This post was originally written in 2016 but updated with current information in 2017.

I love the iPhone

There are certain things that I drool over and that the geek in me strongly desires – like Apple products and Tesla cars. I have to be very conscious and purposeful in NOT buying these things because they are very obvious “wants” and not “needs”, and because my blow-money budget is nowhere near the amount needed for either one. I do enjoy looking at them though (sometimes daily) and thinking about how nice it would be to have the new iPad, or what it would be like to drive a Tesla in ludicrous mode.

One of the things that helps me resist the purchases, besides just my extreme cheapness (frugality), is that I know something even cooler is right around the corner. If I buy the new iPhone now, I know they’re going to announce an even newer one, with some must-have feature, in less than a year. And then I’ll be sitting around with iPhone envy – just like I am now.

At some point in time though there are situations where upgrading makes sense. Well, it may never “make sense” for me to get a Tesla, but it might for a new iPhone.

Delaying upgrades

Saving Money on Apple iPhoneCurrently I have the iPhone 5 (yes, this is 2016 and yes, I mean “5”, not even the “5s”) and with the announcement expected of the iPhone 7 in June, I will officially be four versions behind the current model. So my thoughts are to wait and purchase the new iPhone when it is available later this year. I’ve had this current phone since 2012 and I’m looking forward to a phone that is faster, has a way better camera, and improved battery power.

[2017 update: I purchased the iPhone 7 and I love it! I do plan to hold this for several years though and likely won’t upgrade again until I’m four versions behind again.]

Speaking of battery power… the battery in my iPhone 5 just started acting up two days ago. I have been charging it to 100% every morning like usual – which used lasts me into the evening and sometimes all the way through the night. But the past couple of days the battery has been draining so fast that it goes from 100% in the morning to less than 50% about an hour later. And it seems to drop even faster after that. It also seems to be taking longer to charge – like it is draining itself rapidly while also trying to refill itself. Very strange, but hey, the battery is four years old and I know (because I am a bit of a technology geek) that batteries don’t last forever.

[2017 update: Since my current phone is so new, I haven’t run into battery issues yet. I see that there are replacement batteries for sale online though, so people are experiencing this same situation over time even with newer phones.]

Stress. That’s what I start to feel. I know Apple is going to announce a new phone in about a month, but I can’t go on like this because the phone is almost unusable. I’d probably be happy with the iPhone 6s, especially if there aren’t any surprise announcements next month beyond the current rumors, but what if Apple drops the price on the 6s at the announcement event? That means I’ll have “wasted” $100 even if I love the phone. About this: I did check Apple’s site and they have price protection but only for a week – so that’s no good for me.

Adding life to my iPhone

iPhone 5 Battery Replacement-minWhile spending some time on Google searching for other people who have the same battery issue, I stumbled across a couple of sites where people described swapping-out their batteries. I knew this was technically possible but didn’t think it was something for an average consumer to do. But there are YouTube videos showing the process and it looks super-simple. So I then started looking for replacement iPhone 5 batteries online and found a number of kits on Amazon that include not only a battery but also the tools needed to do the replacement and detailed instructions. Wow. So I wound up buying this battery replacement kit for about $25. Yes, seriously, only $25.

I was sure I was going to have to spend $650 on a new iPhone – or slightly less for a used older model but if I spend hundreds on a phone, I’d want something current so that it lasts a nice long time for me and minimizes my desire for new features (and my FOMO – fear of missing out). But now that I have the battery issue addressed, for only $25, I can wait longer and make a better decision on what to buy and when. Making purchases under stress or pressure is financially dangerous. Removing that stress factor gives me back control of the situation, and that’s exactly what I wanted.

[2017 update: There are a lot of replacement battery options for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s out also. Some of these are even sold for under $10! Talk about a deal! If you can extend the life of your iPhone for such a low amount – why not do it?? Here is a link to the Amazon search results for iPhone 6 replacement battery.]

Consider all your options

This experience has reminded me to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and spend some time considering all options before making a purchase decision. Removing stressors puts you in the driver’s seat and gives some control and leverage that will not only help you make better purchasing decisions, but also gives you some pricing leverage. When you aren’t feeling pressured into a fast purchase you can take your time to look for the best deals. You can also communicate your lack of pressure to the sales person and let them know you’re looking for a discount or benefit of some sort to earn your business with them. If they can’t make a deal, you can walk away and wait for a deal to happen – or find a deal through another source.

“Making purchases under stress or pressure is financially dangerous.”

It’s nice to have options and control over your purchasing decisions. I hope this personal adventure helps if you find yourself in a similar situation. If you have a story like this, or have helpful tips along this same line, please share in the comments below so we can all work together to maximize our money.