Apple’s done it again. This week’s launch of the tech giant’s newest gadgets – the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch — will likely be its biggest ever. Early reviews of the 6th generation models are positive, living up to the sleek and promising announcement by CEO Tim Cook.
And if you’re anything like me, you need one.
OK, so you don’t need one. Nobody needs an iPhone 6, really. In fact, the 5th generation models are still available and much more affordable now, but you know what I mean. You want it. You crave it. You feel as though its presence in your life would streamline everything, despite your better judgment.
Or maybe it’s not an iPhone 6 at all, but a nice watch or a pair of expensive shoes that are just out of reach financially.
Depending on your commitment and expenses, you can make enough room in your budget to afford that bad boy, no matter what it is. And heck, if you can afford it without going broke or missing your bills, you’ve earned it, right? So here’s how to form a (very) short-term savings plan for something you want really badly, even if you don’t necessarily need it.
Our example is the iPhone 6, but this savings plan can be applied to any luxury item that costs between $200 and $500 – a price range just out of reach for most consumers living paycheck to paycheck.
1. Analyze your budget.
Where does your disposable income go? Concerts, dining out, travel? Look critically at where your excess money goes and determine the areas you’re willing to trim. If you don’t have a lot of disposable income, this gets trickier. Groceries and clothing expenses might be a good start – coupons are a great way to save on grocery expenses you can’t eliminate. As for clothing, try shopping from clearance racks or skipping new clothes altogether for a couple of months.
2. Calculate how long you need to save.
You know that if $50 a month is all you can squeeze out of your budget, it’ll take you a while to get there. On the other hand, if you’re willing to stop going out for a month, you may be able to get there very quickly. That’s not very much fun, though, and most people will want to save a moderate amount, like $100 to $150 per month. Perfect – you’ll be able to afford your iPhone 6 right around the time when the last of the pre-orders ship in late October if you’re OK with the cheapest model. Otherwise, you can have a model with more memory by December.
3. Find a place to put the money.
Even though this is a very short-term savings plan and you don’t stand to gain much in the way of interest, it’s best not to store the extra money right there in your bank account. It’s just far too easy to spend on something less important than an iPhone 6. If you already have a savings account, especially one from which you can easily transfer money to your checking account, that’s a great place to keep it earmarked. Otherwise this is the one time it’s OK to keep cash in a coffee can labeled “tree house fund” as an adult. Or, you know, in a safe or something.
4. Stick to the plan.
If you say you’re going to eat dinner out one less night per week, stick to that. If you decided to lower grocery costs, start clipping those coupons and searching for “recipes on a budget” online. Don’t buy any smaller luxury items until your coveted iPhone (or designer dress, or front-row seat ticket) is in hand.
In just a couple months’ time, your sacrifices will pay off and you’ll have that really cool thing you don’t need in your possession. You’ll then be free to get on with your life – just don’t show off your new toy too much.
Apple Watch image via Apple.