#78 iPhone X - Luxury Inflation Is Out Of Control

The iPhone X (10) goes on pre-sale on Friday (Oct 27, 2017). It's an iPhone that is ALL DISPLAY. It's really a thing of beauty.

"A physical object that disappears into the experience" - Jony Ive

It's got wireless charging and face recognition technology for animated emoji's of your facial expressions (animoji's) and unlocking the phone with your face (Face ID).

I'm currently using the iPhone 6s and it's working well still. Back in 2015, I bought it brand new from the Apple store for $1057.77 unlocked with no contract on Fido. If I were to trade it into Apple today I would get a measly $240 for it. I see on kijiji it's listed for $520. So I could get anywhere between 25% to 50% of the original price of my phone after 2 years of use. In other words, each day of use has cost me 75 cents to $1.13.

How much is the new iPhone X?

The 64 GB version is $1490 after tax and the 256 GB version is $1728. 

Yikes!

Luxury inflation is out of control. Even if I got top dollar for my iPhone 6s I would still be paying almost $1000 out of pocket for the same 64 GB version.

The alternative is to get a 2-year contract with a locked phone for $678 after tax. I would be paying $22.50 more per month for my plan which is $540 over 2 years. So total cost is $1218, a $272 savings over buying the phone unlocked from Apple.

I Would Buy It If My Phone Died Today

I love Apple. I'm a shareholder of Apple. I have 5 apple products at home. I'm looking forward to the HomePod expected to be available in December. But if you ask me today if I will buy an iPhone X, the answer would be no.

Don't get me wrong, I want it. I just cannot justify the purchase today.

My current iPhone 6s is in perfectly good working order, the battery is still working like new, and it provides all the necessary functionality I need when it comes to having a supercomputer in my pocket. If it was on its "last legs", like my previous iPhone 5 was when I traded up in 2015, then the story would be different.

Flashback to 2015, my iPhone 5 battery would be fully charged at 7 AM and by the time I got to work at 7:30 AM it would be at 40%. I was a "wall hugger" for 6 months waiting for the iPhone 6s to be available. It's amazing what a difference your quality of life suffers from just the battery life.

I will probably be able to wait for iPhone Xs or 11. I'm only at the 2-year mark. If I can get another 1-2 years out of my 6s I would be very happy. I'll let my $1500 stay invested for a little longer. 

Luxury Inflation

Everything you buy doesn't have to be top of the line. You have to be selective and rational, and intentional with what you choose to spend a premium on.

For me, it's Apple products. But I'm still rational about how often I will buy or upgrade. As you can tell I drove my iPhone 5 into the ground before making the switch. And I will do the same with my iPhone 6s.

I know most people will look at the iPhone X price and choose a cheaper option, like an iPhone 8 or 7, which are retailing for much less. And for those willing to jump off of the Apple ecosystem, you have a lot of Android phone options for much much less. But I'm not leaving Apple, not yet.

I'm one of the people that has been sucked into the ecosystem of Apple, not just because I love the brand and what it stands for, but because my family all use Apple. It makes it easier to communicate with each other now that we don't live in the same city. FaceTime is a big one for us. Being able to see my parents, and my brother's kids grow up, is that important for me. My wife is able to make long distance calls to Taiwan with FaceTime and FaceTime audio to talk with her grandparents, sister and parents every week. 

It's a luxury to have this convenience. I know it and Apple knows it. That's why they can raise the price and people will still buy. 

If you are like me and value certain luxuries, you have to be aware of luxury inflation. The price of luxury items like iPhones will increase at a faster rate than the rest of your spending. You can combat this in two ways.

1. Save more on things that you find less important.

For me, I cut out a car (for now) because I am more happy walking and content with taking public transit. I don't have a TV and therefore don't pay for cable. I also don't drink alcohol very often. I shop at discount grocery stores because I don't care how people will judge me. I also don't buy pop and candy anymore. Each of these things on their own (except for the car), won't really add up to much, but done all together has made a HUGE IMPACT to my ability to save for my retirement as well as for luxury purchases like my future iPhone.

Consider this example. We save about $40-$50 a week on groceries because we shop at a discount grocery store and buy mostly on-sale items. Saving $0.50 to $1 on each piece of produce and $3-$5+ on meat adds up really fast especially when you're shopping cart has 15-20+ items. The savings totals around $2000 a year. There's an iPhone X, plus some extra.

2. Make more money

This blog is not about making more money. There are many resources about making more money. But I will say this. Many people find making more money is hard because they have just one source of income and it is based on how many hours they work. Or they are salary based, so they cannot necessarily work more to make more.

If you start a side business, or start investing your savings, or buy real estate (either an investment property or your own personal home), you can build multiple sources of income and investment growth. Multiple sources of income gives you options. I read about a woman who has seven sources of income. She doesn't make a lot from any of them, but together she makes enough to live a good life. 

While you are figuring out how to make more money, in the meantime, Save Money by being intentional. Put your money to work for you in investments, then you can Retire Early and still enjoy the finer things in life, like buying a $1500 iPhone.

 

Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something, change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.

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2 comments

Jon@SaveMoneyRetireEarly

That’s a great strategy actually. Buying older generation phones. The iPhone 7 is $739+tax = $835 and an iPhone 6s is $599+tax = $677.
Still above your price range of $200, but half price of the iPhone X

Jax@ProjectBeachLife

$1700 for a PHONE?! Wowza, that is out of control. I have only really ever had iPhones, but I buy 2 generations behind. Yeah, that means I don’t have all the bells and whistles, but even so I have more than I need. I try to pay $200 or less for my phones when I need them, and even $200 seems outrageous to spend on a phone (even though I use it all day every day for so many things.)

I won’t be getting an iPhone X any time soon, but definitely wouldn’t turn one down if someone gave it to me :)

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