Life hack: How to own an "iPhone 5" for under $250 without contract

Wanna own an iPhone but can't afford the steep price?

Yea, yea, I know the ads say that iPhones are sold for "free", but let's not kid ourselves: by the time your 24-month contract expires, you would have shelled out more than $1600 already.

So follow my trick.

Step one: when my old contract with a Samsung smartphone expired in January 2014, I bought myself $15 basic Alcatel cellphone. It truly is basic: it can only call, text, and set alarm/reminders.

Step two: I bought myself a $230 iPod Touch 5th generation. It is basically iPhone 5 without the phonecall or text capabilities. But WAIT. Guess what? If you install any of the numerous apps out there such as Google Hangout, Facebook Messenger, or BBM, you will find out that you actually CAN use your iPod for texting and making phone calls!

Step three: that's it. There is no step three.

- there is no way of getting a "data plan" for your iPod Touch,  therefore you need to be in a first-world country (or at least in a country with a lot of free wifi) in order to enjoy the internet-connected capabilities offered by an iPod Touch.
- you need to carry two phones at a time: one is that basic cheap cellphone to make phone calls to real numbers, while the other is your "iPhone"-esque iPod.


Q: But what if I want to make phone call to an actual number, such as office or emergency services? iPod Touch can't do those things, not even with those apps!

A: Please reread Step One above.

Q: I live in a region where wifi is freely available everywhere. But when I'm driving, I can't get my iPod to work other than playing songs. This method of "owning two phones" doesn't work with me.

A: Seriously, why the heck would you need to use your iPod Touch (or any smartphones, for that matter) when you are driving? Unless you want to play songs only, where's your damn logic? You know it is against the law to stare at smartphones while driving, right?


P.S.: when iPod Touch 6th gen comes out, I will buy it immediately. It will mirror nearly all the capabilities of an iPhone, but with a longer battery life (due to its lack of need to search for tower signals), has no contract, and costs at least one-third of the actual iPhone 6.


Websites to learn almost anything for free

Here is a list of websites where you can learn almost anything for free.

In some of the websites, you don't even have to register at all, just link your Facebook or Twitter account in order to get started.

All of the subjects taught in these websites are provided free of charge and free of ads.

Subjects taught: almost everything
Pros: The format is flashcards that contain mnemonic devices.
Cons: It does not help when it comes to learning grammar or formulae.

Subjects taught: college-level courses
Pros: A user can get "statement of accomplishment" provided by the university at the end of each course.
Cons: The serious format could turn off some leisure-learners.

Subjects taught: six European languages (as of 2014).
Pros: can skip classes based on the level a person has previously attained.
Cons: as of 2014, there are only six languages.

Subjects taught: programming languages
Pros: One of the best programming language-learning websites for novice programmers.
Cons: It only teaches some basic programming languages such as Python, Ruby, Javascript, et al.

Subjects taught: almost everything
Pros: The lectures are given in mostly didactical basis.
Cons: Too lecture-oriented

*I will add more websites to this list as soon as I find them. If you have any suggestions on free websites for learning, feel free to drop a comment!


How to finish your American college education faster and cheaper

So the college education costs around $10,000-30,000 a year. If you're lucky, you can get scholarships and/or grants that can help you pay for them.

However, there are some unlucky few among you who have to pay twice the in-state tuition simply because you come from out-of-state or even from a foreign country.

Whether or not you pay a lot for your college education, you still want to graduate as soon as possible, right?

Then CLEP is the solution for you.

CLEP, which stands for College Level Examination Program, is a group of tests that assess college-level knowledge in several subject areas that are administered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States created by the College Board.

So for example, if you take a CLEP for Macroeconomics, and you pass that CLEP, you will be given 3 credit hours for that Macroeconomics class (without having taken the class at all).

What kind of CLEP tests are offered?

Almost every General Education classes are offered! General Education classes are the very basic classes that every American college student have to take, regardless of major. These include Algebra, English, History, and some Science classes.

Some colleges also offer major-specific classes such as Psychology, Business, and Nursing.

How do you study for CLEP?

There are two free websites that can help you with that:

1. Education-Portal (no registration needed)
2. Coursera  (registration needed, but all classes are free)

Other things you need to know about CLEP...

Be aware that not all colleges accept or even administer the CLEP tests. You need to find out for yourself by asking your college staff or advisers whether or not CLEP tests are accepted for college credits.

Also, CLEP tests are not free. From what I have seen in several college campuses, it ranges from $80 to $150... However, since it is still much cheaper than tuition for an actual class, I still suggest you take it.

Formats are different for each CLEP tests, but you can be rest assured that each CLEP test carries mostly multiple-choice questions with only a few short-phrase sentences (with the exception of language class CLEP tests where there are some essay questions).

For one, I regretted having taken Algebra class in my community college. I had to come and sit in class for Algebra which was too easy simply because I have learned it long ago in my high school in Singapore. The class was so shockingly easy and so useless that I had to spend my class time reading manga. If I had taken CLEP for Algebra, I could have just bypassed the class altogether and get 3 college credits automatically.

Colleges put the cap of taking as many as 40 to 50 CLEP credits for 4-year undergraduate students, which means that if you take around 40 CLEP credits before the end of your first three semesters, you could graduate with a Bachelor's degree in as fast as five semesters!

So...what do you think? Let me know if this tip is helpful!


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