The two-year contract on my Samsung Galaxy S5 mobile phone - named Demelza - was nearly up: just nine days left. I'd been resisting any urge to upgrade to a new phone. But now I had to do something definite.
A new phone then, from the range currently available? Or should I hang on till next year, meanwhile moving to a SIM-only contract?
I'd been very happy with Demelza. I'd looked after her, and she still looked almost new. Everything worked faultlessly. The battery hadn't yet shown any signs of failing. All the firmware updates had been installed. She was as up-to-date as a 2014 phone could be. And I still liked her 2014 styling. She was good to hold, and easy to use.
I was strongly of the opinion that I hadn't yet had full value for money out of her. Surely a good phone ought to last three years, not just two. It was too soon to retire her.
Besides, I had an issue with the phone I'd currently be upgrading to, the Samsung Galaxy S7. It didn't have enough internal memory: only 32GB. I really wanted 64GB - as well as 200GB more on a microSD card. When your phone is really a pocket computer, you can't have too much storage.
Besides, one of Vodafone's SIM-only deals was very attractive, and would suit my usage very well. Vodafone was offering 10GB of UK data, 500 minutes of UK calls, and unlimited UK texts, for £17 a month. The nearly-expired phone contract had cost me £37 a month, so there would be an immediate saving of £20 every month for the year ahead. And of course I could keep my number.
I went for it. I called Vodafone and had a delightful twenty minutes with a charming man called Konstantinos. He explored my needs, explained my options, and made me laugh. He thought my final choice of SIM-only bundle was very suitable - apart from having only 500 free minutes for voice calling each month. True, I normally made very few phone calls. But what if I met a nice man and fell in love? Ah, in that case, I assured him, I would be calling back and pleading for an upgrade! It was all great fun.
So, after midnight tonight, I move onto this new SIM-only contact, which will last twelve months plus the nine unexpired days from the previous contract. And this time next year, I will get myself another phone - probably the S8. Fingers crossed that it has a lot of storage, looks great, and doesn't cost the earth.
Except that I'm now 'on my own' where my phone is concerned. Demelza is paid for, she's mine; but Vodafone have no interest whatever in her now, and suddenly she seems all alone, orphaned and exposed, and terribly vulnerable to life's knocks and scrapes! Nothing has actually changed, but I now feel she requires better looking-after, even though previously she has had more TLC than most pets. Isn't that funny, how moving to SIM-only has put a distance between my phone and Vodafone that didn't seem to be there before? And it will be the same if I buy a new phone independently of Vodafone next year. Which I probably will. If I can afford it, I prefer to buy up front, and have lower monthly running costs.
What shall I do with my extra £20 a month? Save it, of course. I'm still trying to build up the kind of savings account balance that will cope with any sudden financial emergency. £5,000 will do that. By the end of the year I hope to have £3,000 in place.
I won't stop at £5,000 though - I need to save much more. Ten years from now, I must have enough to buy another car. I think I can do it, but it'll take careful planning. And no falling in love.