Five Top Tips To Save Money On Designer Handbags
It was Christmas 2012; I’d practically skipped out of the office and onto the tube, eager to get to Harrods as quickly as I could. My festive bonus had hit my bank account, I was just to turn 30 and to be brutally honest after the working year I’d had I deserved the biggest and best treat I could find. For years I’d dreamed of owning my very own designer handbag, but those bad boys are pricey and I had never been in a financial position to justify nearly two months rent on something that carried around my house keys and packet of spearmint Extra. But I made a deal with myself that the combination of a Christmas bonus and my forthcoming 30th birthday meant I could justify the extravagance, and it didn’t take me long to decide what to splurge on: the Mulberry black lambskin medium Lily with silver detailing.
I still remember the joy I felt walking towards the Mulberry counter, asking for the bag of my dreams and waiting for them to bring me a new one for inspection. The softness of the leather, the reflection from the silver fastening, the weight of the metal strap in my hands… And then walking out feeling like an absolute boss, knowing I’d worked hard to afford every piece of that beautiful new wardrobe addition myself. I was hooked. I’d developed an expensive habit.
Over the last six years I’ve invested in my fair share of designer bags, from brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Anya Hindmarsh, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Philip Lim and Dolce & Gabbana. Every one holds a special place in my heart, was bought to mark a moment or celebrate a success, and will be cherished until the day I die – but that doesn’t mean I want to spend more than I have to if I can get away with otherwise. I truly believe that a designer handbag is a wise investment (if you can afford it) and I’ve stopped buying High Street 99% of the time so I can ensure every bag that joins my collection is there to stay. But there are still smart ways to save money on designer handbags – if you know how.
If you have a thing for luxury, dream of owning your own designer number or simply want advice on saving where you can, here are my top tips for saving money on designer handbags so you can afford to buy your dream accessory sooner than you think…
SHOP THE OUTLETS
I’m a huge fan of designer outlets because you can take advantage of huge savings, and Bicester Village is my personal go-to. Although they used to be filled with only the rubbish that nobody else wanted, they’re now bursting with styles that have only recently come out of season – and some are still available full price in their boutiques. The Givenchy Antigona in these pictures is still available to buy online for £2090, but I picked it up in February for £1400 after a very successful trip to the outlet. Still expensive, but that’s a £690 difference! It’s always best to go with an open mind as it’s very rare to find a specific bag, but if you’re flexible about your requirements then outlets are absolutely the way to go. My personal best buy was a Burberry tassel bag I’d seen on the catwalk and fallen in love with, which I managed to pick up for 75% off nine months later! (Read my top tips on visiting Bicester Village here.)
BUY SECOND HAND
If you have a particular style in mind, regret not picking up a certain tote a few seasons ago, or simply don’t mind buying used, then re-selling sites such as Vestiaire Collective are amazing. They verify the authenticity and quality, price it fairly and ensure it’s shipped to you safely; this is a great one to go to if you really have your heart set on something specific or love vintage looks. I’ve not personally used a re-selling site, but I’ve heard plenty of great things from friends who have – and it’s way safer than gambling on that eBay find being genuine.
BUY BEFORE YOU FLY
It’s no secret that airport shopping can be super tempting, but have you ever thought about buying a designer handbag alongside your discounted perfume? That 20% VAT saving can equate to a fair chunk of money, so the boutiques in the airport can be a great place to save money on designer bags; you can check which brands are available from your terminal online, click and collect from many stores, and even pick up your purchase from arrivals when you return so it doesn’t even have to fit in your case. I had my heart set on a velvet teal Gucci Marmont as a honeymoon treat to myself, and I managed to pick it up in Heathrow with a significant saving!
MAKE THE USE OF DISCOUNT CODES
So often there are 10% or 20% discount days or events across sites including Net-A-Porter and Selfridges, providing a sizeable saving when you’re spending a lot of money; it’s worth making a note of where your favourite brands are stocked, as often stand-alone stores don’t offer the same benefits. Make sure you sign up to their newsletters and follow them on social media so you know when a discount is incoming, and be prepared for end of season sales too.
HIRE A HANDBAG
If you can’t quite stretch to the full splurge, or you want a handbag for a special occasion but aren’t too fussed about keeping it, there are so many sites now offering a handbag hiring service – allowing you to use the bag for a set period of time for a fee that’s a fraction of its value. Although it may not be for everyone (some of the bags are still a few hundred pounds for a week,) it is a great alternative if you have a prom / wedding / ball to go to and want to make a real statement. Some of the most popular include Hire A Handbag, Front Row and Beg, Borrow Or Steal, but do your research and make sure you abide by their usage guidelines.
Let me know if you’ve ever saved a fortune on luxe labels or have any other tips to save money on designer handbags!
SHOP THE LOOK