How to Avoid the Cell Phone Upgrade Trap

Earlier this year, I had been craving a new iPhone, but I decided against the investment.  I remember looking down at my iPhone 4 smiling, as I thought about the marketing genius in convincing people to purchase a new phone every year.  Many people around the world upgrade their phones every 1-2 years.  Each upgrade costs anywhere between $200-$300 to have the latest and greatest model.

Currently, I am not under contract.  However, about 6 months before my contract ended, I was anxiously awaiting the end of my 2-year contract, and counted down the days until I could qualify for the upgrade special.  At the time, I was convinced that my phone needed to be replaced because it was “old”.  When the day finally came, I called my phone company excited about the possibility of getting a brand new iPhone.  I could finally join the club.  However, when I realized that the phone would cost me between $200-$300 depending on the phone that I wanted, I started to waver in my desire for a phone.

I debated getting a new phone for days.  Sometimes I thought, “Why not?  I had been waiting months to get a new phone and the day had finally come.  Join the club! Get the phone.”  However, other days I would think, “How can I rationalize spending $200-$300 when my phone works perfectly fine?”  Then, I thought about how spending that much would negatively impact my financial goals.  Ultimately, the frugal in me won, and I decided to keep my phone.  Luckily for me, I was able to detach the DESIRE and WANT for a new phone versus a NEED.

However, how many people are unable to resist the urge?  Phones have become a status symbol.  The newer your phone is, the cooler you appear.  It’s like an exclusive club.  When a new iPhone is launched, many people sit around and talk about their upgrade experience.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my iPhone like the next person, but at what point does the continuous upgrade not make sense between the actual phone cost and the replacement of the chargers since the cord changed?  At what point does the access to the club cost more than the benefit it yields?  Think before you buy.  Force yourself to justify why you need to replace the phone.

Whatever you decide, once you have a phone, be sure to follow these 2 simple tips to make your phone last.

  1. Put a protective case on the phone – Nothing spells danger more than an unprotected phone with a screen that will shatter when dropped
  2. Keep away from water – This is self-explanatory.  Electronics + water = No Bueno

Alternatively, if you do decide that you have to have the new phone, try to sell your phone to sites like Craig’s List.  The money that you make on Craig’s List will allow you to offset the cost of a new phone.  However, always remember to erase the memory before you hand it over!

Share your strategies with me!  What are your feelings towards the constant phone upgrade?

Aisha Taylor is a #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle”, and the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal). FNPhenomenal helps women to break the vicious cycle of making money, but not keeping it. FNPhenomenal provides education about money management, empowers women to take control of their lives, develop a healthier relationship with money, and pursue being phenomenal.

Visit Aisha online at www.FNPhenomenal.com
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