Author Topic: Should I buy an expensive purse?  (Read 2587 times)

centwise

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Should I buy an expensive purse?
« on: March 03, 2017, 10:53:43 AM »
Hello mustachians,

Over the past few years I've gotten much better at avoiding unnecessary purchases, thanks in large part to you and this blog. Please help me weigh the pros and cons of replacing my purse.

Backstory: In 2000 I received two separate gifts of (1) a purse and (2) wallet , both lovely Italian leather. The purse was perfect -- a small cross-body purse, well organized and tough. It has lasted 17 years and now is falling apart (and the same goes for the wallet).

Question: Would it be mustachian to buy another quality purse that will last 15 -- 20 years, or should I get something at the Goodwill and simply expect to replace it often?

I found a possible purse (made by a high-quality leather goods company, not a "designer" brand) that is on sale (online) for $160 (Canadian). This is comparable to the old worn-out Italian leather purse, which was purchased for US$125 in 2000. The Goodwill route would be cheaper in the short run, and probably in the long run too. But on the other hand, a purse is a very personal/individual item that (1) should be optimally organized and (2) is used daily. So it's kind of a hassle finding and getting used to a new one. I really want to buy this purse, but my mustachian spidey sense is tingling. Please let me know your thoughts on the subject! Thanks.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 11:07:33 AM »
It seems like it would cost more than that to continually replace cheap purses that aren't perfect.

If you REALLY will keep one purse for 10-15 years, I'd do it. 

frooglepoodle

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 11:14:36 AM »
It seems like it would cost more than that to continually replace cheap purses that aren't perfect.

If you REALLY will keep one purse for 10-15 years, I'd do it. 

I agree. It would be very easy to spend more than $10-15 per year cycling through thrift store purses. Good leather lasts ages.

You may already be aware of this, but be sure to check the grade of the leather before you purchase. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that "genuine" leather is actually a lower quality grade of leather and not a statement that it's animal hide leather (vs. vinyl).

https://www.heddels.com/2014/06/overview-guide-leather-grades/

lizzzi

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 11:24:59 AM »
I would go ahead and buy the purse. I, too, use a good-quality, leather, smallish cross body purse. It is a Kate Spade New York, black leather with a black and white striped cloth lining, 9 inches by 10 inches. Cost was just under $200 if I remember right, but I am in my fifth year with using it daily, and going strong--no wear, no problems-- I expect to get many more years of use out of it. It is the only purse I carry, and works well for virtually everything. I clean the outside if need be with just a little smidge of Murphy's Oil Soap and a damp sponge. It looks nice with all my outfits from jeans to nicer dark tops and slacks. It has gone with me to Canada, Ireland, Manhattan, and of course, all the more mundane places around home--including much transporting of children. The hands-free, secure feeling of having it cross body is great. It is big enough to carry the necessities (small wallet, eyeglass case, phone and charger, small brush, chapstick) with room for small odds and ends depending on the trip (grocery list, checkbook, pen, passport, mints, tissues, tickets, small map). If you know what you like and what works for you, I would go for the higher quality, and just pay the money.  I wouldn't spend $2,000, but I wouldn't hesitate to go up to around $200. It's probably not BIFL, but it should last a long time. For the occasional times when you need another kind of purse--let's say, something with sequins for formal dress--I'd look for second-hand or a real cheaperoo.

PJ

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 12:05:24 PM »
+1 on buying the purse

My thoughts would be different if you were planning to blow a couple thousand on something designer, just because.  But what you're describing, if the quality is indeed good enough, is quite reasonable.  And you have a very specific type of purse in mind, something that is not necessarily going to be easy to find at thrift stores (I can do thrift store purses because I enjoy getting something quite different each time around!)

I think MMM himself would not suggest cheaping out on something you use everyday - this would be part of the carefully calculated extravagant lifestyle he would talk about.

plog

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 12:33:17 PM »
I agree with the conclusion of everyone (Buy it), but disagree with how they got there. 

First and foremost,  life is about maximizing happiness not finances.  Maximizing finances is just a tool to the larger goal--you don't have to monetarily justify every expenditure.  You like [Insert Anything] that is more expensive than [Insert Anything Cheaper Alternative] and the total amount won't move your financial needle, then buy it. 

Second, you can definitely find cheaper alternatives in both the short and long term than $160, but see my first point--who cares.  Maximize your happiness and this item will do it.


Rimu05

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2017, 12:36:39 PM »
I spent on my purse because it is the only purse I have. Sadly though my longchamp which is what I have now is really wearing on the corners even though I've only had it for about 2 and a half years.

