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8 things you could buy instead of an iPhone XR

Are you feeling the hype of the iPhone XR release? Stop. Step away from the queue. Here’s what your bucks could buy you instead.

The new iPhone XR is here and, according to all the PR guff, it’s about to change your life in a way unimaginable since… the iPhone 8 just a year ago. Fancy getting your hands on one? You might want to read this first.

An unlocked version of the absolute most basic model iPhone XR (the 64GB) will set you back £749 when you buy it from the Apple Store.

You can get it on contract (assuming you pass the credit checks), but as networks tend to charge considerable interest on your instalments, this will mean you end up paying more in the long run.

How much does the iPhone XR really cost?

Around the launch date, very few retailers (aside from Apple, of course) will allow you to buy the iPhone XR without a monthly contract. Among those who do, we couldn’t find anyone selling the phone for less than the £749 price listed on Apple’s site.

The bonus of buying through Apple is that they offer a 20 month payment plan with 0% interest. The details of this are tucked away on this page, but make sure you look at the options without AppleCare+ – they’ve tried to hide these cheaper plans, but they are there! Just scroll down and click the link we’ve highlighted below for proof.

interest free iPhone XS payment plan

From that, we’ve concluded that the cheapest way to shell out on your fancy iPhone XR is usually to buy it directly through Apple, although it’s always worth checking out our deals section to see if anything else has popped up.

Once you’ve forked out for the phone, you just have to pay for a SIM-only contract with your network of choice. Our mobile phone deals comparison tool will help you find the best price out there!

How the payment plan works

Apple’s payment’s scheme, inventively dubbed ‘iPhone Payments’, is a handset-only interest-free payment option that you can choose if you buy your iPhone XR from an Apple store rather than online.

When buying your handset, just let them know you want to pay for it via iPhone Payments and they’ll set it up for you there and then. But as we said before, make sure you ask for it without AppleCare+ if you want the cheapest plan!

The cheapest available model is the 64GB, which can be paid for in 20 monthly instalments of £34/month plus a one-off upfront fee of £69 (which the more mathematically-minded among you will have realised equals £749).

8 things you can get for less than an iPhone XR

Now, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t take the plunge and buy a new iPhone, but when money’s tight, it’s always worth putting the cost into context. So, because it’s the iPhone 8, here are eight things that you can buy for the cost of the cheapest model.

  1. Almost two months of rent

    With the average student rent standing at £406 a month (and costs rising), the value of an iPhone 8 is equivalent to over a month and a half’s worth of accommodation – in fact, it’s pretty close to two months’ worth!

    If we flip that around, that means that if you go for the phone, you’ve got to find the cash to keep a roof over your head. Or, you could just do what this guy did and live in a tent in someone’s garden for the year.

  2. Over five years of broadband

    There are tons of student-friendly broadband deals out there. We found a deal with TalkTalk that comes in at £149.04 for the whole year, so you’d need to sign a contract for just over five years in order to hit the £749 mark.

    And remember, these numbers assume that you live by yourself, which most students don’t. Your share of the broadband bill is smaller when you live with other people, so even if you lived with just one other person, you’d be looking at ten years of internet for the same price as an iPhone XR.

  1. One YEAR of Nando’s fine dining

    Let’s say you go for what we have decided (after a heated office discussion) is the standard Nando’s order: quarter chicken, two sides and a bottomless soft drink. At the time of writing (we’re covering ourselves, because even Nando’s is affected by inflation), this comes in at £10.15.

    If you went to Nando’s once a week for an entire year, and always ordered this, you’d still have only spent £527.80. That leaves £221.20 left over, which you could either spend on MORE Nando’s, or the cost of a bus fare to get there and back each week.

  2. Over 10 years of Netflix

    Student life involves a lot of free time. While that would be best spent studying, working or even socialising, the reality is that sometimes you just want to slob in front of the telly. For that reason, Netflix is becoming a bit of a must-have for students.

    For the cost of an iPhone XR, you could pay for a Basic subscription to Netflix (£5.99 at the time of writing) for over 10 years – 10.4, to be precise.

    We did some Googling and found that the total length of every video on Netflix is estimated to be three and a half years, meaning you could watch the entire catalogue three times over (almost) and only have spent as much on Netflix as you would have on an iPhone XR. Your recommendations would be totally screwed though.

  3. Second hand scooter

    For the same price as an iPhone 8, you could get yourself a great set of wheels on eBay. There are heaps of secondhand mopeds and road scooters going for around the £600 mark or less (but if you’re paying much less, be wary of getting a duff bike).

    Not only will this save you cash (you could be saving on commuting costs, or cutting your rent by living with your folks or living a bit further away from uni in a cheaper area), but no one is gonna deny how badass you’ll look rocking up to lectures on one of these bad boys!

    And yes, we’re aware that you can get cars on eBay (and elsewhere) for less than £699. But if a car is going for that little, there’s a good chance that you’ll be paying to get it repaired at some point (not to mention the fact that it’ll use more petrol than a moped!).

  1. Almost a year’s worth of nights out

    According to our National Student Money Survey, the average student spends £64 each month on socialising. Or, to put it in a way that suits the purposes of this article, an iPhone XR costs 11.7 months of nights out.

    Now, it’s worth noting that ‘socialising’ includes more than just nights out (like these things to do for under £20). So whatever you like to do when you’re hanging out, if you choose not to buy an iPhone XR, that could be next year’s social life funded until Christmas!

  2. A season ticket at (almost) any Premier League club

    You know iPhones are getting expensive when there’s more money involved than watching Premier League football. Now that the season has started, season tickets are largely unavailable – but let’s look at what you could have had.

    If you’re happy to go for the cheapest option available (and if you’re a die-hard fan on a budget, why wouldn’t you be?), you could have got a season ticket at whichever Premier League club took your fancy… apart from Arsenal and Tottenham*, who decided that you can put a price on disappointment (£891 and £795 respectively).

    In fact, at CardiffFulhamHuddersfieldManchester City and West Ham, you could have got TWO season tickets for the price of an iPhone XR.

    *Chelsea’s cheapest season ticket cost £750, but at just £1 over the limit we let them off

  3. A trip to New York

    trip to new york cheaper than iphone

    Do a quick search online for trips to New York, and it won’t be long before you find some for £749 or less. In fact, if you’re paying as much £749 for your flights and accommodation, you’re doing something wrong. We found loads of deals including flights and a 4* hotel for three nights for well under £500 per person.

    Now, there are almost certainly better deals out there, and you might want to make some space for spending money if you’re setting yourself a budget of £749. But given the choice between a break in the Big Apple, and a phone that will be outdated within the year, we know what we’d go for.

…or how about not spending £749?

Instead of parting with your £749, you could put it to work and see it lay many more golden coins over the two or so years.

If you paid the monthly cash into a savings account instead, not only will you not be spending £749, you’ll also gain interest and be better off than when you started!

Or to really bring home the bacon, use your cash to start a business, start a website or set up any kind of passive income stream.

We’ll leave you with 14 essential tips for grabbing the best phone contract deal: read them, save on them, and make your money go further!