How to Save Up for An iPhone As A Kid Skip to Content

How to Save Up for An iPhone As A Kid

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I’m going to show you the fastest way for how to save up for an iPhone as a kid — these tips will help with how to save up a lot of money as a kid.

So, your kid wants an iPhone.

And probably not just any iPhone; dancing around in your kiddo’s head – besides the sugar plums – are pictures of them playing with the latest and greatest iPhone.

two teen girls taking a silly selfie on a phone with text overlay "savings guide for kids: how to save for an iphone for kids"

You know, the one that is even newer than yours?

Don’t fret. If your child is wondering how to save up for an iPhone as a kid, then you’ve got a fantastic opportunity here.

You see, your child has an actual savings goal. And just ONE. This is amazing – they’re light years ahead of where many kids start with trying to save money for a bazillion things at once, then getting so frustrated with the lack of progress that they give up on everything and just settle on a fidget doo-dad at the checkout counter.

Pssst: Is your child struggling with how to save up money as a kid? One of their main problems is probably with narrowing all their wants down to just one savings goal. Here’s my one-page worksheet that will help them come up with the best savings goal for them right now. 

How Kids Can Save Up for an iPhone

Even if your child only has one goal, you (and your eager child) are probably still wondering how the heck a kid can save up a lot of money — enough to get an iPhone.

Let me walk you + your child through how to save up for an iPhone as a kid. And while we’re at it? We’ll turn this into a valuable money lesson they’ll remember for years.

Step #1: Get Parental Approval + Have a Talk About New Money Responsibilities

First off, your child will need to have your buy-in to this entire process (if you’re a kid reading this post, then definitely listen up!). Otherwise, they could save all this money up and be severely disappointed in the end.

Not only that, but you two need to have a money talk about what kinds of money responsibilities each of you will take on moving forward.

That’s because when your child figures out how to save pocket money to actually buy an iPhone – which they’ll be able to do if they follow the steps below – then there will be new money responsibilities.

Buying an iPhone is not like buying a shirt, where the maintenance cost is mainly once and done (unless it’s dry-clean only).

Buying a phone is a significant piece of property that has monthly recurring charges.

You need to answer questions like:

  • Who is going to pay for the data plan each month? Is that a child or parent money responsibility?
  • If the child currently has a phone plan, will adding a new iPhone to it incur higher fees? If so, who will cover the difference in costs?
  • Can this phone be added onto an existing family plan, or will the iPhone not work with your current family plan?
  • An iPhone is an expensive piece of property. Should your child have to also save up in order to protect it – for a cover so that it won’t crack (we all know how easily iPhones shatter!) and insurance to cover it in case of damage/loss/etc.? The Otterbox case is particularly known for its durability.
  • If the iPhone breaks, but you’re still under contract by phone, who is going to be responsible for replacing or repairing it?

Step #2: Create A Visual + Set Up A Savings Space

Visuals are everything when you’re trying to keep your eyes on the prize. They’re wonderful tools when keeping yourself motivated, especially for goals that are going to take awhile to accomplish.

So, the first thing I want you to help your child do is to create a visual of the iPhone they want.

Pssst: be sure to check out my video about one of my favorite goal setting tips for kids, where I use the iPhone as an example for creating a reverse-engineered vision board.

You can print out an image from the Apple store. You can snag an advertisement out of a catalog. Just get their hands on an image of the iPhone that they want – its color, its size, its shape, etc.

The second part to this prep work is to set up a savings space – you know, where they're going to set aside the money for that iPhone. You want it to be somewhere where they won’t be tempted to touch the money, and where they won’t mix up the money they’ve designated for the iPhone to pay for something like going to the movies with friends on a Friday night.

You can use a piggy bank for kids; however, you might want to use a real savings account.

Step #3: Look At Your Current Money + Money Sources

They’ve got the visual of their goal, and your blessing for it. Great job!

Now it’s time that we dig into some numbers and see how to save up for a iPhone as a kid.