It was $110 and I know for two years it's not very mustachian but it is seriously the most practical purse ever. It is super light, can be washed, and folds up so neatly if I don't need it. I also don't care about spills, rain, stains, etc.

It also manages to be both very casual and also quite professional looking.

Even though it's not very mustachian, I will probably repurchase. Simply because I have had all sorts of bags and ever since I got this one, I find I don't look at handbags. It's just too damn practical.

marielle

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2017, 12:42:28 PM »
Just to be a devil's advocate here, I would go for the Goodwill/thrifted purse purely from an environmental aspect and to not create more demand for the leather. MMM is secretly an environmental blog after all.

pbkmaine

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Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2017, 12:53:50 PM »
I have Coach purses, made from baseball glove leather, that are more than 20 years old. Once or twice a year I rub them with leather conditioner. On a per-use basis, they cost pennies. Definitely worth it.
 
This one is from 1995 and cost $95 then:


StarBright

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2017, 12:59:28 PM »
pbkmaine- I have almost that exact same coach bag (mine is from 1999 I think) and I still use mine too! It is the perfect mid size, thick strapped shoulder bag and it is small enough to work for dressing up as well (I hate clutches).

Also - OP, I say a $160 purse that you will use for 15 years is a bargain!

centwise

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2017, 03:58:42 PM »
Thank you so much for all the thoughtful replies! This makes my decision much easier. I will definitely buy a high quality leather purse.

I did, however, change my mind about that particular purse. I noticed a potential drawback: it has a flap-closure with a magnetic snap, but the main pouch is wide open under the flap, which could invite items to fall out if the purse falls over (?). So I will keep shopping, and look for a similar one that zips securely shut (like my soon-to-be-unusable old purse).

But thanks to you all, I will keep looking in the same price/quality range -- looking for a bargain of course, but I will not go the cheap route. As I've learned here, cheap and frugal are not the same thing.

It seems like it would cost more than that to continually replace cheap purses that aren't perfect.

If you REALLY will keep one purse for 10-15 years, I'd do it. 


Yes, I'm a one-bag woman! I will use only one purse for many years. I'm not tempted by purses as fashion accessories. The hard part will be to find one that is really top quality so it will actually last for years. I've been burned in the past by expensive shoes that didn't last.



I agree. It would be very easy to spend more than $10-15 per year cycling through thrift store purses. Good leather lasts ages.

You may already be aware of this, but be sure to check the grade of the leather before you purchase. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that "genuine" leather is actually a lower quality grade of leather and not a statement that it's animal hide leather (vs. vinyl).

https://www.heddels.com/2014/06/overview-guide-leather-grades/

... and this will be extremely helpful.

Thank you all for the helpful comments. Love those Coach bags. But I've heard that the quality of Coach bags has gone down and "they don't make 'em like they used to". Can anyone confirm that? And thanks also to the person who suggested that I look for a quality used bag in an upscale consignment shop. That is a great idea and I will definitely try that.

So... I'm still shopping for a small (not tiny) leather cross-body purse, hopefully on sale for less than $200 Canadian! Anyone want to recommend a favourite brand or model? Thanks in advance!



« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 04:00:29 PM by centwise »

pbkmaine

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2017, 04:59:32 PM »
I believe that the "glove-tanned" leather bags at Coach are very like the old ones. You can tell the quality by the thickness. It might be worth visiting a high-end consignment store first to see what they have. We have several near me, and I am always seeing old, high quality Coach bags.

pbkmaine

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« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 05:04:39 PM by pbkmaine »


SomatoseVisions

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2017, 05:03:16 PM »
I can't speak to how they used to make them, but I've used my current Coach leather purse every day for 3 years and it still looks almost brand new which is saying something since I take no special precautions with it.

Meowmalade

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2017, 06:53:40 PM »
Look on eBay for Oroton bags!  They're like the Australian Coach. The vintage ones are so lovely and hold up very well.  I'm wearing a crossbody right now for travel that has a couple of compartments (the main one can zip shut under the flap).  The brass hardware is extremely high quality and is satisfying every time I use it :). I think it was something like a $300 bag new but I got it for $40!

Step37

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Re: Should I buy an expensive purse?
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2017, 11:59:17 PM »
I'm also thinking about getting a new bag, and your post reminded me to look for one! I like the Roots cross body bags, and I think the quality is good for the price. Here's one I like:

http://www.roots.com/ca/en/small-venetian-tribe-18019422.html?cgid=leatherHandbags&start=32&selectedColor=024#start=32


I need to go and try it out in a store to see if it will comfortably fit what I want to carry...