8 Frugal Reasons to Have Two Phones

8-frugal-phones, have-two-phones

Has anyone else noticed the skyrocketing prices of smartphones? Companies are pricing their new flagship smartphones to the tune of $1,000 depending on the storage size, color selection and contracted plans. Yikes. Although smartphones are an integral part of modern life, you do not need the latest smartphone model to check emails or navigate angry birds.

Conventionally having two phone is often associated with a dark secret, like an unfaithful spouse or having a double family. Not that I think the ladder would be very common these days, most of us can’t find time for the one family we have right now. But there are lots of good reasons why it’s good to have 2 older phones and it can actually save you money in the long run!

Here are 8 frugal reasons having two phones is a good idea.

First Phone

My first ever smartphone was the Samsung Galaxy S3. It was a graduation gift. My mom handed me the package and there it was: a brand new, unlocked S3 for a lucky girl!

That was back in 2012-2013, the year that I graduated with $20,000 in student loans. Trust me, at the time, I was happy with anything free. I was in beast mode trying to pay back my student loans.

After I paid back all of my student debt and settled into a decent gig, I brought myself a Nexus 5 “for work.” I had it very briefly before I dropped it (in my defense, only 2 feet down) but the Nexus died, completely.

I sold the Nexus 5 as working parts for less than 10% of the purchase price. I was incredibly burned by that and it stung realizing I dropped almost $400 on an object that my old Samsung 3 could have performed.

Oh, those pre-frugal days…

Dejected, I went back to my old but faithful Samsung Galaxy S3 and never strayed.

Second Phone

My second phone is hubby’s hand-me-down phone, the OnePlus One. The OnePlus is an amazing phone for the price (not an ad; it’s really a great piece of craft.) Hubby gave it to me last year after his employer gave him the Pixel phone for work.

I thought of being a penny pincher and selling the OnePlus for some money instead. It was going for $175 on eBay. Hubby told me that my Samsung Galaxy S3 was very old and that sometimes when we’re calling or messaging each other, it’s annoyingly unreliable. Selling off the newer OnePlus might not be worth it in an emergency if we needed to contact each other.

That is a good point. What is the purpose of a phone if the communication bugs out?

Naturally, my second penny-pinching idea was to sell the Samsung Galaxy S3 then. Unfortunately, during one of my gang shootings with another rival gang, I had my phone in the front pocket…nah, actually my phone flew out of my dainty girl pockets as I was running to catch the bus.

Rant: the biggest culprit here is dainty girl pockets of course. Look at your fathers, brothers and husbands with their over-sized pockets. How unfair is that? Don’t we girls get to have clothes with pockets bigger than a pudding cup? WE HAVE MORE THINGS.

The comps for a 6-year-old phone with a shattered screen, although functioning, was pathetically low on eBay.

There was this new thing out called Samsung Galaxy S7 – woahhh Nelly – when did S4, S5, S6 and S7 happen?

Did I miss all of that?

Oh and apparently the S7 catches on fire. 1

In the end, I just kept both.

And I didn’t feel like I needed another SIM card at about $10 a month extra. Feeling both bourgeois and wasteful about the two power-sucking appliances in my pocket, 12 months later, I’m thinking about my two phone situation and I must say…it has been surprisingly pleasant having two phones around.

8 Frugal Reasons to Have Two Phones

No Battery Anxiety

The problem with older phones is how fast the batteries start dying but with two old phones, I’m never worried because I can switch one to charge while I use the other one!

External battery packs to go for $10 to $30 a pop. I know this because I’ve had at least three of them before. One came with my now broken Nexus 5 phone and the other two I ordered off Amazon during their lightning deals (which don’t even deal most of the time.) I’ve broken one external charger after I dropped it (what is with me and dropping things…) and I misplaced the other two when we moved into our house.

You know why I lose them? Because after they’re done, I put it somewhere and forget it!

