What I do is right as I get the phone I unlock bootloader and root. I then drop on some xposed mods and root apps like Titanium backup and adaway. Then I leave it like that until I get bored and decide to change the clock speed, flash a kernel, flash a ROM.
Right now I'm just chilling with my Nexus 6 with only bootloader unlocked and rooted with root apps cause it's been too long since I've used vanilla and I'm not bored yet lol
Also if you get a new phone you can use your old phone as a server provided it still works. I used to do that with my HTC incredible (first one) until the charger port quit out.