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I Just Spent Over $900 on an iPhone 12 Mini…AM I NUTS??!!

I’m frugal…but I just spent over $900 on a cell phone… “WHAT? Derek, how could you??” I know, I know. It was a lot of money, but I had my reasons, and quite honestly, I’m loving it. So what about you? Should you buy an iPhone 12 mini? Well…that depends on a lot of things. My reasoning is below. If you can relate, then maybe you should pick one up too!

Yup, I Ditched My Old iPhone and Bought a New One…But Why?

I was still rocking the iPhone 6s, which I purchased 117 years ago. Well, that’s how old it was in cell phone years. Actually, it lasted me a solid 5…human years.

I would have kept it forever if I could…but with advancing technology these days, it just wasn’t possible.

At the end of November, I bit the bullet and made the upgrade to the iPhone 12 mini.

  • So…why the mini?
  • Why the incredibly expensive upgrade?
  • What was I thinking? 

Here’s my full line of logic. Like it or not, it’s how I was able to convince myself that this was the best move for me.

Should You Buy a New iPhone 12 Mini1) Not Enough Memory in my iPhone 6s

When I got my phone, it was one step down from the brand new one at the time. And, it was the lowest amount of memory you could get too. 

In other words, I cheaped out and didn’t make a full upgrade at that time. As it turns out, 16 GB isn’t enough memory these days…

  • For the last 2 years, I haven’t been able to upgrade my IOS operating system, which eventually prevented me from downloading any apps.
  • My email stopped working. I couldn’t even open it…which is a problem when you work for a company that expects you to check email often.

2) Battery Life Was Awful 

As it turns out, a 5 year old battery isn’t so great. 

  • I’d go golfing and use my app to keep score and get yardages… It would make it to about hole 6, and then die.
  • I’d go for a run in the cold…It would turn off after about 10 minutes, leaving me without music and therefore I couldn’t run (can anyone really run without music? ie. listening to your pounding, slogging feet on the pavement? Not me…)
  • A Facetime with my parents for 20 minutes would bring my battery from 100% down to about 13%. 

The examples could go on and on, but the point is, the battery sucked and I needed a new phone.

3) “You Don’t Have Enough Memory to Take a Picture of Your Precious Kids”

Okay, so this one ties to the point I made in #1 (the phone memory), but there were SO MANY TIMES where I wanted to capture a memory of my kids and I got that stupid message telling me I didn’t have enough memory to take a single solitary picture.

So many memories missed… NO MORE!

4) My Wife Was Begging Me to Get a New One

I’m super frugal, and I can endure pain and suffering with the best of them. My phone had been acting up for probably two years…which was long enough to drive my wife nearly insane. Lol.

The memory issue, the email issue, the battery issue – she knew about them all.

And, quite honestly, it got to the point where she was more upset about me NOT buying a phone than she would have been about me spending nearly a thousand bucks to replace it! 

So, I knew I wouldn’t get any flack from her for buying a new one. In fact, buying a new phone would probably cause her to love me more. Or you know…be annoyed with me less. Same thing in my book. 😉 

5) I Couldn’t Listen to Dave Ramsey Anymore

Have you noticed how all my articles have been super crappy lately? (Lol, I hope not, because I still work hard at producing amazing content!!) Well, if I HAVE been slipping a little, it’s because I haven’t been able to stream the Dave Ramsey podcast for the past couple years. My old operating system just wouldn’t support it. 

So, I haven’t been able to listen to the issues of the general population that spark many of the amazing articles you’re used to seeing on this page! 

Serious problems… 🙂

Why The Brand New iPhone?

I could have bought a slightly used phone through reputable sites like SellCell, but I decided on buying a brand new one. 


1) Used Won’t Give Me As Much Life

Let’s say I bought a used iPhone XR. The maximum memory is 128 GB.

It sounds like a ton to me now, but what about 5 years from now? I’m going to run into the same issue I did with my 16 GB iPhone 6s.

To give myself the best chance at keeping this phone for the long term, I knew I needed to get the maximum amount of memory.

Also, getting an old phone means getting older technology…which likely means it won’t last as long. It’s like buying a 10 year old car with 100,000 miles vs. a brand new one. Chances are the new one is going to last far longer.

2) The Used Ones Weren’t That Much Cheaper

Unlike the prices on used vehicles vs. new ones, the used smartphone prices weren’t that much cheaper than the new ones. I could buy a new iPhone for $900. A comparable used one was like, $830. 

Not compelling.

