How I Saved $320 On a New Phone

new phone

Hipster Phone

I don’t know what it is about smart phones, but something happens to them around the two year mark after we buy them, and that makes me wonder.  Brand new smart phones are awesome. They are fast and powerful, and everything works great.

It makes that 2-year contract that tends to come with new phones feel not so bad.  I just know that I’m going to be happy with this new phone for at least two years.  And then, like clock-work, around the 2-year mark smart phones start being not so smart.  Everything starts slowing down, apps fail to open, or it takes forever to do a simple task.

Meanwhile, you see all your friends with their brand new phones being able to phone and do stuff.  It makes you think that maybe your phone is just old and you need a new one to keep up with the powerful new operating systems and whatnot.

Keeping Up With the Phoneses

That’s exactly what happened to me.

I’ve had my phone for a little over two years and for most of this time my phone has been great.  It might not have been the best phone out there, but it was able to do smart-phone things just as well as other phones – if not better.

My phone and I have had a great run.  I even replaced its screen on my own when I dropped it and cracked the screen.  I really can’t complain about our relationship.

But then the 2-year mark came and my phone started acting all weird.

It was not only slowing down, but also doing crazy things.  It was changing the time on its own and telling me the wrong time.  Since I use my phone as my alarm clock, this was a huge problem.  And it wasn’t off by a set amount of time, sometimes it was off by a lot of hours and other times it was just off by minutes.  It was like asking a 2-year old what the time was.  “What time is it, Lia?” … “Yellow”

I knew it was time for a new phone, but since I switched to Ting I needed to buy a phone at full price because they don’t subsidize phones.  I guess you have to choose between the low cost of a phone plan or the low cost of a phone… I chose the low-cost phone plan.

In Search of a “New” Phone

When I say I needed a new phone, I mean a “new-to-me” phone.  I started looking in different websites and at different phones. There are soooo many different options of phones that it is hard picking just one.  I was having a hard time deciding and needed to narrow it down to at least a few phones.

Since I like to travel abroad, I decided that my best bet was to buy an unlocked GSM phone that I could use internationally without issues.  At least now I have an idea of where to start.

I did a quick search for “unlocked GSM smart phones” on Amazon and got hits for over 100 different phones.  Oh boy.  After spending a few days doing some research on all the different options, I decided to settle on the Galaxy S4.  Solid phone and it was only $320 completely unlocked.  I then placed the order on Amazon and was excited about my “new” phone.

How I Saved $320 on New Phone

After I placed the order on Amazon, Kate had a brilliant idea, “Why don’t you reset the phone?” I thought about it and I decided to give my phone a reset.  I figured I would lose everything, but I was going to lose everything by switching to a new phone anyways.  What did I have to lose?

I made a list of all my apps, backed up my pictures on Google+, and did a sync to my contacts on Google.  I didn’t know if any of this was going to work again so I was a little nervous.

Then those scary words came on the screen, “Resetting phone will delete all personal information and any downloaded applications. Data cannot be recovered. Continue?”  AHHH! Yes.

It was a scary few minutes, but then something incredible started happening.  As soon as I logged in to my Google account, my old apps started downloading automatically and all my contacts were back in my phone.  I didn’t have my pictures on the phone, but they were all in my Google+ account.  I had everything the same way as before.

And the best part, my phone worked!

It was as fast as when I first got it and the time worked as expected.  I played with it for a few minutes to make sure everything was working well and when I was satisfied with it, I went to Amazon and cancelled my order.

So I guess I didn’t so much as saved $320 as I just didn’t spend the $320 on a new phone.

So far, my phone has been working great.  I don’t think it’s going to last another two years, but I’m going to see how far I can push it.  I’ll give it another reset when it starts acting up again.

Before you buy a new phone because your old phone is slow and not working right, make sure you back up your information and give it a reset.  It might save you $320 too.

Have you fixed your phone by resetting it?


  1. William says:

    I love making stuff last forever. There’s something so rewarding about it. I just crossed the 4-year mark with my phone.
    William recently posted…What credit score do you need to buy a house?My Profile

  2. I have a tendency to lose gadgets, which is why I don’t buy many. I’ve lost 2 cellphones in 3 years.
    Tony @ Inequality Today recently posted…3 Reasons Why This Bull Market in U.S. Stocks Isn’t OverMy Profile

  3. I would never think to reset my phone to give it new life. Unfortunately for me, my last phone completely died and I had to get a new one. It’s crazy how expensive new phones are and I have no idea how and why people pay full price for phones, especially right after they are released.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – StrongerMy Profile

  4. Kim says:

    My phone will be 2 years old next month and the touch screen just started to not work. It works sometimes, but not all the time and the phone only rings about half the time when I get calls. I think they are programmed to stop working at 24 months. I would try the reset thing, but we can’t use Ting or Republic Wireless where we live, so if we have to keep our expensive plan, at least I’ll get the free phone that comes with it. That’s awesome that you tricked your phone into thinking it’s new again.

  5. Good job! Glad you didn’t have to fork over the cash for a new phone!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay ReviewMy Profile

  6. Good job saving some $$ on phone costs. I still have my galaxy 3 about 2.5 years old, if I’m not mistaken. I recently posted an article listing all the things I’ve owned for 10 years. I hope my phone can last at least 5, and ill get the Samsung 6 at that point in time. Good luck.

  7. Brilliant!

    That said, I consistently lose parts of your posts because the images spill over and block parts of your first couple paragraphs.

    I don’t know if this is a display issue on my part, but you may want to double-check the size of/resize images you’re posting.
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