Don't run out to a cell phone dealer to replace your lost, stolen or broken cell phone, my easy cell phone replacement trick will convert a $10 Pay-As-You-Go phone into a phone capable of working on your contract plan.

This is the exact same tactic I learned by accident when my brother's dog ate my phone a few years ago while I was still under a contract. You probably know the situation: Your phone is inoperable, but your contract has yet to renew, so you're not eligible for what they consider an "upgrade" (which is a fancy way of locking you back into another two-year contract with the bait of a new cell phone). You basically have two options at this point: Shell out the big bucks and buy a phone without a contract (the cheapest usually cost at least $200), or take it to a repair shop and hope they can fix it (often costs more than buying a new phone).

First off: This trick only works with phones that use SIM cards, such as AT&T and T-Mobile. Other carries might use them as well, I'm just not aware of them. It's easy to check, though, just look for such a card on your personal cellular phone. If you're unsure, contact your customer service agent.

Here's How It Works:

Step 1: Buy a cheap Pay-As-You-Go-Phone. I've bought a couple at Wal-Mart and usually spend between $10 and $15. Of course I just like talking and texting, so if you're wanting a super crazy flip keyboard and enough horsepower to play ef="/Vi deo Games">video games and surf the web, you might end up paying more. NOTE: Don't think that these "disposable cell phones" are any lower quality than the ones you'd buy at a phone shop - they come from the same factories and are made by the same people - heck, they're usually the EXACT same phones!

Step 2: Remove the SIM card from the new phone. It should be a fairly straight forward process. All of mine have been behind the battery.

Step 3: Put the SIM card from your old phone into the new one.

Step 4: Fire up your new cell phone! It should work perfectly!

This trick works because phones that use SIM cards store all the information on those cards, so switching over to a new phone is literally as simple as swapping out the card.

Heads Up: Your new phone will automatically fire up any information you saved on your SIM card, but nothing that was only saved on your old phone's memory. If you're fortunate enough to have your old phone still working, make sure to transfer your contacts, address book, ring tones and anything else onto your card. Otherwise they'll be lost.

I've personally been using this strategy for several years, and haven't "upgraded" my cell phone since my original contract expired about three years ago - which means I'm on a month-to-month contract, and since I'm affraid of cell phone commitment, I'm much happier with this set up than I would be if I jumped on every new "Get a cell phone upgrade and automatically get enrolled in two more years worth of contract coverage."

All told, I've spent a grand total of about $40 on "new phones" throughout the past several years. And I owe it all to this little Pay-As-You-Go phone trick I learned by accident.