Given my history with these external battery chargers, I decided to use my old Samsung S3 as a substitute while my OnePlus charges back up. Then I reverse the two again and so on and so forth. I can’t lose because they’re actual phones. I can just call the other one to find it again! Having 2 phones is better than an external battery.

See how stupidly smart I am?!

No Resale Value

shattered-phone-stealth-wealth, have-two-phones

I would have sold the Samsung S3 for some chump change but a smashed screen is one of the biggest repair expenses there is. The fixers on eBay isn’t going to spend $100 worth of their time to repair the screen of a very old phone that going for $125 unlocked and brand new!

So my phone has no resale value, what so ever.

Therefore, well, I might as well be frugal and use it!

It still works and is essentially like a free external battery pack and iPad Touch! The screen of my S3 itself is beyond repair and occasionally drops little dust of glass held with scotch tape but the phone itself, bless Samsung, is still working. It’s laggy sometimes but it works! I will use it until it dies away, just like with my clothes.

Don’t Have to Pay for Storage

My Samsung S3 has 16 GBs and after 2000-something photos and videos of food and metal concerts throughout the years – it’s reaching maximum occupancy. There’s nothing uber important that I would miss but I’m also too cautious to mass delete them. I feel like those 3 fuzzy photos of me in front of the San Francisco’s skyline will be a life changer someday. So the older phone is being used as storage to park my mediocre past life.

It’s Still Technology Goodness

Despite both of my phone’s old age and not-so-impressive speed, they’re still smartphones capable of going online, streaming video, chatting with friends and playing audio. Having a second phone is good in a pinch although I prefer the OnePlus since it’s 4 years younger than the S3. There is the tang of morbid curiosity on how long stable engineering and design could last. Either of my smartphones is Nokia 3310 worthy, but it’s hanging in there.


Theft Prevention

Phone thefts are becoming more and more common especially for public transportation bus riders like myself. You’re holding a good few of hundred of dollars resale loosely in your hands. It tempts thieves looking for a quick buck. The most you could do is chase after them – and you wouldn’t even call the police afterward because you won’t have your phone. It’s a perfect crime! Using my shattered Samsung S3 phone on the bus pretty much guarantees no one will give me a second look.


In an extreme pinch, an older phone can save you a bit of change. If you have two phones, it’ll keep you busy enough to not warrant another new one so soon. If one phone does die, it would give you more time to shop around without being deprived of a working phone. It will give you time to consider the marketplace carefully and shop for a smarter deal. If your primary phone died without a back up phone, you would need to buy one pretty quick since phones for many are alarm clocks, calendars and socially important as well.

One for Personal, One for Business

The OnePlus is considered my work phone. It has apps like Rover, Airbnb, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, Robinhood, Bloomberg, OverDrive, eBay, Amazon, Docs, Skype, Pixlr – lots of stuff.

My Samsung S3 is only used as storage and only useful if it has WiFi. There are very little apps on there besides the basics like calculator, some bloatware, YouTube, Airbnb, Firefox, and Kindle Reader. It is a leisure phone that does not have Twitter, Pinterest or anything blogging related. It forces me to hop off the radar for a bit and enjoy watching a rabbit steal a cookie from a baby.


Don’t Have to Buy a New One!

Can’t get more cost effective than just not spending money at all on a newer phone!

Both my phones were technically free. One was a graduation gift that has had a remarkably long shelf life despite the abuse it has absorbed from me. The second one was a hand-me-down from my husband. I’m not able to make a single penny back selling either of those but I also didn’t have to shell out more money for a brand new smartphone. Considering how expensive new phones are and seeing that both my current old phones put together wouldn’t amount up to even $250 cash back – keeping both was the definite frugal choice. Plus, they both work great as a team for all the reasons above as well.


