Released on November 3, the iPhone X launched as the most expensive smartphone in the world. If you haven’t heard of its $999 price tag, then you may live under a rock. It’s far more likely you’ve agonized over the price of the handset meant to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the very first iPhone. In which case, you’ve probably cycled through adding and removing the X from your Christmas list several times, and you’ve probably looked through your finances to justify making the purchase on your own. If the temptation to upgrade is getting too strong to ignore, consider the alternative ways you could spend nearly a grand. Here are three ways you could better spend your money.
Fly with it
Last year, Business Insider reported on blogger, Elona Karafin, who manages to travel around the world for less than $1,000 each trip. From her native New York, the number of countries she’s visited include Paris, Amsterdam, Dubai, and Bali. Most of her trips rarely exceed a weekend, and her budget covers everything from airfare, accommodations, food, and entertainment.
You can see where her latest travels have taken her by visiting Elona the Explorer, but it would be far more to your advantage to read her posts to see how she does it. As a full-time financial analyst, Elona claims she isn’t independently wealthy. She’s also a recent college grad with student loans, so she isn’t making a ton of money that would simplify travel.
Her tips include buying tickets at the right time. You can nab the cheapest airfare on Tuesdays and Wednesdays — days when airlines typically lower their prices. You can further reduce the cost of your flights by using sites that find the best deals possible, while browsing incognito. This means the site can’t recognize your cookies from an earlier visit, so it doesn’t produce the same fares (which could be higher than what they are at a later viewing). Do it correctly, and you could see an exotic part of the world for the same price as a phone.
Invest with it
It may be boring compared to the latest Apple tech, but the decision to invest $999 has long-term benefits that outlast the average upgrade cycle. Though most investments require a lot of money up-front, you can find low-dollar investments like robo-advisors and ETFs (Exchange Trade Funds) that don’t need a commitment of several thousand dollars. These opportunities offer a better chance at saving for the future than a basic savings account, as the interest and dividends of these investments far surpass any interest you’ll earn elsewhere.
Before you invest the $999, consider your financial situation carefully. If at the time of the X’s release you’re sitting with a lot of consumer debt, paying off the amount you owe is a far better alternative than investing. Unfortunately, it’s not always an easy task. While you can put an iPhone on a credit card, it’s not advisable to use a card to pay off other loans. If this thought crossed your mind, you probably don’t have a grand sitting in your bank account to use against your credit balance or online loans either.
At the beginning, it’s important to readjust your budget to make sure you can cover more than just the minimum payments on your credit cards and cash loans. When you can pay more of what you owe back each payment cycle, you can reduce your interest payments and lower the amount that you repay overall. Once you get a handle on this, upgrade to bigger cutbacks and bigger repayments.
Stream with it
At a time when everyone’s talking about Stranger Things 2, Alias Grace, and Mindhunter, binge-watching is now a socially acceptable past time. Luckily, you don’t need the latest iPhone to consume the next big Netflix original series. By opting to watch your favorite TV show on another device, you could put $999 towards creating the ultimate streaming experience.
In October of 2017, Netflix increased the prices of its monthly subscriptions. Even accounting for this hike, you could afford to subscribe to its premium tier for roughly 71 months — or just shy of six years. Alternatively, you could keep your old subscription and invest in every other streaming service you only wished you could have. The combined cost of the basic subscriptions to HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu is approximately $42 each month. The cost of an iPhone would otherwise fuel your unlimited streaming for nearly two years.
The bottom line
One thousand dollars is a lot of money to spend on a simple smartphone. While Tim Cook and any Apple addict willing to drop their cash on the X will contest the handset is anything but simple, you know better. You can spend $999 on better things. Travel, investments, and streaming are only just the beginning.