Tips for Buying Designer Handbags On a Budget

Designer handbags are women’s fashion weakness. Most fashion-forward woman dream of having at least one genuine piece of designer handbag – not that high-class knockoff.

However, it can be hard to justify and afford one, especially those which cost higher than your rent or even cost the same as a car or house. And when you purchase one, some people might ask you why you need to spend that much and that plenty of cheaper bags can do the job just fine. But most people buy designer bags because it makes them happy, and another reason is that they can last for a long time.

If you really want to buy a designer bag but can’t afford one yet, don’t fret. Did you know that you can find designer purses on a budget? Yes, there are legitimate sellers that sell genuine, high-quality designer handbags for less. If you’re looking into buying designer bags but you don’t have much in your savings, then you’re in the right place.

How to Afford Designer Handbags


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by No.1 Dior Fanpage (@dior_closets)

Designer handbags are indeed a significant expense, but if you prefer to buy designer handbags on a budget, here are a few ways to make it possible:

Save more money

So, before shopping for a designer bag, make sure you have the money for it. Don’t be an irresponsible shopper who gets a luxury item but uses all or most of their savings to buy it or sacrifices some needs to afford it. Worse, don’t buy using a credit card when you know you can’t afford to pay it with your income. If your funds are still low, it’s best to put shopping for a luxury bag on hold and prioritize saving more or earning more. Here’s how you can save more money for a luxury bag:

  • Cut back on things you spend money on every month that you can live without. Those bi-weekly trips to the nail salon, the cocktails at happy hour, the club entrance fees, and the fast food binges – you may want to lessen or even remove all these expenses and transfer that money into your handbag savings.
  • Instead of going to Starbucks daily, invest in a coffee maker and make your own cup of coffee at home. It’s cheaper in the long run. Each drink may cost about $5, and the price increases if you want to add some pastry or food items. If you go to Starbucks or any local coffee shop five times a week, that’s $40 a week or $160 a month. That’s a quarter of the way to an entry-level designer bag!
  • Sell some of your clothes online to have extra cash to buy a designer bag. You probably got loads of them you’re not using anymore but are still in great condition. It also lets you declutter and free up more space if you want to shop for new ones.
  • Get a side hustle. If buying a designer bag isn’t feasible with your existing income, you may need to add a source so you can afford one.

Set a budget for shopping

The first step in buying a designer handbag is setting a budget. Designer bags’ prices vary greatly, so it’s best to know how much you’re willing to spend before considering your options. It’s best to start with bags that are priced lower than the average retail cost of $500 or more, so you can buy multiple brands without breaking the bank. But if you want something that will serve as an investment, you may want to limit yourself only to purchasing designer bags over $1,000, say, $1,500 or $2,000.

Decide what you want to use the handbag for

When shopping for a designer bag, it’s essential to consider how you will use it. Will this be a bag that you’ll carry everywhere? Is it going to be a purse for dress-up occasions? Or will it stay at home for display and get pulled out only for special occasions? Will it receive the same amount of wear and tear as your everyday bag, or will it only see occasional use?

If you plan on using the bag frequently, it’s best to invest in a high-quality one like leather or suede. You’ll want a material that can withstand daily wear and tear without being scuffed up.

Choose your style and brand

You must ensure that your handbag will suit your personality, current wardrobe, and body type. Be specific with your requirement so you can streamline your choices and find one that can meet your budget. Check out different brands and designs, and choose the perfect material before buying a designer handbag.

If you’re eyeing a brand (or some brands), think about the style of that particular designer’s bag line. If you’re buying a bag whose other designs are the same as what you’re looking at, it’s safe to say that their signature bags will align with your design choices.

Familiarize yourself with the aesthetic of the brand you like and do some research. Look at examples of their works and look through reviews. Check photos of real people wearing those bags to get an idea of how they will look like on different body shapes.

Consider where you’re buying the item

When considering where to buy a designer bag, remember that not all bags are created equal. Many factors determine the quality of the item, and sometimes, it can be lost in translation when buying online or from less reputable sellers.

Consider where you’re buying from, not just what you’re buying. For instance, not every manufacturer makes their bags within their country of origin. When shopping for luxury items like designer bags, it’s important to consider who manufactured them. Not only will this affect how long shipping will be, but also whether its materials were ethically sourced and if the factory adheres to international labor laws.

