Case Study: The Weekly Cost of an iPhone

Case Study: The Weekly Cost of an iPhone

On episode 094 of Hemispheric Views I once again spoke of my (in)famous depreciation spreadsheet.

This is the document that tracks all my spending on larger, technology-related items. Some argue that it's also a document that prevents me from experiencing the joy of a new purchase. I counter-argue suggesting that understanding the value of an item helps me appreciate not just the cost of the gadget, but the opportunity cost of not having that money free to be put to use elsewhere.[1]

During the episode recording I referenced the spreadsheet as I was describing my decision to buy an iPhone 15 Pro. I rattled off some statistics, but Martin (appropriately) suggested I write a blog post that provides the necessary detail. Fun fact: the description of number series are not great content for an audio show.

iPhone Depreciation

Above is a view of my spreadsheet, filtered for iPhone purchases. Unfortunately, I don't have data that extends back to my earliest iPhone purchases, which is a shame I will have to live with.

Interestingly, the first two iPhones appear not to have had a long life with me - although the XR is somewhat distorted because it was a work-provided phone that I purchased from the IT department after already having used it for about 12 months (from memory).

Part of my purchase decision around the 15 Pro was to maximise the remaining value of my 13 mini. If I waited longer, the trade-in value of the older device would only decline. That trade-in value, combined with its two years of service, resulted in the phone being incredibly affordable - costing me $2.76 per week. Removal of the $500 trade-in value jumps this cost of ownership up to $7.36 per week! I'm sure you'd agree that's too high, so the trade-in really changes the metrics on this analysis.

This final cost per week of the 13 mini may change ever so slightly, depending upon the exact date of disposal of the phone. I am currently using the longest delivery estimate of the 15 Pro provided by Apple as my presumptive disposal date.

The other thing to note is just how much more this iPhone 15 Pro is costing me compared with every other iPhone for which I have a record. Clearly, while I'm an Apple-nerd, I'm a frugal Apple-nerd.

Rest assured that I have not lost my sensibilities. I have been saving for a new iPhone for some time. I have a YNAB category dedicated to that sole purpose.

In fact, this is almost the most exciting thing about getting a new iPhone - I get to start saving for my next iPhone, setting aside a little each month so that in a few years, I will have all the money I need set aside in a neat little YNAB category.

Budgeting, combined with a depreciation spreadsheet. It's a winning combination.

[1]: For those that don't know, I completed my University degree in Economics.