By: Revanche

Uh-oh, involuntary lifestyle inflation

December 21, 2007

Hooboy, I knew that office would be the death of my budget.

We were given Apple iPhones for Christmas. *sigh* It looks ridiculously awesome. It’s shiny, and lovely, and the thought was so very generous. Breathtaking, really. I mean, an iPhone! Not one of us in there could ever have afforded one on our own. But …. there’s a good reason for that.

Upkeep and Maintenance is Unaffordable

I have T-Mobile. My current plan ROCKS. 1000 minutes, and 400 text/picture messages costs $45 a month, and the text messaging is my little splurge. I normally use it to the fullest.

The closest equivalent for just the basic phone and text messenging is 900 minutes and 200 text messages for a total of $60+$10 = $70 pre-tax. That’s half the messages for twice the price, by the way. This doesn’t include any data plans, either. And of course, what’s the point of having an iPhone and no data plan? Well, I’ve lived without it this long, so I don’t consider it essential. I’m just calculating all potential costs.

First Generation Technology is Usually Terrible

I’ve never wanted any first line products because it’s usually got all sorts of bugs and is upgraded within about twelve months, anyway. I don’t like being a technology guinea pig; I lack the necessary tech-geek genes that make me all starry-eyed over brand-spankin’-new to the public gadgets.

Having done my research …

I’m fighting hard to be a gracious gift recipient while resisting the pull of glamorous lifestyle inflation. After all, how gracious will I be when I’m broke after paying bills every month?

1. I can get a 14% discount through my university for AT&T phone plans. I hope it applies to iPhone plans .. they seem to have a lockdown on all kinds of iPhone related discounts. (Meaning, there aren’t any!)

2. I could possibly get the plan through one of those Asian stores that give you a bonus on just activating a plan without taking a phone. I’ve never used them before, but a friend of a friend might be able to help me out.

3. The office has offered to pay my early termination fee, and for any skin or case or holster that I want. Also, they’ll pay for an extra travel charger since I’m neurotic about leaving my one and only charger at home on business trips.

6 Responses to “Uh-oh, involuntary lifestyle inflation”

  1. Sick of Debt says:

    I’d say sell it and pocket the money. No need to have involuntary lifestyle inflation. Something that expensive I’d be worried about breaking or having it stolen.

    I so much prefer offices that just give you a financial Christmas bonus instead. No need for guilt for returning the item.

  2. E.C. says:

    Yikes, what a dilemma. It was nice of them to give you a shiny new tech toy, but if using it means paying your hard earned money for something you didn’t really want, then it doesn’t do you a lot of good. It sounds like selling/returning the iPhone and waiting a few years for this sort of thing to become more reasonably priced is your best option.

  3. I know you did alot of research into making this work, but I agree with the earlier commenters…sell the thing. That’s alot of extra money for a service that you’re already happy with currently.

  4. Bart says:

    That’s a hard one. When iPhones first came out I was in love, but couldn’t justify the extra costs involved. I stayed with Sprint, got $100 off my bill for doing so, kept the monthly 24% discount (through work), and got a new free phone for me and the wife. It was too much of a good deal to stick with Sprint to justify the iPhone (not to mention the fact that I really wouldn’t use it as much as I like to think I would).

    I agree with the other comments. It doesn’t seem like you’re really excited enough about the iPhone to justify the extra costs involved. Good luck resolving the situation.

  5. ~sick of debt~ To be fair, the office DID give me a Christmas bonus, I just put it all towards taxes (20%), savings (60%) and expenses (20%). It’ll only cover a couple of car payments, but it does bring me VERY close to my emergency fund goal for the year.

    ~e.c., sense to dollars, bart~

    Thanks for your input, everyone. I wish that reselling/returning was an option, but the office culture is such that it’s not. Also, Little Boss had to sign contracts stating that no phones would be resold. I don’t know if they track that.

    Yes, Little Boss mentioned that they had gift receipts, but in the same breath said that he’d like to see me using it. I understand some of his passive-aggressive ways now, and it’s a bit of a test of whether or not I’m willing to conform to the office culture.

    I WILL have the benefit of having the termination fee and accessories paid for, and a $50 monthly stipend to help with the bill. I could start with the cheapest plan available first ($60), and then upgrade to the next level if absolutely necessary ($80). It’s not ideal, but I should be receiving that $50 stipend for at least the length of the contract. *I hope*

  6. Too bad you can’t sell the phone! It’s nice to be given such a fancy gadget but alas it comes with strings attached. Hope everything works out!

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