Let's get into some of my past financial foolishness, aka my money mistakes! I have a weakness for handbags, specifically expensive designer collection handbags. There'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" my designer collection on social media for days and days.
My epic designer handbag collection
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 designer 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? I had saved so much money; I was maxing out my retirement accounts; at this point, I wasn't traveling as much, and I worked hard, so I felt I deserved it. And so I slowed down my savings, became a less aggressive saver, and instead started to splurge on myself a bit more. I did this by buying designer bags.
But as I got older (and wiser) and I began refocusing more on my savings vs. spending, I started to realize my designer collection of handbags was 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 investments; 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 time. Hence the reason why it is a wardrobe investment.
Reasons why handbags are not good financial investments
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 to keep it in near perfect condition if you want to sell it for even close to the price you paid for it. And especially if you hope to sell at an appreciated price. Certain brands like Chanel and Hermes raise prices every 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. That 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 of 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.
Downsizing my collection of designer handbags
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.
Save money on your designer collection
We all have our spending weaknesses, but the best way to save money on your designer collection is to purchase your bag collection on sale or pre-owned.
American consumers spend an average of $300 on a new handbag. Some thrift shops, pawnshops, and resellers will price items at around 60% of the new price, which averages a 40% savings to you. Let’s say you bought a new purse that costs $300 for your handbag collection for $180 because you bought it used or on sale; that’s $120 you will save!
You can find gorgeous, gently used purses and bags on sites such as Poshmark, eBay, and Thred Up. Another upcoming site is Facebook Marketplace. You may be shocked, but you’d be surprised at the handbag collection you will find at the Goodwill. Especially after the holidays; people tend to donate or sell their purses because they got a new one for Christmas. Sometimes you can find a really nice designer purse for cheap just by shopping at your local consignment store.
Shop the sales
You can add to your handbag collection without breaking the bank by shopping sales, using promo codes and coupons. The best sales are said to be May-July and November-January. During the holiday season, you will also notice epic sales on designer collection handbags before the launch of a new design.
You can still have a fabulous designer collection by learning to be frugal and saving money on your handbag collection.
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 my future self and me.