Smartphones are obsolete in about 18 months from when they are released.
Cell phone contracts are usually 2 years long.
The latest/greatest new cell phone costs about $200 (w/ contract). The contract itself will cost you at least $1900 over the next two years.
You can sign up to pay that $1900 and get a phone that will be obsolete in days for free, or pay $100 less for last years model which will be obsolete in 6 months.
But you will have to spend 18 months to the full 2 years cursing your phone and envying your friends. Your smartphone contract is the major expense. The upfront cost of the phone is not.
Buying the cheap phone is tying yourself into at least an extra year of expensive unhappiness.
If you’ve played the rebate game during a kitchen remodel, or just have clueless friends and family, you’ve wound up with a stack of nearly-useless Visa/AMEX/MC with approximately 67 cents on each one.
You are too embarrassed to pay for coffee by swiping three-five cards. You don’t have time to go “somewhere” and merge them all together onto one card. But your cheap guilt keeps them sitting around the house.
Solution! Use them to buy yourself Amazon gift cards. Figure out how much is on each. Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/gc/ and send yourself digital email gift cards, purchased with the $0.42, $0.67, and $1.43 left on those cards (you do have to buy them separately for each card).
Then redeem these digital gift cards in your Amazon account, and now you have a usable $2.52.