For the longest time I considered smartphones as just a toy of the kind, but I finally saw the light. They are a necessity, just like your car, your home Internet or other expenses – and you should budget for upgrades accordingly.
Your smartphone is not a toy, even if you play it
You're probably playing games on your smartphone and using it to socialize or watch YouTube videos, but these are really just secondary features. Think of all the tasks that you do on your phone that are actually important.
You use this feature to call and write to family and friends to keep in touch. They use the camera to take pictures of their children or pets in order to have lasting memories. You can even use your phone partially for business purposes – and no matter how you feel about your phone and possibly being connected to the office, it's a really useful tool.
Damn, your phone may be your only option to go online if you do not even have a computer that's actually becoming more frequent than you might think
Depending on how you use your phone, it could possibly be one of yours being the most important possessions, so it's time to actually see it as such.
You Need to Budget for Smartphone Upgrades
I try to live a frugal life (and sometimes it's too bad sometimes), but I have a monthly budget, and in this budget I give a percentage of my paycheck just for things which I absolutely have to pay, either regularly (mortgage, bills, subscriptions, etc.) or sometime in the future (car repairs, home improvement, etc.)
 I just leave things that are not needed Instead, everything left over after deducting the necessary expenses is spent as freely available money that I can spend on everything I want. And when that ends, I just can not eat anymore.
Most smartphone upgrades have been in this discretionary category for a long time. Also, I've always thought about upgrading my smartphone as if it was just something that was always available to me when I had the extra money for it. I never had a financial plan when my current phone broke down or just got so old it was not usable anymore.
In other words, I have a financial plan for the time when my car goes down or I have to buy a new one, so why not have a similar plan for my smartphone? I work from home and use my smartphone more often a day than my car, so why not care so much about the importance of the phone?
So, what can you do?
I'm not saying that every year should buy the latest and greatest smartphone when a new one comes out – not everyone needs or can afford to buy a flagship phone for the flagship phone.
What I'm saying is that your current smartphone will eventually be broken and the new technology is constantly improving, so you've reserved money for a new phone to replace it or update it when that time come from? If not, you should start budgeting for the future day today if your phone lands on the floor of a parking deck, or if you want the latest and greatest smartphone camera to capture 4K baby videos.
How should you do that? How you budget and distribute your money is up to you, but here are some pretty easy ways to approach smartphone budgeting:
- The best and easiest thing is to put a certain amount of money into a savings account each month. The amount depends on how much you want to spend on a new phone and how often you plan to upgrade. So if you want to keep a $ 500 limit on a used phone every two years, you should save about $ 21 a month. Of course, if you want to buy brand new models, you will spend more, so you need to spend a little more money each month. You get the essentials.
- Benefit from a good 0% financing agreement. This is actually what I did when I decided to upgrade to the iPhone Xs from the iPhone 6s. But of course, there is nothing easier and less stressful than having the money to pay for a new phone in advance and not having to worry about making payments. If you use a 0% port, make sure your payments match what you would have saved for a phone this month anyway.
- Sign up for an updater. Most major carriers offer a kind of upgrade program, just like Apple. You finance it technically, but you pay a monthly fee and you get an upgrade each year to the new iPhone (or whatever new smartphone) as long as you enter your old device. They usually cost a bit more than a mere 0% financing agreement for bundled AppleCare or other insurance.
If you end up going the 0% funding route, you can do what I plan to do and pay your phone in 18 months (or how long the term is), but continue to save that monthly payment on your savings account. Then, in another 18 months, you will have the money to rebuild the phones without dealing with banks and financings. It will also save you from losing your credit report.
Become familiar with the plan that makes you feel most comfortable. The real point here is: Treat your smartphone like an investment in better photos, a smoother experience and access to the latest technology, and repair yourself financially when the time comes when you need to upgrade phones. Now set up a personal plan, so if your cell phone bites or you desperately want a phone that does not feel like an old potato, then you have a place in the office for it.