How To Buy a Designer Bag When You’re Broke

If you’re reading this, you’re probs broke just like me.

But being broke doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things. Well, it doesn’t mean you don’t want nice things. Sometimes you can’t afford these nice things at all, but you still feel like you need to find a way to have them. Like, say, a designer bag.

Well, the good news is you don’t have to walk into Chanel and drop your rent money on a purse. The bad news is you’re very unlikely to ever find a designer bag for the price a normal person is comfortable paying for an accessory – but, you can find it for cheaper than the in-store price!

Sarah Davis from Fashionphile, a designer resale site, shared tips on how to get a designer bag on the low. Because let’s face it, they’re a worthy investment.

READ ALSO: 2016 Was the Best Year Yet for ‘Investing’ in a Birkin Bag

1. If You’re Calling It An Investment, Go Classic

Not only will the super trendy and limited edition bags cost you more, they’re also more of a risk if you’re banking on your bag standing the test of time. Sarah recommends going for a classic bag, like the Chanel Jumbo Flap, because they actually increase in value every year and they never go out of style.

2. Buy Secondhand

Sales are cool, outlet stores are better, but the ultimate places to find designer bags (or anything else, really) on the cheap are consignment shops. As someone who used to work at a consignment shop and had to mediate two grown women fighting over a Chanel bag, trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

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Consignment stores are like thrift shops, but much, much more curated. Most stores price items at 1/3-1/4 of the original price, even if it looks like new, and many shops only accept items under two years old and in perfect condition. If you’re not lucky enough to live in an area with tons of amazing consignment shops, there are also great options online. There’s Fashionphile, of course, but also check out TheRealReal. Poshmark is another option, but there’s less quality control, so you have to be careful to ensure you’re not getting a fake, which brings us to our next point.

3. Do Your Homework

If something seems too good to be true–like a Birkin being sold on Ebay for $300, it probably is.

“If you’re buying secondhand, make sure it’s a reputable seller or you will end up with a counterfeit,” says Sarah. “Your seller should have a solid returns policy and multiple authenticators. Fakes can even have registration numbers, so learning the signs is essential.”

Luckily, consignment shops and certain online consignment retailers authenticate and would never sell fakes, but if you’re navigating a site like Depop or Poshmark, you’re on your own.

READ ALSO: How Teens Are Making Bank on Depop

4. Be a Hard Critic on the Hardware

Hardware is probably not the first thing you think about when choosing a bag, but it should be if you want to ensure your bag lasts you for years to come.

Sarah suggests staying away from delicate hardware like beading, and I’d recommend even staying away from zippers if possible, since they can be so testy. Luckily, two of the most valuable bags have no zippers, and have sturdy hardware like the metal CC’s in a classic Chanel bag or the lock on a Birkin.

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