When I tried to be an adult and it backfired…

Was talking to my sister about how I still rock my cracked phone and broken laptop every day, and she hit me back with some of the stuff she hasn’t gotten around to replacing either.


  • underwear (most of hers has holes!)
  • pillowcases (they’re all fraying)
  • broken mugs… (she re-uses them for paintbrush holders, which is actually pretty clever!)

I find that in most cases I’m perfectly fine riding stuff out until the day they die (I wear holey underwear too! And rarely replace my cars until they putter out…), but the other month I thought maybe it’s better to start acting more like an “adult” and create a back up plan in case either of those important items up there crash and burn and completely collapse my life.

(Or at least this blog, since without a phone or laptop you’d be reading a blank page right now! :))

So I reached out to an old friend in the phone biz who hooked me up with an Android phone she didn’t need anymore (thanks Cherie!), and then shortly after I went out and picked up a brand new Macbook Air I’ve always been curious about and thought would make for a great upgrade when needed…

But then here’s where the crazy thing happened…

Instead of feeling more at peace with having a game plan now, I actually started feeling *worse* about it all!

First, because both items are still sitting in their boxes collecting dust and not helping a single soul (the worst as a practicing minimalist!), and secondly, by the time I actually need to use either of these it’s very possible they’ll long be outdated! Or at least not up to modern technology’s standards. Not that that’s the worst thing in the world as *any* phone or computer is better than having nothing at all when you need one, but I wonder if I jumped the gun too fast here and should have waited a little longer…

(It also feels bad keeping money stashed in a place never being used (laptop), but then again maybe that’s what it feels like to others who put it in savings/retirement to be used for a “rainy day” later? ;) This is just a different kind of unpleasant planning?)

Fortunately I have no concerns with saving money for later, but it does seem like I’m not so great at keeping backup *stuff* for when those fateful days come….

And now watch – tomorrow BOTH my phone and my computer will die on the spot, which in a weird way I’m kinda hoping for?!! Haha…. Does that make me a whack-job??

At any rate, thought it was interesting how jacked up our brains can be at times, and wondered if any of y’all have ever experienced such malfunctioned planning too…

At least now you’ll know if there’s ever a blank page here it won’t be due to a lack of publishing tools. It’ll mean I’m either dead or kidnapped – that’s all! ;)

Here’s a pic of my cracked phone btw… I can still see 70% of the screen!

cracked phone

Tips/thoughts/advice? This ever happen to you?

That pic up top is totally random, but somehow it’s *exactly* how I feel about all this, haha… Thanks Ryan McGuire!

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  1. [HCF] February 4, 2020 at 5:38 AM

    The same thing happened to my phone screen, freaked me out as I cannot tolerate such view, then ordered a spare screen for $20 and replaced it myself, problem solved.

    But I guess the whole point here is to have a backup option. In this case, having these gadgets laying around collecting dust is pure dumbness. Take your time, do the transition and start using them. As you said, they will get outdated and you can not exploit their true potential meanwhile. Put your current, still working equipment on idle and use them as backups. They already served you well, so you can count on them if the need arises ;)

    1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 7:19 AM

      Ahhhh yess – that’s an idea actually!! Swap the backups to the broken ones and use the good ones! I like that!

      1. [HCF] February 4, 2020 at 9:04 AM

        Also, this way you do the work of transition upwards and in case of emergency on all your old gadgets everything will be up and running already ;)

        1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:05 PM

          Totally…. such an idiot for not thinking of that, haha…..

  2. Kate February 4, 2020 at 5:58 AM

    You deserve a phone that you can see and doesn’t give you glass splinters when you use it. Use it now.
    I’m also a practicing minimalist and consider stores a storage place that hold every single item I need (my backup options). I just need to give the store some money when I want to use it.

    1. Terri February 4, 2020 at 6:45 AM

      OH! I like the idea of considering the store as a storage place! I’m going to start thinking like that!

      1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 7:22 AM

        HAH!!! Me too – that is great, haha..

