My Money Mistakes: My Once Epic Handbag Collection
Let's get into some of my past financial foolishness! I have a weakness for handbags, specifically expensive designer handbags. It's just something about supple leather and shiny hardware that makes me a sucker. And at a certain point in my life, not too long after I had accumulated a ton of savings, this weakness of mine was full force - to the point where if I wanted to, I could "hashtag" on social media for days and days.
"It's just something about supple leather and shiny hardware that makes me a sucker."
My handbag collection was epic
I won't get into numbers or brands but it was epic......and just insane. Don't get me wrong, me saying my handbag collection was insane isn't a jab at anyone else who loves designer handbags. I have friends with amazing handbag collections and they get their money's worth because they actually use their purchases and use them well. I on the other hand barely used 95% of my expensive handbag collection. My cost per wear was non-existent - it was all cost and no wear.
My justification for owning these bags was the fact that I had saved so much money, I was maxing out my retirement accounts at this point, I wasn't traveling as much, I worked hard, I deserved it etc. And so I slowed down my savings, became a less aggressive saver and instead started to splurge on myself a bit more. But as I got older (and wiser) and I began refocusing more on my savings vs spending, I started to realize these handbags were just money sitting in my closet that I could have been investing instead.
Yes, people talk about handbags being investment pieces, but in my opinion they are not financial investment pieces, they are wardrobe investment pieces. If you buy a ridiculously expensive handbag it should be because you plan to use it and use it well for a long long long time - hence the reason why it is a wardrobe investment.
Using a handbag as a financial investment comes with a flurry of issues, for instance:
1. You'll need to keep your bag in excellent shape
First of all you'll need keep it in near perfect condition if you want to sell it close to the price you purchased it or at the appreciated price given the way certain brands like Chanel and Hermes raise prices ever year. A well used handbag is not going to get you the price of a brand new bag. Simple and short.
2. You'll need to prove the authenticity of your handbag
Secondly, there's the whole issue of authenticity. Unless you are a professional handbag seller or consignor you are going to have to prove authenticity which means you need to have kept all your paperwork intact and be able to vouch for the authenticity of your item.
3. You could potentially lose money
Thirdly, as an individual reselling a handbag, a lot buyers and resellers will try to take advantage of that fact and try to low ball you or take ridiculous commission fees off the selling price.
4. Beware of scammers when you sell
Fourthly, you need to be careful about where and how you sell to make sure you don't get scammed and you get your payment in full.
Over time, after going back and forth (with myself) and trying to justify my very expensive but very useless handbag collection (because those handbags were sitting useless in my closet), I decided to let go of them one by one. I gave away a few but sold most of them. It was emotional (LOL), I annoyed my friends and husband (A LOT) about the "whys" and the "why nots" but I did it and I'm happier and wiser for it.
For most of my handbags, given the brands they were and because I barely used them, I was able to get what I paid or more than what I paid due to the insane price increases - Lucky me. For a few others, I let them go at bargain prices. Fortunately for my foolish self I did not get scammed.
Now I'm proud to say that while my designer handbag weakness will never go away, I have a well curated small collection of handbags that I really want and that I really use and plan to use for a very long time to come. And the rest of my hard earned money is where I'd rather see it, invested and working hard for me and my future self :)
Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.