When the economy was humming along, fashion magazines liked to tout high-priced accessories like shoes and handbags, or even whole outfits, as “investment pieces.” I don’t care how rare or expensive a piece of clothing is, it’s not an investment. It will likely not increase in value over time. The mere suggestion that it will makes me stabby. What makes me even more stabby is that some designers are still continuing to suggest that you should buy an expensive handbag if it’s on sale and you will die if you don’t have it.

No Matter How You Justify It, $2,000 for a Purse isn’t Cheap
Some of these things cost $10,000. Even if you carried the $10,000 bag every single day for the next 60 years, it would cost 45 cents a day. Sounds reasonable when you think of it that way. Except that the average $100 handbag will easily last three years, at a cost of just 9 cents a day. And it will serve you just as well. Heck, you could be a $10 bag at Payless and it will probably last several months.

Who Needs a $2,000 Handbag?
No one. I don’t care how famous you are, no one needs it. Let’s think for a moment about the things we women do to handbags. We slam them in doors. We toss them in car trunks. We plunk them in grocery carts. We cram junk in them. We stuff snotty tissues in them if we have kids. We carry them in all rain, snow, and sun. We set them on bathroom floors. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to set anything I paid $2,000 for on the bathroom floor.

The Lack of a Handbag Never Killed Anyone
Well, I suppose that’s not strictly true. Somewhere, a mobster died because he lost a handbag that happened to be loaded with cash and/or drugs. But the lack of a handbag has never killed the typical woman. This is a thing that is used to carry your crap around. It will not change your life, unless your fortunate enough to scale down enough that you don’t have to lug a ten-pound sack around on your shoulder. And then you won’t need a $2,000 handbag anyway.

Clothing Doesn’t Increase in Value
In most cases, clothing, shoes, and handbags don’t increase in value over the years. I could maybe make an exception if the shoes were handmade by Manolo Blahnik himself and studded with diamonds, but then I wouldn’t wear those on my feet. They’d be in a safe deposit box. Even when a clothing item is “vintage” it’s not usually purchased for more than the original value (after inflation), especially for items that are mass-produced, as all those expensive handbags are. Only the rare and custom items really increase in value.

Will that Bag Really Be In Style Forever?
That’s the other argument they like to make. I can see a basic trench coat lasting me the rest of my life if I take good care of it and don’t change clothing sizes, but an orange handbag? There’s no way that will be in style for the rest of my life.

If you have lots of cash to spare and simply want an expensive handbag, shoes, or piece of clothing, go for it. It’s your money. I don’t feel that rich people shouldn’t spend the money they’ve earned because the economy is down. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be convinced to buy “investment pieces” you can’t really afford on the argument that you’ll use them forever. Take a good look at your closet. How many of those things do you imagine yourself wearing or using for the rest of your life?


3 Responses to “That Makes Me Stabby: The Handbag as Investment”

  1. Carnival of Personal Finance #205: Pay it Forward Edition on May 19th, 2009 11:20 am

    [...] from Sound Money Matters presents That Makes Me Stabby: The Handbag as Investment. I was unsure at first how someone might convince people a handbag was an investment, but I think [...]

  2. Moments of Fame : Funny about Money on May 22nd, 2009 8:32 am

    [...] by Buying the Good Toilet Paper at One Caveman’s Financial Journey (hear hear!)  ♦ Aryn gets stabby again at Sound Money Matters (LOL! The woman’s a master of high dudgeon)  ♦ Man and His [...]

  3. Ivy on August 8th, 2012 2:45 am

    Who sets their bags on bathroom floors?! That’s disgusting.

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