  3. Terri February 4, 2020 at 6:44 AM

    You should probably get rid of the cracked phone. They are not safe. I recommend buying a nice wallet case or bumper for the new one. The $10-$15 is SO worth it. I’ve done that for years, and have dropped my phone on cement multiple times, but never, ever cracked the screen.I keep my electronics FOREVER (my son laughs at me)–at least until they can’t be updated any longer. I want them to be in as pristine a condition as they can be in while I’m using them.

    In case you need a reason to rid yourself of the phone, here it is:


    1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 7:23 AM

      What? #6 can’t be right, can it??

      6. Exposure to Harmful Radiation

      (and you’re literally the only person I know who has never cracked their screen!! I’ve done it with every single one of mine – even with screen protectors!)

      1. Kathleen February 4, 2020 at 8:21 AM

        Never cracked my phone screen either…a good case is key because now I don’t even put that screen protector thing on, and I have dropped my phone on pavement with no cracking.

        1. Adam February 4, 2020 at 9:23 AM

          I’ll chime in on the “never cracked my phone screen” club.

          A bumper case from https://rhinoshield.io/ get full credit. I buy a flagship phone every three or four years; my Pixel 3 still looks brand new thanks to that thing.

          1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:06 PM

            Thanks for this!! Very smart!

          2. Kate February 5, 2020 at 6:00 AM

            Me neither! I get those glass stick on covers (it glues over the screen) from Amazon for a couple of quid and cover my fancy work iPhone as soon as I take it out of the box. Two years later when we upgrade my phone looks like new!

      2. J February 4, 2020 at 9:54 AM

        I’ve never cracked my phone either. I’ve been known to keep them forever (only had 4 phones in 19yrs – so I’m motivated :-) ) If you do eventually decide that you no longer need the backup, it might be an option for you to go ahead and fix the screen if you can affordably and donate the phone to a domestic violence group. Often, men and women (often with children) trying to get away from an abusive spouse need a quick backup phone that their abuser can’t reach them on, or that they can use to make escape plans with volunteer workers. If cell phones had been around when my mother left my father he would’ve checked every. single. text/call/email/app, etc. Probably on a daily basis.

        1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:06 PM

          Ahhh damn! Excellent idea! makes total sense.

  4. Curtis Elliott February 4, 2020 at 7:10 AM

    Sorry. What’s the point of this post? I’m just not getting it. I enjoyed the writing, but the whole theme kinda got lost on me. I really don’t mean to be a bummer here…

    1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 7:24 AM

      I lose myself sometimes too, don’t worry about it :)

  5. Jacq February 4, 2020 at 7:48 AM

    I am super clumsy, so I have an otterbox case for my phone. Works wonderfully!

    Just do it, start using the new items!

    In a impulse buy of ‘maybe buying things will make me feel better because work sure seems crummy’, I treated myself to new t shirts. I have over 60 t-shirts, and know I need to get rid of some. They finally got here last night, and I like them very much. And it’s a reminder that all the stupid work, actually means I can impractically buy myself a t-shirt with Toothless on it, without a ding to my budget.
    I got to try out the shopping to feel better concept, and it’s kinda meh for me. I think I’d rather deal with work being crummy by hanging out with my cats, and or my friends or taking a nap.

    1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:09 PM


      Reminds me when I was in college and allowed myself to buy a new t-shirt after every test I took – regardless of how well or not I did :) I knew no matter what I was giving myself a new present afterwards so it actually made me *enjoy* test taking more! Haha…

  6. Gene Roberts February 4, 2020 at 8:07 AM

    Didn’t Kevin work out this issue in Home Alone 2?

    “I had a nice pair of Rollerblades. I was afraid to wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them outside. Only in my room a few times.”

    1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:10 PM


      You got me there.