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  1. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/mobiles-and-tabs/030917/samsung-galaxy-s7-catches-fire-during-charging.html

35 thoughts on “8 Frugal Reasons to Have Two Phones”

  • I have had 3 phones in total throughout my 12 years of living in the US:
    – A free basic Nokia phone that came with the pre-paid phone service package
    – An unlocked LG that later became painfully slow. I gave it to my co-worker’s wife since she had lost her and just needed a phone.
    – An unlocked Amazon Fire which I have been using for almost 2 years and have been loving.

    Mr. FAF got an Honor phone from BestBuy and dropped it on the floor after 3 weeks. The screen is now shattered, but we’re not buying new phones. Sigh.

    All the great reasons to have 2 phones and be frugal! 😀
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance recently posted…“If It’s Yellow, Let It Mellow” – Is It Worth It?

    • He did?! I didn’t know he dropped it!! Oh well, it still works!! I had the Amazon fire phone for 2 days because it was on sale for $50 but I returned it. I barely gave it a chance because everyone said was so bad. Why do you like it?

  • Nice!

    On one hand I’d love to keep my phone for a long time, but on the other hand my service (Verizon) is horribly expensive. I’m currently paying for the device, but want to move to Google Fi and get a Pixel 2 (since it’s IP67 or IP68 water resistant and pretty sure the Pixel 1 is not). While the initial outlay of cash will suck, the service will be quite a bit cheaper. I anticipate the move will pay for the phone within a year or so. Even less if I decide to sell my S6.

    Then I don’t anticipate buying a new phone for quite a while. I hate buying phones – it’s tedious AND it’s expensive.

    Great that you’ve been able to get by with the two for so long!
    Dave @ Married with Money recently posted…6 Things I’ve Learned From Blogging For 6 Months

  • I carry two phones– one for work and one personal phone. I find it pretty inconvenient having to keep track of two devices, but I can never do personal tasks on my work phone since my company is very clear that they monitor all our traffic. I have an unlocked phone now, but I’ve done it both ways. I use Android for my personal devices, but given how glitchy my Nexus has been, I might be looking to go Apple for the next one (cue the tiny screams coming out of my wallet).

  • I used to do this back when I had a contract phone. I would resign and keep my old phone as a backup (I am very clumsy). When (not if) the new one broke i would use the old while I was waiting for the replacement (i have to get insurance on my phones, I am that bad).

    After moving to Google Fi my backups were useless since they would only work on Verizon 🙁

    I may upgrade in the next year or two. I have a Nexus 5X and love it, plus I don’t have enough allowance built up to buy anything :D.

    P.S. If anyone remembers Nextel, they sold construction grade phones (aka indestructible)….yeah I broke every one of the models they threw at me.
    Budget on a Stick recently posted…Getting To FI With Google’s Project Fi

  • I have two iPhones. One is for work and one is personal. I have an IPhone 6S. It is almost 2 years old. My goal is to get 4 years out of it. When I do get a new phone, I am going to follow your advice and keep the old one. It sounds more benefitial than trading it in for a few bucks.
    Dave recently posted…NFL Games: Fun, but Expensive

  • I got a new phone 3 years ago, on a 2 year plan.Within a month i mistakenly put it in the washing machine while rushing to get laundry started. By the time I realized what I had done, the phone was fried! And still 23 months to go on the plan. We had a Blackberry nobody was using anymore so that is what I used for the next 2 years. I recently just went out and finally got a new phone (I truly hated the Blackberry) and switched my plan. Best Buy had a special for new activation so the phone ended up costing me $160, not so bad plus my plan is cheaper. I am just glad we still had an old phone around at the time. I am still keeping it just in case.

    • That almost happened to me too! It was in my pants pocket when I got to it just before the water level hit it. Phew! Whatever happened to Blackberrys. What’s your new phone? I always get my phones unlocked to avoid contract plans.

  • LOL! I had one of those Nokia phones. Man those were sturdy as heck. Here I thought my Galaxy 6 Edge was expensive, but after hearing how much the new iPhones cost, I rather wait till my phone dies before I think about purchasing another one. I could use that $1,000 for something else even if I have to pay it off monthly.

