Personal Finance Spending The Frugal Handbook

TFH #11: Spending Thoughts

Just last week, I dropped $1.1k on a brand new iPhone 13.

I know, I know.

$1.1k? What happened to me being frugal?

To be honest, I’d been dreading the day when I’d need to buy myself a new phone for a long time because I wasn’t looking forward to parting with all that money.

At least, initially.

I’m the type of person who doesn’t like spending money – especially on myself.

Unless I absolutely need or really really want something, I’ll typically hold off on spending that money on myself.

And even if I actually buy something, you can be sure that I found some way(s) to get it at a discount.

With this information about my spending behaviour, you’re probably wondering how on earth I brought myself to spend $1k+ on a phone.

For context, my 4-year old iPhone 8’s battery recently started deteriorating like crazy, draining by ~40% just for leaving it on overnight.

I couldn’t afford to ever leave home without a portable charger, and I always had to make sure my portable charger was charged.

When I was at home, more often than not, my phone would be plugged in, charging.

My phone was on the brink of death and I knew the day I’d been dreading was near.

Thankfully, I started planning for this early enough – since last year.

I knew that I’d probably need to replace my phone in the next 1 – 2 years, so I started setting aside a sum of money that I’d use to fund my new phone.

I set a target of $1.4k for this fund, and after allocating a portion of this year’s angbao money to that fund, I finally achieved it.

So I started researching and comparing the specs and prices of the recent iPhone models.

I eventually decided on getting an iPhone 13 and started monitoring prices.

After getting a good sense of what the price was like, I waited for the next sale campaign and snagged it at a lower-than-average price thanks to upsized vouchers.

At that moment, when I was making the purchase, it was the lowest price I’d seen to date, so I knew it was a good deal.

But a part of me still hesitated.

Do I really need to change my phone now?

Was I really willing to spend $1.1k on a phone?

Is this price really among the lowest out there?

I knew that my answers to all these questions were ‘yes’.

Yet, I hesitated because a part of me was still unwilling to spend that kind of money.

But after I made the taps on my phone to confirm the purchase, those feelings of unwillingness were gradually replaced with excitement.

I was excited to get my new phone and experience how this upgrade was going to improve my quality of life.

No more worrying about how long my phone’s battery was going to last and no longer needing to be reliant on a portable charger.

Not to mention all the improved performance specs that come with a 5-generation model upgrade.

But I think part of this excitement also stemmed from finally ‘treating’ myself to something nice or more luxurious after so long.

I needed a new phone, but did I really need the latest iPhone?

Probably not.

As someone who usually has very tight control over my spending, it felt like some sort of ‘release’ to spend money on something that was more than what I really needed.

What’s even better is that I spent well below the $1.4k budget that I’d originally set aside for this purchase.

Even after accounting for accessories like a phone case and screen protector, the total expenditure was still below $1.2k.

So even though it’s more than what I’d usually like to spend, it’s also less than what I was originally prepared to spend.

Now that I’ve started using my new phone, I can safely say that I have no regrets about making this purchase.

Reflecting on how I initially felt about buying a new phone and spending that sum of money, I realised that I need to change my relationship with money.

I’m not saying that I’ll start spending money for no reason.

But I think it’s important to recognise when we should loosen the reigns on our spending/finances and treat ourselves to something well-deserved.

After all, part of the value of having money is being able to spend it – whether it’s on the people you love or on things that bring you joy.

4 replies on “TFH #11: Spending Thoughts”

Hello, thanks for sharing your experience! It resonated with me. After reading your story pertaining to the purchase of a new iPhone, I realised I need to reflect and re-evaluate my relationship with money.

Nevertheless, do you mind sharing on the vouchers you got for the Apple campaign you shared in your post?

Many thanks!!

Hi, thanks for sharing about the dilemma of getting a new iPhone. I have the exact problem. My current iPhone 8 is draining battery badly despite a new battery replacement months ago and it’s time to get a new phone but the exorbitant price tag of iPhone 13 is putting me off. I can afford it but a major part of me is screaming to make do with the current phone and it’s existing hassles or go for a cheaper phone like Xiaomi etc.
Can you share with me how you manage to buy iPhone 13 at $1.1k so I can follow suit?
Much appreciated!

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