November 28, 2006

Is that Bag really Worth it?

I remember the days when I used to want a Marc Jacobs bag, and the price tag was just too high for me: eight hundred dollars. It was so expensive, but oh-so-cute! It had small front pockets perfect for my phone and my keys and it came in so many colors, I wasn't sure if I wanted one in mint or one in brown... but $800? I couldn't afford an $800 bag, but I couldn't make myself stop wanting one.

So I decided to become pro-active about it. I was going to work harder, make more money, find a better job if necessary...whatever it took.

And I did all that. But when I was finally able to afford the bag (well, not really afford it, but at least able to save for it), something inside me had changed.

Actually, two things changed: Marc Jacobs bags were now priced $1,000 and up, and my desire for one had vanished. Now that I had the money to buy one, I just couldn't.

Something was stopping me from dropping $1,000 on a bag. Mostly it was the $1,000, and all the other things I could have spent it on. Was it fair to spend it on a single item?

I tried rationalizing the cost. I tried convincing myself that it was ok to splurge once in a while. That it was something that I had wanted for a long time. That it was a beautiful bag worth so much work and sacrifice... but it didn't work.

Yes, it was a beautiful bag, but I could find many other pretty bags at a fraction of the cost. Yes, I had always liked to spoil myself, but I didn't need to spend a grand to do it. Yes, I had waited a long time to get it, but now I just didn't want it as much.

I spent the next few days thinking about what else I could have spent $1,000 on: a pair of diamond studs, a new laptop, a week long vacation, a puppy... and suddenly "just a bag" really sounded like what it was: just a bag.

I knew that a lot of people in my place would have gone and bought the bag, but I couldn't find one reason why I should have. I found many reasons NOT to.

The main one being the fact that even though I could save for one, I still couldn't afford to carelessly drop $1,000 on a bag.

:::Independent Women by Destiny's Child starts playing in the background:::

See, I didn't have a trust fund, my parents didn't support me, no one paid my bills but me...

:::music stops:::

So I never got the Marc Jacobs bag.

Today I will still stop and look at one, and even glance over to a Gucci or a Dior one. And then I try to picture the kind of woman that drops $10,000 (!) on a bag, and I wonder...

I wonder how unless this bag does some special trick for you, say it's magic, and if you wish for it, it will spit out Christian Bale's phone number, there is no reason why any bag should cost that much.

It can't even be excused as an investment, because its price and quality depreciate with time. You will never be able to sell it for more than you bought it for, and you might not even want to wear it next year.

And especially if you can't afford it, please, don't charge it! If you need to have it, save for it. And maybe when you have all that money saved up, just like me, you will change your mind and find something better to spend it on. Or not spend it at all.

That's what I did with my $1,000 back then, I invested it in a Roth IRA account, and it's been doing very well for me. Find me a bag that will do that for you.


moxie said...

Very well said - I think a lot of us needed to hear this. Thank you for the level-headed thoughts!

NY Spender said...

What's sad is most women think like that, but then go ahead and buy the bag anyway.

Anonymous said...

What's really sad is, most people know they can't afford something and but still charge it to a credit card. Then the bill shows up:( Why on earth did i add to my debt like this.

Lauren Messiah said...

I had an almost identical situation with a Marc Jacobs bag. I had the cash but I just couldnt do it.

Model Citzen said...

I'm going through the same thing right now! I work on 5th avenue, and walk by Prada every day... it's beyond tempting.

Model Citzen said...

I felt that way about the Stam Bag last year, but held out... glad I did!

Anonymous said...

This just reinforces the fact why I sometimes buy those knockoff bags on the street. (only if its not too obviously fake). In a month when I get tired of it, its not like I am wasting $1000. viva la knockoffs! lol

Anonymous said...

Thank you for those words. I've been eyeing and drooling over a L.A.M.B purse for months now but just can't seem to imagine or even want to plunk over $600 for it (even though it would go with everythingggggggg).

Anonymous said...

What's sad is most women think like that