  7. Tara February 4, 2020 at 8:07 AM

    While I value keeping things for minimalism, I also think not replacing a cracked screen is penny wise and pound foolish considering the low cost at the tons of phone repair shops in any major city and the fact that you can splinter your finger on the glass (I have) and a cracked screen affects efficiency in using the phone. I’d argue to replace the screen and see if you can use it
    even longer. Heck, I’d replace the battery too if it was short lived as of late. We got over 4.5 years out of my husband’s iPhone because he kept it in a case and it was part of that battery lawsuit thing so we got a $30 battery before it ended. But the need for good photos of kiddo finally made us bite bullet and replace. But we’ll definitely get another 4.5 years out of this phone, hopefully more! And we got another case…

    I fully support keeping things until they die, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fix them/patch them so they work to nearly full capacity until the end. I’m all for patching holes in clothing too. :)

    1. Gene Roberts February 4, 2020 at 8:57 AM

      I was right there with you. I was rocking my iPhone 6+ for a similar period of time with the expectation of extending another year past IOS updates (I also replaced the battery with the lawsuit – right before the window ended to maximize the battery life, of course).

      However, I also upgraded before I planned to as I switched to a continuous glucose sensor that the older hardware couldn’t support.

      I also got a good case (though not quite the “Fort Knox” of Otterbox) and a screen protector. I plan on wringing 5 years out of the new one as well. Amortized out over 5 years it’s not so expensive.

    2. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:15 PM

      D’uh- yes!! No idea why that hadn’t even crossed my mind, wow…

      Making it a point to look into this week – thank you! It really does work perfectly fine outside of that!

  8. Kathleen February 4, 2020 at 8:24 AM

    And shoes – nothing a little glue can’t fix usually. I even re-glued the soles back onto my $15 slippers. Because they’re comfortable, and why fill the landfill, and why spend more money replacing something that can be repaired?!

    1. Adam February 4, 2020 at 9:18 AM

      Whoa, does this resonate. I’m a 14AA — when I find a comfy pair of shoes I wear them until they just about cease to exist. I’ve spent $80 resoling a $50 pair of shoes more than once. I’ve ALWAYS got a tube of Freesole in the freezer to help stretch them a little longer. This stuff is the jam.


      1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:16 PM

        THIS IS GREAT!! Can never find good glue for this sorta stuff – brilliant!

  9. Lisa Plaut February 4, 2020 at 9:59 AM

    A computer would be a legitimate business expense for you. You can take that expense off of your taxes to save you money. Same for your phone. I like the otterbox case because it provides excellent protection.

    1. J. Money February 4, 2020 at 1:17 PM

      YUP! Already marked on my list of expenses for last year :)

  10. David February 4, 2020 at 10:50 AM

    I agree with Kate about considering a store as the place to store backup equipment, and storing the backup in the form of enough money to buy replacements instead.

    This has really become true in the past five years or so, with cloud storage allowing us to disconnect storage of information from physical devices. We used to have to worry about backing up and syncing devices and hard drives, etc. Today most apps store information as a service, and so sync automagically. If you also use Google Drive, or iCloud, or MS OneDrive, or Amazon storage, or whatever to store your documents and pictures, you can be back up and running on a new phone (especially) or laptop within an hour (practically – it does take longer to reload everything, but you don’t actually need it all at once).

    But now you’ve got the devices; use them. Keep the old ones as backups until you’re ready to let them go.

  11. Nita February 4, 2020 at 11:19 AM

    Yeah, not surprising you’re not happy. Buying technology before you need it doesn’t really seem cost-efficient. On the later day you actually need it, you can buy it either cheaper or with higher specs.
    I think your new phone got you a serving of the Diderot effect :P
    (I’m a phone mender myself. Now if the shop could find a glue for the screen that lasted more than two weeks, that would be peachy)

  12. Amanda February 4, 2020 at 11:45 AM

    Unless you feel like the devices are on the brink of crapping out and being without for more than an afternoon is totally unacceptable, just have the money set aside and a model you would choose for a replacement. The concern about it being obsolete by the time you need the backup is well-founded. Technology moves fast.

    Also, once you have a new phone or replaced screen, invest in a good case and/or screen protector. They work. I trade in phones every 4-6 years. Never dealt with more than an annoying scratch. And I promise I am not super careful. My phone has hit the garage floor more times than I care to admit.

  13. Mark Mellang February 4, 2020 at 12:21 PM

    So you’re buying shit you don’t need? And when you do need it, it’ll be outdated? You’re a fucking moron.

    1. Kathleen February 5, 2020 at 4:39 AM

      What is the reason for a response like this? Be kind, be civil, say nothing if you cannot.