Related: BillCutterz Absolutely Shocked Me and Saved Me Money on My Cell Phone Bill

3) I Didn’t Like the Honkin’ Size of the iPhone 10 or 11

To be honest, I would have considered the iPhone XR or 11 since they were cheaper, but I hated how big they were. Can anyone even fit those phones in their pockets? I doubt it. How annoying!!

If I want a tablet, I’ll buy a tablet. I don’t need one for a phone.

4) A Write-Off For My Business

The expense of a new phone was pretty steep, but you know what? I use it for my day job and I use it all the time to promote this website (ie. my business). So, that means I can write off a portion of it and save myself from paying a bit of taxes this upcoming April. 

So, that makes the spend feel a little more palatable. 

5) We Could Afford It

Liz and I are both frugal to the core (it’s what made her so appealing for my 2nd marriage. The first marriage…I wasn’t so wise, but that’s a story for another day). We have tens of thousands of dollars in savings and we spend less than 50% of our earnings each month. 

While the idea of spending $900 on a phone made me gulp a bit, it was honestly just a tiny blip in our bank account. It had no impact on our lives whatsoever.

Related: Why It’s Ludicrous to Make Payments on a Cell Phone (…and How You Can Avoid It)

Specifically, Why the iPhone 12 Mini?

In the past 10 years, I’ve owned a Motorola, an HTC, and multiple iPhones. I knew I wanted an iPhone again. They hold up, they’re easy to use, and all my friends and family have iPhones as well, which makes communication easy (mainly because of Facetime, but also file and photo sharing). So, I knew I wanted an iPhone.

The only other two qualifications I had were:

  • I wanted it to last for as long as possible. So, I wanted a new one and as much memory as possible
  • And, I didn’t want it to be bigger than my face (a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean ;))

So, when it came down to it, I was really down to the iPhone SE or an iPhone 12 mini. Here’s why the iPhone 12 mini came out as the winner for me.

1) The Reviews on the iPhone SE Signal and Battery Were Sub-par

There were many complaints stating that the SE would drop calls, and that the battery didn’t last nearly as long as advertised. While the iPhone 12 mini was far newer and therefore had fewer reviews, they seemed to come in much more positive.

2) The iPhone 12 Mini Memory Was Awesome

256 GB? Yes please! And the small size? Perfect!

I’m hoping this phone will last me 6+ years! Pipe dream? Maybe, but I’m going for it!

Should You Buy an iPhone 12 Mini?

What about you? Should you buy an iPhone 12 Mini? This is truly only a question you can answer for yourself, but here’s what I’ve discovered. 

  • The iPhone 12 Mini operates beautifully
  • The signal is about one-bar (on average) better than my old iPhone 6s, and I never dropped calls with my old phone
  • The size is perfect. I can easily see the screen and simply slip it in my pocket when I’m not sucked into a social media feed.

So here’s the only consideration I’d have you make… The cost is pretty steep. $900 is nothing to sneeze at. 

If you’re not debt free with a bunch of savings in the bank, it’s just not worth it. A new smart phone is a convenience, not a necessity. If you’re still digging your way out of debt, then buy something WAAYYYY cheaper. You can buy something for a few hundred bucks that will do everything my iPhone 12 Mini will do, but it just might not last quite as long.

But you know what?

Get by with what you can for now, then when you’re completely out of debt in 2 years, buy whatever you want. It will be way more fun that way. 

Should you buy an iPhone 12 Mini? Is it your preference? Tell us in the comments below!

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Hi Derek, I can relate. I bit the bullet during lockdown 1.0 in Australia. My ol’ iPhone 6S had similar problems when it came to the battery, and the camera no longer worked.
    As it happens I now use it to stream music in the bathroom, on recharge. So I’m still using it 🙂
    I got the iPhone 11, and interestingly I use my phone more for apps and taking pictures than I do for speaking to people.
    Next up I’d love to get the iPad Pro, perhaps next year. I like the idea of a portable tv or media hub to use in different parts of the house, and as I don’t always like to sit in front of the big tv. But it’s expensive..


    • Cool, David. Glad to hear that another one of my frugal brothers made the leap into a brand new phone as well. We held out for as long as we could on those old phones!! 🙂

  2. I don’t pay for my phone or my monthly plan because I pass those expenses on directly to my clients but even if I did I’d still be rocking the most expensive phone out there. Not an Apple in my case, I find their operating system to be way too locked down for my engineering tastes. But I still spent $1,300 on my Android phone over a year ago. Its a business advantage and a favorite hobby to rock the most capable technology available. When I leave my small amount of consulting behind it is going to be a jolt, for the first time in my life I’ll have to pay a monthly cell phone bill!

    • Haha, too funny about the jolt once you stop consulting and have to actually pay a phone bill! Thanks for commenting Steveark!

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