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Why I bought the iPhone 4S

As I’m sure many of you know from Twitter, I went out and bought the iPhone 4S on Friday. Everybody was talking about those crazy line-ups. Well, I just strolled into the store in Metrotown, and 10 minutes later, came out with the 32GB (white).

Now, I was originally going to agree to a contract extension with Rogers Wireless in order to get the iPhone at a discounted price. But after checking my hardware eligibility, as well as the Early Cancelation Fee for service (ECF) and the Data Early Cancelation Fee (DECF), I decided to buy my iPhone directly from the Apple store, unlocked, and for full price.

Meaning, I just dropped $838.88 ($749 + tax) on a cell phone.

Here’s why:

First, it was a given that I was going to buy the new iPhone. I knew that months ago. And I don’t care what anyone says, I was really impressed with the features of the 4S. I have no idea what the 5 will be like (I’m sure it will be amazing), but I don’t see myself upgrading again for a really long time. This phone is my birthday present to myself, and it is my reward to myself for what I would consider to be a really productive year – both personally and professionally.

Back in Fall 2009, I started my quest to get the iPhone 3GS, and in January 2010, I bought it for $299 and agreed to a 3-year contract which takes me to February 1, 2013. Meaning, I’m about mid-way through my contract.

In order to upgrade to the 4S with Rogers, I would have to agree to a new 3-year contract (taking me to October 2014) and pay: $319 (for the phone) + $150 (Early Upgrade Fee) + $35 (Admin Fee) = $504 + tax

It hardly seemed worth it, considering an unlocked phone directly from Apple (with no contract) was only $245 more.

If I decided to buy the phone with Rogers and agree to the new 3-year term, my Early Cancelation Fee would reset back to the maximum of $400, and the Data Early Cancelation Fee would be back at $100. PLUS, the plan that I have no longer exists anymore, and is still cheaper than all of the data plans available on the Rogers website for new customers. So I’d most likely lose out on that too.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up for another 3-year contract. But to be honest, I don’t know where I’m going to be 3 years from now. Scary, but true. And I’d rather pay a bit more to not have to worry about a cell phone contract for the next 3 years of my life. Plus, it seems like paying full price for the phone will be cheaper in the long run, than paying $504 plus the ECF and DECF should I choose to get out of the contract before the 3 years is up.

Still, $838.88 is a lot of money and is not to be taken lightly. Even though I use my phone a lot for business purposes, my old phone worked fine (I’m passing it down to my boyfriend). But if you know me at all in real life, you will know how important my iPhone has become to me. Because I’m so busy, it helps keep me organized, and I’m on it constantly.

After I crunched all of the numbers, I knew the final decision would come down to whether it was worth the money to me. And it is. I have the money in savings to pay for the phone in cash, and none of my other financial goals will suffer because of it. I have no debt, aside from my mortgage, and I am running a profitable side business. Still, typical of me, I feel a bit guilty for spending so much on a want, not a need. So, just to make myself feel a bit better, I took on a couple of extra writing contracts (that I normally wouldn’t take) over the next few weeks which will more than make up the value of the phone. All of that money will go to replace the money I took out of savings.

And there you have it – my story on how I spent $838.88 on a phone. :) I played with it a lot over the weekend, and I’m extremely impressed with iMessage, the new camera, HD video recording, and Siri. I can see myself using Siri a lot, actually.

Did you upgrade to the iPhone 4S?

The end of summer is near

Well, I am squeezing one last trip out of the summer – this coming long weekend, I am headed to Tofino! I haven’t been there in a few years, so I’m really looking forward to it – even if we’re only going to be spending one night camping We also plan on heading down to Victoria to spend a night in the city. It will probably be my last time home until Christmas.

It won’t be a cheap vacation – trips to the island never are. But, we will be staying with relatives one night in Nanaimo, camping in Tofino, and then staying at my parents house in Victoria for the other night, so at least our accommodation expenses will be kept to a minimum.

