops it into a puddle (all happened so far), it's perfectly fine.  My old one did break, but it took getting run over by a car.   

James

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Gave it some more thought...

My guess is she will want the 6s in 10 months. My suggestion would be to get the cheapest iphone you can to last you the 10 months, or fix the one she has. Then when she upgrades will have the 5s back, and she can upgrade to the 6s. You will have the third phone as backup. You won't be under contract at that time so you can switch without penalty and start saving money that way. (I assume work covers the upgrade, if not the 6s upgrade would be a bigger issue)

I will add a strong caveat that this isn't a mustachian plan. It does sound like you can save more money using other methods. But given that work covers her costs (more about this below) and you need that much data, keeping it simple and staying with Verizon might be best. I don't know what you other savings/spending is, but I assume you are past the pants-on-fire debt and are building up good investments. If you have debt then my suggestion might be different. But I have worked with multiple cell phone plans in the past, and it is an added headache. Having one provider with the two phones might be worth the $16 per month, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were hidden costs that bring them even closer based on your needs. Only you can determine the value of the money and the time/hassle. I think the mustachian thing would be to go with the cheaper plan, but just saying I can see a benefit to sticking with Verizon at $16/mo, it isn't the same savings others would see switching from a major carrier.

If she is willing, she could check with work to see if they will provide a standard payment for her cell phone access rather than basing it on direct service costs. That way you could find cheaper coverage that would keep you both connected for less than they are spending now. I doubt they will agree to this, but worth asking.

And definitely looking into other ways of structuring her package that might work out better financially. You could possibly get a data connection device added to her plan pretty cheap that would allow you to use her data while traveling. Then you could just have a separate smart phone with voice only sim card dirt cheap, and use the wifi from the data device for data on your laptop and smartphone.

casadlo

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Thank you for all the thoughtful comments!  I think we're going with option 2 and she's getting a used iPhone 4S for now, sticking with the same family plan subsidized through work. When that is over, I think we'll both bail and go for a Ting type solution.  The policy in her company is pretty inflexible and won't cover a hotspot (she walks 10 mins to work and doesn't travel), and doesn't cover any part of family plan usage that's not hers. 

DagobertDuck

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And spend $2 on ebay to get a silicone / TPU cover to protect the 4S.

Goldielocks

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Hey people, take it easy. 

Re: wife dropping phone. It slid out of a coat pocket just days after buying it.  Yes life can be lived without a phone, but with no land line and a 12 month old daughter, it's nice to have around.  Her company also blocks personal email at work so it's nice for her to have some version of smart phone to check at lunch time.  We are married and all our money is in the same pot, so having "her" buy it to feel the pain more or something doesn't make any sense or any difference.

Re: 3GB.  I don't stream anything, and I work for my hour long commute each day, so it is not leisure time (unless you count this post).  Mostly it's because I sync everything through dropbox and google drive between my laptop and desktop. If I forget to sync before I head to the train, that syncing happens on the train over my tether when I open my laptop.  Yes I could be better at remembering, but I choose to take a train that allows me to get home in time to see my baby before she goes to bed, which means that it's still during working hours for most colleagues.  I could probably keep it under 2GB, but under 1 would be tough.

Ask work to pay for your linking then. I assume you are salaried, and this train commute effort is after hours and you do not get compensated?