Ask your child these questions:

  • How much savings do you have right now?
  • How much of those savings are you willing to use towards the iPhone (versus spending it on something else)?
  • Where do you currently earn money from (this could be an allowance, chores you do around the house, a weekend job, or any number of ways)?
  • How much out of your current earnings can you set aside each pay cycle to put towards your savings goal?

Step #4: Comparison Shop To Price an iPhone

Now we need to find out the price of an iPhone + upkeep costs. The amount we come up with here will be your kid's Target Savings Goal Amount.

They're going to do some comparison shopping to find the best estimated price for what this iPhone is going to cost them.

Here's what they'll need to do:

  • Go to an Apple store with your parents. How much will the iPhone model you want cost? If you can’t make it to the store, then give them a call and ask a sales associate.
  • Shop online for the same model. How much is the price online? (bonus: if there is a variation in price, why do you think that is)?
  • Now, search for a used version of this same model iPhone. How much will that cost? What is the price difference between the new version, and the used version?
  • Find out if there is any sort of warranty, certification, or guarantee with the used version. Can the used version be insured?
  • Discuss with your parents which version is better for you to buy – the new one, or the used one.

Once you’ve gone through these exercises with them and discussed everything together, write down the total cost of the phone.

Buuuuuuuut, this exercise doesn’t end there.

Remember that money responsibilities discussion you had above? You’ll need to add in any of the extra costs having an iPhone brings that you both have decided is the child's responsibility.

Depending on the money responsibilities that will be theirs, they’ll need to add in the following:

  • Purchase cost of a protective case.
  • Insurance cost (if this is monthly, then I would research the cost and add in 3 months of this expense into your target savings goal amount. This will give you a buffer to be able to cover this cost while you earn more money to pay for upcoming monthly insurance bills).
  • Monthly Data Plan: Again, if you’re responsible for this or for the difference in cost your new upgrade will cost your family, then I’d multiply the monthly cost by 3 and add in 3 months’ worth of the expense to give you ample time to earn money for your future monthly costs.

Step #5: Figure Out the Target Purchase Date

Your child now has a Target Savings Goal amount (the total cost of what you need to get what you want), and they know how much they can set aside each week, every other week, or monthly towards this goal.

It’s time to figure out how long it’s going to take for them to save up for it!

Their Target Purchase Date is the Target Savings Goal Amount divided by the amount they can set aside.

For example, if they’re buying a brand-new iPhone 6s, and found out it will cost you $374.99 with Virgin Mobile (that is the actual price, fyi), and they know they can set aside $10/week, then you would divide $374.99 by 10. This tells you both that it will take them 37.5 weeks to save up for their iPhone (that’s a little over 9 months).

One more example: if they can set aside $50/month, then you divide the $374.99 by 50, and see that it’ll take an estimated 7.5 months to save up for an iPhone.

Pssst: Is your child a college student? Here's an article I wrote on how to save money for students that will help them to cut expenses to the bone until they can get that shiny new iPhone in their hands!

Step #6: Actually Make The Purchase

Alright, if you guys have made it to this step, then you've got one happy kiddo – because it means they’ve saved up for that iPhone and today is the day that they actually get to make the purchase!

You’ll both want to make the purchase wherever your child initially priced the iPhone.

Parents — you’ll likely need to help by driving them to a store, or by using your credit card while they hand you the cash amount, or by writing a check out on their behalf. You’ll also to help by adding them to an actual phone plan.

My last tip for you to do right before you make this purchase is to help your child do one more scan of deals out there. It’s likely been weeks and months since you both comparison shopped, and it’s possible that there are online coupon codes, store deals, or new opportunities to shave some of the cost price off of the phone to use for another purpose.

On the flipside, it’s possible that the price actually went up since initially researching it, and you don’t want your child to be caught off-guard at checkout.

Whew! Well, that’s all I’ve got for you. Follow those steps above and you’ll no longer have to wonder how to save up for an iPhone as a kid. Instead, your child will be holding one in their hand!

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.

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Stephen theFIRElane.com

Monday 3rd of September 2018

Great article. I'll second searching for a used phone. We've used Swappa.com a lot. Another option would be a hand me down phone.

A thick Otterbox and a glass screen protector are musts for most kids.

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