KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Is a new phone worth going into debt for?

Oct 18, 2022, 10:43 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Do we really need to plunk down $800 to well over $1,000 for the latest incarnation of the iPhone? Many early adopters — people who must have the latest and greatest right now — will tell you yes. But the costs of adopting early are considerable.

Ahhh, that new iPhone smell — just one of the joys of owning the latest and greatest, and for that, people are willing to pay big money. In fact, one in five people polled by financial website WalletHub, say the new iPhone is worth going into debt for. And for more than a third of those surveyed, their phone is their most valuable possession.

“Now more than ever, we’re really tethered to our phones,” WalletHub’s Jill Gonzalez said. “We have more people working from home remotely, so they need it, not only for leisure activities, but also for business. People are really feeling the need to not only have a great phone but to have the newest and most up-to-date phone.”

Perception is also driving people to upgrade, Gonzalez said. One in five thinks if you’re not using the newest iPhone, then you’re obviously struggling to make ends meet.

“Yeah, people now are becoming a little bit more ‘judgy’ when it comes to upgrading or not upgrading,” she said.

But if you do need the latest iPhone, you can save considerable moolah by switching to a budget carrier.

“Some are actually on the very same networks,” Gonzalez said about budget carriers that often use the same infrastructure as the Big Three — Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Take Visible — a budget carrier that gives you access to Verizon’s network. An iPhone 14’s cost for two years on Visible’s plan runs $1,513, $1,105 cheaper than Verizon at $2,618.

And many networks do offer credit towards a new phone if you trade-in your old phone that could be worth hundreds of dollars. Another way to save some cash and still sport a relatively new model of iPhone is to buy a refurbished device. Apple sells them, as does Best Buy, Amazon and others.

But if you can withstand the public scorn: two more years using the ol’ iPhone 13 on Visible can save you $1,934 compared to using the latest iPhone on Verizon. Something to consider as an alternative to going in the red.

“Actual needs like housing, food, and gas to get to work — those things are possibly worth getting into debt for,” Gonzalez said. “We don’t have a choice in terms of how much they’re costing us due to inflation.”

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Gephardt Busts Inflation: Is a new phone worth going into debt for?