The same designer may create different brands, but not all are designer bag-level. For example, the company that makes Coach bags may also make Kate Spade or Michael Kors bags and other brands. This means that depending on where you buy your bag and which company manufactures it, the construction techniques used can significantly vary between brands and even within brands.

Wait for your must-have item to go on sale

Though classic pieces from designer brands rarely go on sale, you can find seasonal items with a classic vibe during the annual or biannual designer brand sales. Be patient and keep your money while you haven’t seen the classic bag design you love that can fit your budget.

If the brand has an outlet store, you can also find designer bags at outlet malls. Some designers do have them, where you can find sales and coupons.

Compare prices

If you’ve spotted a specific handbag you’re interested in, do your research. Search for the bag on different websites and sellers and compare the prices. If you see a steep difference between sites, you may call local stores to see if they carry the bag at a more affordable price. It’s also useful when comparing physical and online retailers, vintage dealers, and consignment shops.

If the seller doesn’t offer any more discounts from their original price, try to ask them what kind of perks or discounts they offer to people who pay in cash rather than by credit card. You may get a deal from there.

If you’re traveling to Europe, try buying a bag there

Designer handbags that are made in Europe are cheaper in Europe to buy. We’re not telling you to hop on a plane and travel to Europe to buy a designer handbag. But if you’re already traveling there for a business trip, a work function, or a vacation – it’s an excellent opportunity to make that shopping trip to buy a designer handbag at a discounted price.

If a designer brand company is headquartered in Europe and imports the product to, let’s say USA, the price of their bags reflects additional fees like import tax, sales tax, and import of the good. If you purchase the bag directly from Europe, you avoid these costs.

Consider lower-priced brands

Sure, a Louis Vuitton or Hermes bag will be expensive, but if you’re willing to make that investment, then it’s worth considering. But many other options won’t break the bank but still offer the features and craftsmanship that you like.

If you’re on a budget but still want great quality, try looking at brands like Coach or Kate Spade. These brands offer stylish and quality purses that aren’t too pricey compared to other famous brands.

Choose quality instead of quantity

Think about all the cheap things you purchased through the years. They fall apart pretty quickly, right? The same goes for bags. Since it’s not every day that you can buy a designer bag, be pickier when choosing what to buy. It’s better to purchase one quality item than three items that won’t last. Buying high-end designer handbags or clothes will save you money in the long run. An original, designer handbag will last for decades, even with constant use.

Check the reviews first

One of the best things about shopping online is that you can check reviews before buying the same item. If you have an eye on a bag, check the reviews from multiple sources, those who have purchased the bag and those who have used the bag for a long time. It’s important to read how well the product has held up under different conditions. If you want a bag that’s going to be an investment, you’ll need to be careful.

Save for the big-ticket items

Do you dream of having a Lady Dior bag or a Hermes Birkin? These are high-priced items you may aim to buy, regardless of whether they are on sale. It’s essential that you save for them and not charge it to your credit cards.

Saving up for the item will help you decide whether you still want the item after weeks or months have passed. Once you can buy it, then you’ll value it more and regret it less. Wait until you find the perfect handbag with the design you love and pay for it in cash to avoid buyer’s remorse.

Shop at second-hand sites

The best way to save money on a designer handbag is to buy pre-loved items that are slightly used. Handbags depreciate, so why buy new ones if you can get something that’s gently used for a fraction of the price. If you don’t mind if your bag is new or not, you can consider buying second-hand designer bags. Make sure that the store or site you buy from sells authentic second-hand designer bags.

There are great reseller sites where you can buy quality, authentic designer handbags, such as:

  • The Real Deal
  • Tradsey
  • Poshmark
  • Fashionphile
  • Rebag

Consider renting before buying

If you are not yet ready to fully commit to buying a luxury bag, renting is an option you may want to consider. Renting designer handbags, clothes, and other luxury items is easier than you think. It makes it easy for you to enjoy expensive items cheaply and not worry about them going out of style quickly. And if you absolutely love it, you can buy it at a discount. Here are some of the best places to rent designer items:

  • Bag Borrow or Steal
  • Rent the Runway
  • Le Tote


The most important thing to consider is that buying designer handbags is a luxury, not a necessity. Treating yourself occasionally to stuff like this is acceptable as long as you can pay for it on your own and put your needs before anything else. There are many benefits to buying high-end luxury things, but they are still a luxury and not a need.