So, after two years, I got a new phone.
To the mass of Verizon subscribers, that sounds like a normal thing. But my new phone is still with Republic Wireless, which continues to provide a really excellent service at a really excellent price. And my monthly bill dropped. To less than half of my previously "unthinkably cheap" $23/mo.
See, the crummy Defy XT was a beta, and Republic offered only a single plan for it - talk, text, 3G, $23 or so per month. But the newer better faster Moto E/G/X phones have a much broader suite of plans offered, including my favorite, $10/mo for talk + text. I have WiFi at home and at work, and those are the places I spend most of my time. But if I want 3G (say for a road trip), I can add it online, and then drop it when I no longer need it, since Republic lets you switch plans! On the fly! Up to twice a month! (last time I checked)
They were sending around $50-off mother's day coupons, and like a good son, I used it to by myself a new phone. So, I got a snazzy new Moto G for $120 (which includes tax +shipping). With the drop in my plan price, it will pay for itself in a bit less than a year.
So here's to all of our change-averse family and friends. You can do it, Mom.