Originally Posted by dynospectrum
Install a custom rom.
Or, just root the phone, easy to do. I'd also recommend that you put on custom recovery to be safe, as it can get you out of all sorts of trouble rather than having Samsung's lame recovery.
Once you've done that, install titanium backup from the store. Freeze any and all applications you want. Download your preferred applications and you are done.
Sure, you can go the extra step of putting on a third party ROM, but for most people, that's overkill.
Once you have root, a custom recovery and Titanium Backup installed, you might want to do three things:
1. Do a ROM backup from the recovery, after it's saved move to your PC. Keep it there for safekeeping.
2. Set up a backup schedule in Titanium Backup. Back up applications and data to an SD card
3. Install Xposed Framework, and then pick a good multi-porpose module like Wanam, and you can highly customize your phone without putting on a third party ROM.
All of these three things are available and easy to find in XDA. They make your experience more powerful, customizable and safer.