My Cheapskate Experiment: Replacing MacBook And Galaxy With $300 … – Forbes

Turns out, Air is tough to live without. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

About six months ago, a not-so-great convergence occurred. My MacBook Air and my Samsung Galaxy were giving out at the same time. Right in the middle of a lecture, my MacBook would just go blank and it would take 10 minutes to get it come back to life. The phone was worse–it had become a battery vampire, sucking the life out of anything I put in it.

Several years ago I gave up on phone contracts. I know it lessens the pain of the phone purchase, but that pain is measured out over two years and I had enough of that. But I didn’t anticipate this–I was looking at $1500 of replacement cost. Now, I know, I can handle that. I know the old adage you get what you pay for is often right. But I was buying what has essentially become disposable goods.

Okay, I’m cheap. I pay higher prices for things I know will last. Otherwise, I look for bargains.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Air. I still believe it is the best mobile device I have ever owned. And the Galaxy was okay. I have considered, like my wife, buying an older generation iPhone, but the price tag always struck me as ridiculous and I like Android, because I am an extensive Google user. When a Forbes colleague Gordon Kelly pointed me to the Moto G, I went down a rabbit hole and, eventually, to an experiment. Could I replace both for, say, less than $500?

It turns out I could do it for $300. I bought a Moto E for $100 and left Virgin for Republic Wireless. I replaced my MacBook Air with a Samsung Chromebook, which was on sale for $200.

Six months later, here are five reflections on this experiment.

1) I freaking love Republic Wireless. For less than $30 a month, I have unlimited data, calls and texting. That’s because most of the time all of that is happening over Wifi. The phone, almost always, seamlessly moves from 3G to Wifi whenever it can. There are hiccups at times, but nothing too serious, and it has already improved in the six months I’ve used the service. I planned on saving over $1000, but now I’m saving close to $30 per month on the carrier too.

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