In a bit of a bind and could use some advice

Hi Apple Core,

Here's my predicament, and I thank you in advance for any constructive input.

I'm a Verizon customer, and I am eligible for my subsidy upgrade in three weeks. I have decided on the iPhone 5 for my next phone.

As of today, due to unfortunate circumstances, my current phone is broken beyond function or repair. I called Verizon and politely asked if I would be able to cash in my upgrade early. The representative I spoke with was extremely friendly, compassionate, and willing to help since I was so close to my upgrade date. That is, until I mentioned that I wanted to buy the iPhone 5. She told me that because of the way things are set up in their system, they cannot under any circumstances upgrade anyone early with the iP5; any other phone and she'd be able to work with me.

After giving it some thought this evening, I've come up with several scenarios, and here's where I'm hoping you'll chime in:

  1. Use my early upgrade and get the iPhone 4S (or any other VZW smartphone)
  2. Buy a cheap dumbphone off craigslist and use that until my upgrade date
  3. Purchase an iPhone 5 at full price, purchase a subsidized iP5 when my date comes, and then return the first iP5 for a refund as per the 30 day return policy (this one is obviously morally suspect but not against any rules or policies as far as I can tell)
  4. Some other solution that I haven't considered

What would you do if you found yourself in a position similar to mine? Thanks again for reading and offering your two cents.