      1. J. Money February 6, 2020 at 9:40 AM

        it was a nice addition to my “hate” tracker :)

  14. Christine February 4, 2020 at 3:06 PM

    The only time I’ve cracked my screen is when I sent my phone plummeting 9 stories off my balcony. Thankfully I have moved…the phone would totally survive a dive off my deck. And even though it was cracked beyond use, the screen protector I had on it kept everything in place.

    It makes sense to feel how you feel. Just don’t start stockpiling T-shirt’s or stuff like my dad. He will also not unbox tech gifts he’s gotten until they’re practically obsolete. It’s infuriating.

    1. J. Money February 6, 2020 at 9:43 AM

      Oh wow haha… yeah, I’m not that bad :)

      I actually go through my closets and drawers approx once a month and look for at least one or two things to get rid of… Which makes it easier to finally let go of the stuff you SWEAR you’ll use one day but you never do. After the third round of asking yourself you finally wise up :)

  15. Cynthia Ann Leighton February 4, 2020 at 4:23 PM

    Hey if staying in the box is what fits, go for it :-)
    Minimalism is about what fits you . . . not what fits somebody else.
    And, yes, inconvenience is part of life with our gadgets . . . the last 2 times my phone broke from being dropped . . . at that time, replacing right away fit.
    Thanks for continuing to share your experiences of what’s next for you!!


    1. J. Money February 6, 2020 at 9:45 AM

      Thanks Cynthia :) Amazing how much you continually learn about yourself as the days go by… Just when you think you’ve figured it out your brain throws out another puzzle to solve!

  16. SWFL Financial Coaching February 4, 2020 at 8:24 PM

    I have bought my wife lots of gifts that don’t get used. Some of them are things she even asked for! We finally decided that we don’t need such things, and we quit buying each other gifts that cost a bunch of money. Most of our gifts are consumable items. They can’t sit around too long.

    We have mid-grade phones (or lower) and her laptop is nine years old. She could get a new laptop for $300 that’s way better, but she doesn’t feel a need.

    1. J. Money February 6, 2020 at 9:47 AM

      We try to do that same thing with gifts too… And recently even started picking each other up clothes from the thrift store, that way if they don’t fit or the other person doesn’t like we can just return in the form of a donation which becomes a gift in itself :) And a bonus: you can go out of your comfort zone a little and pick up something they’ll either REALLY love or wanna vomit all over and in either case it’s okay as it only cost a few bucks, haha…

  17. Jennifer February 5, 2020 at 8:57 AM

    Aside from the technology question (I keep old stuff til it is obsolete) — we operate in a similar fashion — wear it out before you buy something new(used). Cars, home goods, clothes, tech.

    EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE I think that I should be grown up and buy new sheets and towels, etc etc but where does it stop? I’m in my mid-50’s now, and I think back to all the money I would have spend on “refreshing” stuff that I really didn’t need…and what I spent that money on instead! Travel! Kitchen remodel! Early retirement options! I think these were worth being “out of fashion” sometimes…and I could not have had both.
    I tell my kids– You can have almost ANYTHING but you probably can’t have EVERYTHING. Make your choices and dave for it.

    1. J. Money February 6, 2020 at 9:48 AM


      Beautiful mindset to have!

  18. MW February 7, 2020 at 2:59 PM

    I recommend a screen protector (even now), because it will keep the screen together.

    If you want to be SUPER frugal, packing tape works!

  19. J. Money February 10, 2020 at 6:36 AM

    Does it really? Hahaha… I might have to test that one! :)

  20. Ryan Gilligan February 14, 2020 at 8:57 AM

    Hmm Not sure about keeping spare phones and laptops for emergencies when amazon Now and prime exist. Especially a laptop you are likely to lose as much time on updates to the OS that it needs from suddenly being allowed online then waiting for delivery of a new one! Each to their own though and everyone has a different idea on DR (Disaster recovery).

    Working in IT we tend to have DR plans like these, when it comes round to pulling the laptop from 2003 out of the box and realising it wont even connect to the network anymore is where they usually come unhinged!

    1. J. Money February 14, 2020 at 10:44 AM

      Yikes!! That would be pretty bad, haha…