Back in September, Tim Cook and friends released the latest generation of iPhones to a global audience of eager fans. Their flagship, the iPhone XS Max, launched as the company’s most sophisticated smartphone yet. And at $1,500, it’s also the most expensive handset in iPhone history.
A price like that begs the question: is it worth it? Without a clear answer, you’ve probably thought about adding and removing the XS Max from your Christmas list a few times already. You may have even visited your carrier to see if there are any special deals good enough to convince you to upgrade.
This behavior is telling in its own right. It means you have $1,500 burning a hole in your pocket, and the clock is ticking.
Before you let it drop on the XS Max, consider what you can do with $1,500. It’s a lot of money that still goes a long way, even in 2018. Here are three ways to better spend your money.
1. Dine at a Michelin-star restaurant
For the foodies of the world, it can be a challenge to satisfy your gourmand taste buds on a budget. You’ve already explored all the greasy spoons and dive bars in your neighborhood, and you’ve even started learning how to cook. So far, nothing compares to the holy grail: a Michelin-star restaurant.
Even those who don’t consider themselves foodies can appreciate the quality of a Michelin-star dining experience. In the epicure world, these are the most prized restaurants, and critics organize their entire holidays around them.
So what makes them so special? The Michelin guide to restaurants uses the following grading system:
- One Star: Though the lowest Michelin rating, one star signifies the restaurant serves up delicious food
- Two Stars: This hard-earned rating means the food is worth going out of your way to eat
- Three Stars: As the highest honor, three stars the food is so exquisite that it’s worth a special journey
It’s an honor so rare that only world-renowned chefs like Thomas Keller and Daniel Boloud can boast Michelin’s accolades. Most Michelin-star restaurants have long waiting lists, extensive wine cellars, and elaborate 10-course meals — making them pretty pricey.
At Per Se, $1,500 would serve you a 20-course meal including avocado mousse, white truffles, and lamb served with coffee scented air. You could go all out to recreate this 2008 menu, or you could visit the nearest Michelin-star restaurant once or twice. Yup — even ordering off the normal menu will run you several hundred dollars per plate, so choose your dish and your dining partner carefully!
2. Go on a holiday
If you’re tired of work, and you’ve got some vacation days saved up, it’s time to hop on a jet and see the world. While $1,500 won’t fund an epic world tour that spans months, it will get you farther than you think.
In the summer, Business Insider reported how it was possible to plan a 10-country trip spanning 3 continents. The story focused on an office manager, Solaire Attalah, who created an itinerary that included Hawaii, Asia, and Australia. Flying from her native Atlanta, Georgia, Attalah paid just $1,000 on airfare to see half of the world.
She managed this surprising feat by using local travel options in each city she travelled — In some cases, paying only $46 to fly from one metropolis to the next. She cut even more of her expenses by staying with friends and family when she could.
Of course, she had to battle against jet-lag as she journeyed halfway across the world in less than two weeks — but this was a concession she was willing to make in order to travel within her allotted vacation days.
Though you may not be as adventurous as Attalah, she’s an inspiration to anyone looking to spice things up by travelling on a budget. Check in with these additional tips, and you could see an exotic part of the world for less than $1,500.
3. Pay off debts
This list couldn’t be complete with at least some nod to your grown-up responsibilities. Paying off your debts is probably the most sensible thing you can do with your money, especially if you have any outstanding student loans, personal loans, or credit card debt.
Though a lot more boring than travelling, paying off consumer debt promises long-term financial benefits. Once you can reduce what you spend on online loans or lines of credit, you’ll free up more of your expendable cash. That’s when you can really invest in your travel dreams.
Experts suggest paying off the minimum balances of all your debts while targeting one account to pay off first. This account will get any extra cash you have in your budget. Once you pay this off entirely, you can use the cash previously tied up in this account to pay off the next — and so on until you’ve cleared your debt entirely.
Obviously, this is a simplified version of events. The plan of action outlined above could take you years to complete. You can speed up the process by looking for ways to tighten your budget and trim the fat of any unnecessary expenses. If you’re ready to find ways to save money on your utility bills, click here to learn more. This guide shows easy ways to cut costs without making your life miserable.
Think about it
At the end of the day, you need to think about that $1,500. That’s a lot to drop on a smartphone — even if your carrier helps you out. While the Apple crew would tell you the latest iPhone XS Max is worth every penny, we’re a little skeptical. You can do a lot with $1,500 in your pocket. A Michelin dining experience, travel, and debt reduction are only just the beginning.
Choose what’s most important to you — even if it’s the iPhone. Whatever it ends up being, let us know what you decide to do. You might just inspire the next person agonizing over the XS Max.