Should You Spend $1,000 or More on A New Smartphone? The Journey of Buying a New Phone in 2020.

This is not the first time we have tackled buying smartphones. It is something nearly all of us (there are still a few that not only do not have a smartphone, but a cell phone at all!) will buy. We also don’t want to sacrifice on quality since it is something we will use everyday. So is it wise then to spend $1,000 or more every year (or two) on a smartphone? You can read our other article for how we think a smartphone purchase should be made and offer some tips as well. In this article we want to cover why we are willing to spend so much on phones, and if we could use that money differently. 

DISCLAIMER- Do not take the mindset that you can make your smartphones monthly payment instead of just buying your phone outright. You still need to look at the total cost. This is one thing debt has caused us to do is to only consider if we can make the monthly payments. You convince yourself that it is only $10 more a month and you can afford that, but over the course of 2 years that is $240 to your total cost. Remember to look at the total price and not the monthly payment.

While more and better cameras are a good thing, how many do you really need and how often will you use those extra features?
Photo by Gian Cescon on Unsplash


What do you get in an upgrade?- If you are going to put out $1,000 for anything you should be getting back something worthwhile and of good quality. While there are some innovations in smartphones that are meaningful and may actually help you, the biggest upgrade in phones these days is in the camera. Unless you are using your phone as a professional photographer or someone who either for their business or blog relies on high resolution photos, to the average person a phones camera from 2 to even 3 years ago would be perfectly suitable. Which leads us to our next question…


Why do you even want to upgrade?- Just because something is new and “everyone else has it” does not necessarily mean that you need it. If you can think of a way that a new phone could do something differently that your current phone does not and you would use that thing every day, that is a pretty good justification. Or if there is something your current phone is doing that is stopping you from doing other things or be productive because it goes slow or there is not enough space and you are constantly moving files around, those could be some other reasons. If you honestly and objectively looked at your phone though, we bet whatever the new phone can do, your old phone can do 90% of those things as well. This used to not be the case, but times have changed. 
I use it everyday! Isn’t that not a good enough reason to upgrade?- We believe that if you are going to go all in on buying something especially if it is a large amount, then yes you should use it often. With smartphones though, if you could get a phone that is almost as good as a new one for almost half the cost, and lose almost nothing in the process, that seems like a good trade off in our opinion. 

We are heading back to smaller form factor for smartphones.
Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash


Maybe smartphones are not the one device to rule all- When smartphones first came out we wanted something small that fit into our pocket. Now we have phones that are just an inch or two smaller than an 8 inch tablet. That is crazy! We have fold-able phones that literally turn your phone into a mini tablet and cost $1,500+. If that is the direction we are going in, then shouldn’t we realize that maybe our phones are not the best thing to do everything on? Some of the confusion with minimalism and essentialism is that you just have to keep cutting down no matter what. That’s not that the point though. The goal in this case is to get to a place where what you have works, you think more clearly, and you can do more quickly. Most people think their phone should do everything for them, but then it does nothing for them and becomes overwhelming. If our phones are supposed to “connect” us to people by calling and messaging, why do we spend so much time just scrolling through social media or checking email? We think a secondary device like a tablet or good old laptop/desktop setup is probably better than making your phone do everything. Some things are just not suited for a phone. Certain websites don’t load probably, apps are limited and the browser/desktop application has more features, or the fact that typing on a keyboard is still faster than typing on a touchscreen keyboard. 

Nothing beats a desktops bigger screen size and full size keyboard than using a smartphone. You can make the same argument for laptops and they also have the portability factor.
Photo by Gunnar Sigurðarson on Unsplash


We love smartphones and technology at Cents of Time and fully believe that when technology is used right, it can make us more productive, make us more connected in a good way, and give us back our time. However, we need to set up these guidelines and boundaries and practice self discipline, otherwise we let our phones control us. In doing this our expectations of our smartphones decrease too and the need to spend as much on them helps cure that itch to have the latest and greatest. If you are thinking about upgrading or buying a new smartphone and you think it is the right purchase, great! We would just ask yourself these three questions before making your purchase. 

  1. What will this phone do for me tomorrow that my current phone can not do today? Make sure you know your why.
  2. If I could change anything about my current phone, what would make it better or have me like it more? Sometimes a factory reset refreshes your phone and your opinion of it. It’s like getting a new phone without getting a new phone! 
  3. If I did spend this money on a new $1,000 smartphone, what am I not spending it on instead? If I spent just $500, what could I spend the other $500 on? This is the trade off we need to consider with all expensive purchases. 

Good luck on your journey to purchasing a new smartphone if that is what you deem the best thing to do! 

3 Comments

  1. I like this statement: “The goal in this case is to get to a place where what you have works, you think more clearly, and you can do more quickly. ” because it sums up the goal very well.

    Taking the time to think through a major purchase is prudent. “The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money.” — Warren Buffett

    I changed my iPhone’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

  2. I like the last 3 questions to ask yourself, especially if you chose this option, what are you not choosing? It has become more of the norm to accept the upgrade no matter what, because “why not?” To your point that sometimes you end up paying more over the years and really weigh if that choice is worth it to you.
    Informative post!

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