What qualifies as “expensive” or “inexpensive” is different for everyone. How much money is too much money to pay for something you want depends on a lot of things, and when it comes to handbags, every person’s perception of a fair price for a particular piece is going to vary widely. What we want to know is where you draw the line.

I have no idea what an objectively “reasonable” price for a handbag might be. I’ve worked in the fashion industry for too long and loved handbags for too long, which has warped my understanding of money and fashion. I balk at paying a hundred bucks for a new rug from Target, but paying many times that for a bag seems like no big deal, which is something I ineffectually struggle to reconcile all the time. That battle was probably lost long ago, though; as Popeye would say, I yam what I yam.

Still, I have a finite number of dollars, just like virtually everyone else. I can understand why someone might pay $30,000 for a gorgeous crocodile bag, and I can thought-experiment my way into imagining that scenario, but that’s far outside the realm of possibility for me. Personally, the most I can imagine spending on a bag is around $1,900–something about the one in front is comforting. An extra hundred bucks wouldn’t make a big difference monetarily, at that point, but it’s a world of psychological difference.

Obviously, I value having a good handbag more than most people on Earth, and I’m lucky that a handbag of that price level is an option for me, even as a rare and saved-for treat. We all have our financial and mental limits, though, and I suspect (or, maybe, hope) mine won’t be budging any time soon.

With brands doing price increases left and right, where and why we tap out has been a hot topic in the PurseBlog offices over the past few months. Most shoppers have an ideal upper limit in their heads–what’s yours, and could you see yourself breaking it for a bag you really love?

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • I’d say around the 6000 mark. I don’t do a lot of buying, and what I buy I take care of and use. I really exchanged quantity for a few classic, durable and useful pieces that I see myself using the heck out of. I told myself I won’t let myself have more than 10 bags (Excluding clutches) because at that point I won’t be getting enough use out of each one. I won’t go above 6000 unless something changes drastically in my life. Good question Amanda!

  • Michelle

    The most I’ve ever spent on a bag is $1500 and that was a one time only thing (it was my, hey I just survived my divorce I deserve a really nice treat type of thing). Most of the time I try to stay under $500. Also, I’m really good and keep a very straight face when my mother says she can’t understand paying more than $100 for a purse.

    • T Tara Bagnista

      One day my former boss bragged about getting a bag for $8 at Kohl’s (after several coupons). I just kept silent.

      • nicole s

        I have family members who carry bags that are under 20 bucks. They are frayed, plastic, dirty and disgusting. They all love Kohls too LOL! Look I’m all for a bargain, but that’s going too far. I love handbags and just recently picked up a large guccissima sukey in chocoalte brown-love her. Most of the women in my family think I’m a wackjob for spending money on purses. I can’t stand “bagshamers”.

      • Stina Sias

        My family is made up of “Kohl’s shoppers” too, consequently I’m embarrassed to admit what I would *really* spend but suffice it to say I don’t get my bags by coupon stacking.

  • T Tara Bagnista

    Historically, my threshold had been about $2K, reflecting the price I had paid for a Gucci Soho bag a couple years ago for my birthday. That was not an everyday occurrence, though. Recently, I splurged on a Chanel GST and Bottega Veneta Cabat; however, that was due to a better than expected bonus this year (after allocating funds to necessities). In the future, I will likely stay in the range of $1,500 to $2,000, trying to get items on sale whenever possible.

    • Guest123

      I’m in a similar spending range as you (roughly $1600 to $2100) — although I’ve gone over for Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta. Most recently, I’ve bought the Chloé Faye and Jimmy Choo Ally — I like shoulder bags with a good zipped interior pocket. I agree with you strongly about spending only what I can pay in cash (preferably) or within a month. I’m also very careful about where the bag is made. I’m not paying over $500 for a bag made in China (and I’m not interested in a crocodile bag, croc embossed regular leather is fine for me).

      • Sophie Proust

        I’m also in a similar spending range, though I can’t quite imagine going over $2K – as Amanda said, the one in front is comforting. And sorry, slightly off-topic, but what do you think of the Chloé Faye? I’ve been thinking about buying the smaller size. Thanks!

  • Sofia

    No more than $3000.

  • pinksky777

    I suppose I would have to say 2500$, only because that’s the most I’ve ever spent on a bag so far,and I’m 25 years old…. My friends/family think I am a lunatic, but like you, Amanda, I for some reason can very easily justify paying a lot for a handbag, but that rug you spoke of…. I’ll find a hundred reasons why it’s too damn much lol. It all comes down to what you absolutely love, and feel as if you cannot live without!

  • followme on insta SHANNA_BRUCH

    my most expensive bag is 4000€ which is about 4400$ so i guess that’s my limit for now. maybe one day, when I get a nice job, i’ll spend more. but I also have another rule: max 1 bag per year.

  • FashionableLena

    The most that I’ve spent on a bag is $500. I do own luxury babs, but I’m really good at haggling and finding bargains on the second hand market. However, once my job situation is more stable, I will start saving for an Hermes Lindy because that is my holy grail bag.

  • hheh

    The most I will spend on a bag, at this point in my life, is $500. I want to spend more on a handbag, but I really can’t bring myself to do it. Every time I go to do it, I feel sick to my stomach. Maybe in a couple years when I turn 30, and I’m making a little bit more at my job I’ll be able to stomach it.

