The Age of the $1,000 Smartphone

I for one am all about cool new gadgetry and technology. I keep a steady pulse on a number of tech blogs and sites to see what is coming next, what cool features we can all expect out of our next smartphone in its next iteration. There are some incredible innovations and technologies being rolled out every week it seems.

I’ve always been an early adopter, one of the first to purchase and embrace these new flashy devices. Back in high school, I think I had one of the first iPod Mini’s (you know, the one with the aluminum body and the black and white screen. Yeah, soooo retro!). Later I got one of the first Verizon smartphones that spearheaded the move to 3G data. It was a slider phone, the Motorola Droid! Remember those commercials, “Droid Does”? Quite the ad campaign.

I am all about the latest and greatest. But I think this is also a time for a reality check.

I just hopped on Apple’s website to spec out an iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage. $1,449 for that bad boy. Oh, and you should probably get Apple Care since you wouldn’t want such a big “investment” to get busted or stolen. So that will tack on $299. Wow, we are looking at a $1,748 phone. You’ll probably want a case too, right? And maybe some Bluetooth headphones since these super advanced phones don’t have a headphone jack anymore… what are we at, $2,000 now?

Maybe you have the means to spend $1,000 to $2,000 on a phone every year or two (don’t get me started on what the plans cost these days for unlimited data that isn’t really unlimited at all). I don’t have that kind of money, and unless you make six figures a year I would argue that you might not be able to afford it either.

I think companies like Samsung and Apple are trying to find what the threshold of insanity is on the price of a flagship smartphone. If I were them as a business, I would keep pushing the price up until sales slump. Hell, even if they slump a few percentage points at these prices, they are still making an absolute killing. Don’t let them take your hard earned money!

What do you do 99% of the time with your phone? Text regularly, check social media, check your bank balance (if you don’t, it’s a good time to start 🙂 ), maybe read a few articles, maybe take a couple of pictures.

I think for me, I had to come to the realization that is unreasonable to pay the asking price for these new phones. It’s ludicrous. Probably about a year ago, I picked up a used iPhone 6S for $180. I paid cash for it and have not made a phone payment since. It has a large screen, great for reading and checking email, watching my Denver Broncos highlights (let’s be real it’s been a rough year), the camera works really well when I need it, I replaced the battery at Apple for $29, so it is just as fast and lasts just as long as the day it came off the shelf. It is a great phone, and it cost a fraction of what these new phones cost. Ah, and mine does have a headphone jack. Nice!

Phones and cell plans can be a huge drag to you meeting your financial goals. Do you really need the latest and greatest to scroll your Instagram feed? Is it just a status thing? Maybe take stock of why the newest phone feels like a need when indeed it is a want. With a little shopping around for a nice, lightly used phone, and some more shopping for a good discount service provider (I’d be happy to give you advice on finding both!), you could save hundreds of dollars every year. Maybe even $1,000. No joke! I’ll leave you with some math since I’m making that a bit of a theme here in my  writing:

Scenario A / Lowest end iPhone XS 64GB on 24 month payment plan: ~$50.00/month

Add that to the lowest end “unlimited” individual plan from Verizon: ~$75.00/month before taxes and fees

Monthly cost for Scenario A: $50 + $75 = $125/mo. times 24 months = $3,000/2 yrs.

Scenario B / Used iPhone 6S Plus paid in cash divided by 24 months: $7.50/month

Add to that a 10GB/month plan from MintMobile: ~$25.00/month

Monthly cost for Scenario A: $7.50 + $25.00 = $32.50/mo. times 24 months = $780/2 yrs.


Scenario B would save you $2,220 over the course of 2 years. That’s a 74% savings. Astronomical savings.

Let me know if you want to learn more about these discount MVNO’s for phone service on the cheap, or if you don’t know where to start getting a used phone. I’d be happy to help you start saving today!

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