Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cell Phones

Pictured above are two cells phone, which we purchased in December of 2009. At the time, I was using a cell phone my ex-husband had given to me for my birthday a few years ago. He paid the bill every month so that he could have contact with our daughter at the time because it was a long distance charge for us to call him from our landline. 

That month, for reasons which would be another blog post, the phone was turned off, so we went to Verizon and opened our own account and bought these two cell phones. The blue one was mine, and the red one belonged to my daughter, which was her Christmas present that year.

As a substitute teacher I depend on my cell phone for work.  So many times I have been out of the house and received a call to sub that I know, without a cell phone, I would be missing valuable opportunities for work. 

Last month, my blue cell phone started turning itself off, not very often, but enough to the point where I was afraid to depend on it for work anymore. One morning, which is a crucial time for subs to receive jobs, it acted up while I was texting a teacher to the point that I knew I couldn't trust it anymore. The phone, while still good for for personal use, was simply not good enough for work. 

So, last month I went and spoke with the salespeople at Verizon. A new battery would cost me $39.95 and may or may not solve the problem. A new phone, after a $50 rebate, would cost me $49.95. This to me was a no brainer. I had to be able to depend on my phone for work, and I didn't want to buy a new battery and still have the phone not working and have to shell out more money for a new phone anyway. 

So basically for about ten extra dollars I could get a new phone. So, I bought a new cell phone and paid $109.74 for it, but received a $50 rebate, so the phone ended up costing me $59.74 (We pay 9.75% in sales tax here, so approximately 10¢ on the dollar). 

After I bought my new cell phone, I put my old blue one in the junk drawer and had been thinking about what to do with it for the last month. We had always done our best to support our schools with boxtops, fundraisers, Campbell soup labels, printer cartridges, and they can even receive money for old cell phones. I saw an ad for the local recycling place, which stated they bought old cell phones, and I even called and was told they would give me $1.00 for the phone. 

Last weekend, my daughter had an drink on her nightstand, which spilled and just barely got her red cellphone wet. We dried it off and put it in rice, but in the end, despite our best efforts, her cell phone was dead. I had just finished shelling out money for a new phone for myself, and the thought of buying another phone was more than my budget could take right now. 

My daughter really wanted to get her cell phone replaced, she is a teenager and cell phones and texting are a big part of their lives. I told her that even though she had been responsible with her cell phone for over two years with no accidents, since this was her fault, she would have to bear the burden of paying for half of a new phone and I would pay the other half for her. 

Last night I was sitting here thinking about her phone when an idea struck me and I called Verizon to ask them about having her phone number changed over to my old phone. The store assistant said it was easy to do and could be done from my home in just a few minutes. I took my old phone and had hers switched over to it within minutes of our phone conversation. 

That cell phone, which was untrustworthy for my work, was still perfect for a teenager! I called her out of her bedroom to surprise her and she was overwhelmed with joy. 

I honestly had no idea getting her a "new" phone would be so easy. She had been saving her money towards the new phone and had already set aside $34 for it. When I think back now about giving our old cell phones to the school, or (gasp!) selling them for $1.00, I realize how short sided that would have been. 

I'm so glad I've always saved our old cell phones because some times accidents do happen and they end up costing us money. In this case, I feel like I've saved ourselves $109.74 and that is worth a lot more to me than a donation to school or $1.00 from the recycling center. 

So, the morale to this story is save those old cell phones as you never know when you might need them again someday. That is my money saving story for the day and how we are "making do" with our phones. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading our story. :)

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without” 


  1. Belinda, sounds like 2 thrifty ways to address cell phone issues. When my Dad passed away, Mom gave me his cell phone. I told her to keep it as a back up, she refused, so I took it. Fast forward and it has already been pulled into service for 2 of my teens: first to replace DD's that she lost until she could pay for a replacement, and then to replace DS #1's broken cell. I have reviewing our cell phone plan on my to do list, and will be soon checking on when our contracts are up. I want to compare a pay as you go plan vs what we currently have.

  2. Carol, Once I stop subbing, I am going to change phone plans. I'm going to go with a pay as you go plan as well. I rarely use my cell phone except for communicating with teachers I sub for and won't need that once I'm working another place. Will definitely be a money saver when the time comes.

    Wonderful that you kept your Dad's cell phone. So useful to have them when things like this happen! :)

  3. Belinda,
    I lucked out this week. Someone posted some used Verizon phones with house and car chargers, info books on Freecyle and we got them. DS who has been using my Dad's old one, has cracked the outside face of his cell phone and i fear it's on it's last legs. We can't afford to replace it yet, the contract isn't up. So, we'll switch DS over this weekend, for free. I'm saving the battery out of the cracked one, of course. Free is nice. : )

  4. How neat, Carol!!! What a great "find". Nice of the person giving them away to do that. :)


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