Frugal Living 

What can you do with a busted smart phone?

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Well, that really depends on your phone’s make and model and how broken we’re talking.

Let’s say you trip and drop your smart phone down a flight of stairs or accidentally fling it into a toilet and find that some critical function has been lost. It will no longer text or tweet, or has stopped playing You Tube and Candy Crush.

What do you do? Maybe you exchange it for a refurbished phone, sell it for its parts or simply drop it off at a recycling center. Maybe you do absolutely nothing.

But you are not the average consumer! No, you are the savvy, DIY type always down to save a buck. So what are some things you can do with a broken phone that still maintains some measure of functionality?

1. Busted smartphones can be a goldmine for new parents. You could spend up to $300 on a brand new baby monitor system, or you could just rig up your own with an otherwise unusable iPhone. (This method, however, does require the use of one functional iPhone.) Assuming your broken phone still has some audio/camera capabilities, you can stream both from the broken phone to the usable one. Do yourself a favor though and leave the busted one with baby! (I’m not a professional in the childcare field and would strongly recommend consulting one before using this method.)

2. Who doesn’t have a little trouble sleeping now and then? A broken smartphone can make for a superb white noise machine, especially if you have a white noise app prior to breaking your phone or your phone has its own built in. Get creative with your phone’s other sounds too. A cell phone can make for a great alarm clock (and already does for most people). For parents, a certain jingle may be just the distraction their infant needs, and they can change it up as often as they like.

3. Consider your phone’s other basic uses — flashlight, calculator, note-keeper, contact/book, calendar, compass, games, voice recorder and more! An old phone could be the perfect accompaniment for a short trip and you don’t have to worry about losing it (less baggage!).

4. Does your phone still vibrate? Use it as a massaging device!

5. If you store old media on your phone, or can still transfer music, you could easily rig up a home theater sound system.

6. Take it apart and teach yourself a thing or two about electronics.

7. If all else fails, you could always consider household decor.

Before you toss your broken phone, consider what functionality it might still have around the house. While the image of hoarding a mountain of old, broken electronic devices in a closet somewhere is one most people don’t want to conjure, smart phones are small enough to squeeze just about anywhere without junking up a place. With your old phone and a little creativity, who knows what you might dream up?

Can you think of other creative uses for a broken smart phone? Have you tried any?

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “What can you do with a busted smart phone?”

  1. Mark Ross says:

    Lol. Great ideas! I have a couple of broken phones right here, maybe I could use one as a flashlight and both of them as alarm clocks and music players.

  2. Eugeboy says:

    I really like the baby monitor idea. Your article is short, concise and informative. It really got me thinking. Thank you 🙂

  3. Adhere it to the palm of your hand and stare at it interminably just like many do with a working smartphone? 🙂

  4. CrazyRcPilot says:

    I’m due for an upgrade next month and although I dropped my current phone off a 10ft ladder last week, it is still in perfect order(minus typical software glitches that force you to upgrade)

    I hadn’t thought of something as useful as the baby monitor (or security camera) but I do plan to put my soon-to-be-old phone in the garage and use it was a constant streaming device for pandora!

  5. Casey says:

    These are great ideas. And with two kids around, phones are always at risk here. We’re past the baby monitor stage but it seems like you could also use a smartphone that still has video capability as a remote security monitor for your home or yard.

  6. BillyBob says:

    Tape it to a mannequin’s hand and angle the hand up to the mannequin’s face.

  7. Alissa says:

    It sounds to me like we need a follow up article on the financial repercussions of glancing compulsively at your cellphone! I’m sure there are MORE than a few…..think: car accidents, walking into buildings, walking into the street, etc.

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