Ask the readers – my dilemma

I have a dilemma and I need your help.

Since ditching landline and starting to use a cellphone over 16 years ago, I have never paid for a cellphone. I have always gotten a “free” phone by signing up to a 3 year contract on the cheapest voice & text plan available.

Many moons ago my manager decided that it was time for me to get a work phone. Instead of carrying a personal phone and a work phone, I decided to merge the two together. My personal phone number became my work cell number and work started paying for my monthly cellphone bill. As an added bonus, work would also pay for the fancy cellphones.

I started with a Samsung Galaxy S3 then upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S5.

After roughly 3 years of usage, I’m still using the Galaxy S5 today.

While the phone is still works great, because I don’t use a case, the phone has taken bit of a beating. Despite replacing the battery and back panel earlier this year, I often have to charge it around 3 PM or so after a full day of moderate usage.

I think I am due for an upgrade.

Thanks to one of work’s many cost saving practices, work no longer pays for the full amount of the phone. Rather, work now pays for a set amount of $250 + taxes (works out to $280) and I have to pay for the rest.

I thought I would be able to pick a phone that costs less than $250, and essentially a free phone.

But I was wrong.

Unfortunately under the “corporate” rate, all the phones available are priced higher compared to the same phones available to typical consumers. Furthermore, there’s only a limited selection of phones available.

So I am left with the following choices:

  • iPhone 6s 32 Gb – $270 + taxes
  • iPhone 7 32 Gb – $400 + taxes
  • Galaxy S8 – $490 + taxes
  • Pixel 32 Gb – $400 + taxes

Take out the amount that work will cover below are the amounts I have to pay out-of-pocket for each phone.

  • $22.40 for iPhone 6s
  • $168 for iPhone 7
  • $268.80 for Galaxy S8
  • $168 for Pixel

When I asked friends and co-workers about whether to go with the cheap route and buy an iPhone 6s over a newer phone, below are some of the comments I got.

“But it’s one generation old, the phone is like dinosaur ancient old!”

“Always go with newest and greatest when purchasing electronics, especially phones.”

“You don’t know how long Apple will support iPhone 6s for.”

“The iPhone 7/Pixel/S8 camera is so much better!”

“iPhone 7 is at twice as fast as the iPhone 6s. Go for the performance.”

“S8/Pixel screen is so much better than the iPhone 6s!”

Essentially, everyone I have asked has told me to fork out the extra money to get the latest and greatest phone.

But I do wonder, does it really matter if I go with an older iPhone?

When I purchased my Apple MacBook Pro about 8 years ago I purchased it refurbished, meaning it was one generation older than the newest model. This saved me about 20%.

This was the also case when I purchased a refurbished Apple iMac a couple of years ago. Again this move saved me about 20%.

Similarly, I have been purchasing my DSLRs used. I purchased a used Canon 5D when the Canon 5D Mark II came out. I then purchased a used Canon 5D Mark II when the Canon 5D Mark III came out.

By buying refurbished and used, I have saved a ton of money on electronics.

When I was paying the monthly cellphone bill myself, before I got a work phone, I was using a non-smart phone (aka dumb phone) despite everyone I knew already had a smart phone. I didn’t miss a thing back then.

(The picture above you see was the dumb phone I used, the picture was taken on film using a double exposure technique in case you’re wondering)

So here’s my dilemma – do I go with the cheapest option (i.e. iPhone 6s) or do I fork out $150 or more and get the latest and greatest?

“You’ll still get a new phone and it will be newer than your existing phone.” Mrs. T reminded me the other night.

Cheapo/frugal option vs. spending $150 – $250.

I guess you can probably figure out where I lie on this subject.

What would you choose if you were in my shoes? Do you have a different view than mine?

Written by Tawcan
Hi I’m Bob from Vancouver Canada, I am working toward joyful life and financial independence through frugal living, dividend investing, passive income generation, life balance, and self-improvement. This blog is my way to chronicle my journey and share my stories and thoughts along the way. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter. Or sign up via Newsletter