  • I’ve only ever had one phone at a time, almost all free ones, but the past 18 months with PiC have been an eye opener. He got a free basic smartphone to use since his old phone was slow and buggy. He dropped and smashed it. A friend gave him a used iPhone w/16 GB memory. Not enough memory, it can only handle some of his apps and is slowly dying. It’s going to be time to get him a new phone soon. Unfortunately all the phones we have as back ups are so old they’re just bar phones! We keep them for the novelty factor but I’m thinking we need a backup phone for him and a backup computer (for me) since my computer likes to fall over sometimes. We go for the unlocked phones now because I like to think we’re going to change to a cheaper discount plan soon. SOON.
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Just a little (link) love: sneaky owl edition

  • Ahh, I’m too cheap to get a new phone. My iPhone 5 is 4.5 years old and it’s battery life is pretty much nonexistent. If it’s too cold it goes from 90% to dead or 1% in a matter of 1-2 hours. Thanks for the inspiration about the battery pack, I should get one now! That will buy me a few more months (or maybe another year) before I have to get a new phone.
    GYM recently posted…PF Blog Round Up: September 2017 Dividends Edition

  • I had two phones at one point because my work at the time didn’t let you bring in your own number and use it for your work device. Hated it!

    My new job doesn’t provide staff at my level with a phone which is strange. Boss is pushing for a change but in the meantime I bought myself an iPhone (first time I’ve paid for a personal iPhone – prior to this my personal phones were all cheapies and on prepay)
    NZ Muse recently posted…RaboDirect managed funds are no longer. What now?

  • I put the Galaxy S3 as one of the greatest smartphones of all time. I had one that worked great for three years. My mom had one for almost 5 years. Samsung just nailed it on that one. Not so much on the S5 🙁

    I also rock two phones. In order to get work emails on my phone I have to sign away my soul. Not really but you give them permission to wipe your phone if they ever want to. Not cool by me. So I use my old phone just for work email and storage.
    Grant @ Life Prep Couple recently posted…Money Isn’t Evil

  • My Dad just a couple days ago smashed the screen on the iPhone 3G I gave him a couple years ago – it’s nearly 10 years old at this point! It was still working, other than being unable to download new apps. He was just riding out his pre-paid minutes until he could switch over to my Mum’s old phone… my iPhone 5s currently enjoys randomly shutting off, but I’m not willing to replace it quite yet. I’ve still got another good 2+ years out of it! And when it becomes unreliable in communicating, it’s gonna be a great little iPod 😛 If Apple keeps coming out with crazy expensive products though, I don’t know if I’ll be sticking with them…

  • I used to have 2 phones (one company provided, the other my personal), but after being laid off, I had to give the phone back. It was a doozy having to get all my photos off that! I now only have one phone and the battery totally sucks, but I bought this great battery pack that has like 10 charges in it! I just keep it on me at all times, and so far I haven’t forgotten to recharge it.

    I noticed I used to use those free/cheap battery chargers and they were so bad I couldn’t even get half a charge off them, and they would definitely end up lost and uncharged. The thing with this new one is that it has so many charges I don’t generally have to worry, and it’s like the more times it actually saves me (which is like every other day bc my Nexus battery is JUST THAT BAD), the more I value it! This is my band aid for saving money on not having to buy a new phone for a while at least.
    Jing recently posted…How I Save Hundreds On Uber With Ride Pass

  • I considered whether 2 phones was more frugal too.
    One for airtime emergency calls with a preloaded $20 voucher.
    Another just for the apps to run efficiently, but I can’t get data only so I just stuck with 1 phone for $45.
    There are some hacks/workaround to get data only for like $30/mth, but the $15 a month difference isn’t enough hassle for me to get 2 phones.
    Plus I get unlimited talk time on the $45 plan which is already the lowest in my area already, and a $20 preloaded phone runs out really quickly.
    Financial Orchid recently posted…Snowbirds: Critical Tax Knowledge for Canadians Moving to US

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