Here’s the breakdown I’m expecting:

Travel expenses:
$76 ferry & 2 passengers (one way)
$60 gas

$25 food & miscellaneous
$10 camping fee

$100 Wild Play ($48.15 x2)
$100 miscellaneous

TOTAL: $371

Wild Play is a high ropes course that we will be doing with Cupcakes and Cash. I budgeted paying for Nic too, since it was my idea. I did it last summer, and it was a blast, so I’m really excited to attempt it again. Other than that, we have a few meals planned with my friends, and a bunch of wandering around the city. Fingers crossed for good weather!

After this trip, I’m kind of excited for my travel schedule to calm down a bit, and to just settle into a more normal routine – with much less spending. To be honest, I expected the summer to be really laid back and inexpensive, but it ended up kind of being the opposite.

Thankfully, the next trip planned isn’t until the end of September for the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago. I finally booked my flight for $515, which in my opinion, is a pretty decent price. But, it’s still expensive. There were roundtrip tickets for about $375, but all of the flight times were ridiculous and inconvenient. At least the hotel room was cheap – only $82/night, and right at the convention centre. And I can write all of the expenses off because it’s related to my freelance business.

Also, I’m already taking 2 vacation days for the Chicago trip, but part of me wants to take another day off. That way, I can spend an extra day in the city (I only have one full day to explore the city as it is). Because, really, when am I ever going to go back to Chicago?

The decision to hire a house cleaner

I briefly mentioned before that I was thinking of hiring a cleaner, and it’s true. I am definitely going to hire one. For the longest time, I was completely against it. When I moved into this townhouse, I tried to reason with myself that my place is small (just less than 700 sq. ft.), and I can just suck it up and spend the time to clean it myself. Surely doing it myself would be worth it to not have to pay someone to come and do it for me.

But you know what? Cleaning sucks. I work 65+ hours/week, and I hate the fact that I have to use my precious free time to clean. Then, I started to fall behind with cleaning, what with traveling, a boyfriend, and a ton of work to do. Not to mention that starting next week, I’ll be playing field hockey 3x/week. So, a few weeks ago I made the decision not to clean anymore, and just hire someone to do it for me. Just like that. And since then, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders – I feel great! I’ve decided to eliminate something that I hate (cleaning) in favour of something that I do like (anything but cleaning).

Then, I debated about how I was going to budget in the expense. Usually, I would cut something out of my budget to make room for it, but I’m not going to do that either. I feel sort of like a PF rebel today. Not only am I admitting that I’m hiring a house cleaner, but I’m also going to just add it to my monthly budget as a new expense. Like it’s no big deal. Lifestyle inflation here I come! Just kidding. :)

Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve increased my income by nearly 100%, but (aside from my mortgage and housing expenses), my budget has remained the same. I still only spend $100/month on entertainment, and $150/month on groceries. I still clip coupons, and I still try to get the best deals on everything possible. I have to keep reminding myself that I will be more than okay if I add an additional $50-60/month expense. Just like I will be okay if I end up buying that scooter that I really want.

There’s no sense in working as hard as I do if I can’t enjoy life. And I do not enjoy life when I’m cleaning (does anyone?). I figure as long as I’m putting enough money away to satisfy all of my savings goals, and as long as I’m taking into consideration my wants vs. needs, and making sure that what I spend my money on is going to put value in my life – then I really don’t see a problem in it.

It’s a weird feeling, budgeting in something as luxurious as a house cleaner. But at this point in my life, it just makes sense. Obviously if my income were to drop, or there was a sudden change in my financial wellbeing, the cleaner would be the first to go. I like staying financially healthy a lot more than I hate cleaning.

I haven’t hired anyone yet, but I’ve done preliminary research into different companies, and have asked around for recommendations. I’m thinking that, after an initial deep cleaning of my place, I will get somebody in once a month for a couple of hours. That’s all it will take.

Would you ever hire a house cleaner?

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