Whenever I look at my designer collection, it always reminds me of how far I’ve come. I still remember the excitement and rush of splurging on my first designer piece. I started college at 16 and began working on Wall Street when I was 20. After a few years of putting in a lot of work, I came to a place where it finally felt like the right time to treat myself. I was worried that I might have buyer’s remorse, but given my affinity towards fashion, it has really paid off. Designer accessories, especially handbags, are one of the best ways to build a timeless wardrobe. The initial purchase price is often hard to swallow, but the resale value and cost-per-use are great ways to justify the investment. If you’ve been wondering how you can get started on building your own collection, here are some tips on how to save for your first designer handbag.
Know Your Options
Most people feel compelled to buy brand new when it comes to designer handbags. However, I really have no problem with buying a pre-loved item as long as they’re in great condition and the price is right. With online shops like eBay, The Real Real, and Shopbop’s pre-owned collection from What Goes Around Comes Around, you can score gently used, authenticated bags worry-free. My first few handbags were all pre-owned and I’ve never regretted any of them. You can usually score a used designer bag for 20-40% off original prices, which equals huge savings. If you’re on a tight budget, pre-owned may be the best route to go.
Set Your Budget
There are two ways you can set a budget. The first is deciding on which item you want so you know how much it costs. I find that most people already have 2-3 options in mind when they want to splurge on a handbag. This is helpful because you can then work around the price range. The other option is to come up with a budget for how much you’re willing to spend. From there, you can figure out which bags and brands are available in that bucket. Once you know what your number is, set aside a certain dollar amount each paycheck until you reach your goal.
Make Lifestyle Sacrifices
Saving money for your first designer item is definitely possible if you make a few lifestyle tweaks. Although these are all small sacrifices, they can make a big impact over time. Below are some of the small expenses you should try cutting out in order to maximize your savings:
– Cut down on Starbucks trips and instead make your own coffee at home.
– Cook at home or meal prep so you spend less on eating out, especially during the work week.
– Avoid impulse shopping on trendy or fast fashion pieces.
– If you live in a big city like NYC or LA, opt for public transportation rather than Uber or Lyft.
As you can see these are small sacrifices that don’t require a full-blown transformation. The money you would save from the above activities really adds up before you know it.
Don’t Purchase the First Bag You See
Making a big investment on something like a bag can make you feel uneasy. To ensure you’re not just caving into blogger hype or FOMO, I suggest waiting one week before finally making a full commitment. I’ll usually only buy something if I can’t stop thinking about it. There are times when that “desire” for something subsides. In that case, I’ll usually skip it. You can check out my favorite handbags here.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Now that you’ve established just how much money you need to take from your paycheck each week, the next step is to hold yourself accountable. Create an income tracker – whether this be through an old fashioned checkbook or app. Record your income and where your dollars are being allocated. Even just seeing where you are putting your dollars each month can spark a change in how you spend your money. Also, don’t be afraid to tell your friends, family, and significant other the goal you are working towards. Having the people around you being aware of what you are trying to achieve ensures they can hold you accountable as well.
I hope these tips are helpful! It’s just a matter of being a little more mindful and aware of where your money is going. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that being able to afford your first designer purchase is a rite of passage – and one you can hold onto for years to come.
Burberry ‘Sandringham’ Trench Coat (wearing a US 0, better for budget here)
Balmain Top (wearing an FR34)
Blank Denim Faux Leather Pants (wearing a 24 – runs TTS)
Christian Louboutin So Kate Heels