  • O.A

    i think my psychological limit is 5000 as i need to add a chanel and dior to my collection but def no more than that. Once i get those 2, i will likely limit to 2000 since I have a long wishlist

  • Yazi

    So far around $1000 or if it must reach a limit then $1500. Of course brands raise their prices all the time so our thresholds will likely increase with each year but it makes me physically sick to spend too much on a bag when I know it’s ultimately a luxury item and there are more worthwhile goals in life..

  • Lori

    For me $4000 would be the limit. Overall, I feel more comfortable in the <$2000 range. I don't spend a lot on clothing or shoes, so my bag allowance is a bit disproportionate, but it works well for me.

  • Winnie

    I love this topic and reading people’s opinions on the forum and their reasoning as to what their threshhold is. I would have to say with the bags I currently own, I would probably not spend more than $3k CAD on a bag, but (a) I have to be basically obsessing over it and (b) it would have to be somewhat “classic” to me so it can stand the test of time. I always thought with more expensive bags, I would be getting better quality and better customer service but that is not the case as I have learned from spending around $5k on a bag so I’ve lowered my threshhold so I can be less disappointed. And I totally understand the $100 rug from Target, I would be apalled. ;)

  • Laura

    Some years ago my limit was 1000€. With price increases everywhere I stretched it to 1500€. The only exception is my Chanel which was 3950€. I had to save up a long time and also sold other bags to afford it.

  • Irene

    It all depends on what my means are and what I can realistically spend without it wiping me out $$ wise. Also depends not only on how much a person can afford but what they feel is an appropriate amount. I personally am in the 1,500.00 range. I won’t spend 5k on a bag just on principle alone. I want that 5k Chanel bag but I would try and find a consignment one in good condition.

  • AAAA

    My ceiling is about $2,000, although I prefer to spend $1,500 or less. With that said, I did purchase a Chanel in February. I told myself it needed to be a one-time thing though. The sad thing is that just a few years ago I didn’t really want to spend more than $1,000, but nowadays that won’t really get me any of the brands I want.

  • tata

    i keep making silly rules for myself. like no more than my one month’s mortgage… haha i know it’s silly. but somehow mentally, i can justify it as long as it’s less than that. as of today, that is $3k. or another rule is 10% of my bonus… i just keep coming up with silly excuses to justify my spending habit! lol!

  • Marvis

    Mine is $ 2100 US which is about $2600 Canadian –but–it has to be a bag I’ve been hunting–usually on TheRealReal so originally the bags were much more.
    It the only way I can get to the $4000 bags –as that absolutely crosses my limit

    • Daisy

      I know exactly what you mean, Marvis! I think it’s time to set a budget per year instead of per bag as I end up buying more myself. ????

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  • khm

    My highs so far are a BV Cabas, Diorissimo and LV Sofia Coppola – all were between $6-7k each, but lately my limit is around $4k. I think I could break that limit for another special bag, like a Hermes but I’ve never been especially fond of the Birkin. We shall see!

  • Sandy

    I plan on purchasing a Chanel Boy soon…or maybe another Classic so I guess I will spend about $6000.00… When I put it in writing it just sounds crazy, right? I have considered a Birkin…not sure if I will ever actually get one.

  • PJGambler

    I spend a lot of money on shoes, tricky jackets, St John suits, etc., so $3.5K would be absolute limit on the bag.

  • Ushma

    Most of my bags are in the $2,000-$4,000 price range, though I have a few chanel classic flaps that were more – right now my cap is probably about $7,000. I also try and make sure that my more expensive bags are classic pieces that will age well and that I won’t get tired of. This is a product of my financial situation though, because I refuse to get into debt to finance a bag – I only buy what I can pay for immediately. This might sound a bit brash, but if I could afford it I’d be happy to spend the $30,000 for a crocodile classic flap – so I guess my ceiling is more circumstancial than really a mental barrier.

  • itsahobby!

    My limit is $2500 for only ONE bag a year. It must be something that really suits me, be of good quality, and will last for years. I can’t afford 90% of the bags listed on this site but I enjoy learning about them and reading the posts. Its fun! Amazing to see so many people who can buy like ten $6000 bags a year!!!! WOAH!!

    For me to break the limit it would have to be something uncommon or that REALLY strikes me. My “if I could” list: Valextra Manzoni in blue ($3900); LV San Germain ($2900); Gucci Soho python shoulder bag ($3800); something fantastical from Judith Leiber.

    Loewe had some gorgeous bags a few years ago but now they are dreadful. I don’t think I’d buy a Chanel.

  • Taki

    For me my limit is 3K, but when it comes to Chanel bag and only Chanel bag, I don’t seem to have spending limit… @_@;;

  • Amazona

    My comfort zone ends at ca. 600 euros. Over that, it’s too expensive, no matter what my financial status is. I need bags that I don’t have to panic over all the time; I don’t want every little scuff or scratch to be the end of the world. Even if I was filthy rich, I’d be really bummed out if I damaged an expensive bag!
    My favorites are all within the 200-400 € range, and even with improved finances I’m not looking to change it. I’m happy with my bags and actually, for the first time ever (and after my latest sale finds) I feel like I have everything I need. For a long time.

  • Stefanie

    My most expensive bag is my Chanel Jumbo (I paid 3450 Euro and it now is 4745 Euro, which is insane…) and I will never again spend that much money on a bag. The second most expensive bags I own are around 1700 Euros. I am more likely to purchase something around 1000 Euros (such as a Speedy B etc) without stressing over the price.

  • Jennifer

    Except for my 3 Chanels, 2 GSTs & one patent flap, I’d say $2000. I’ve had many LV over the years, but other than Chanel, nothing else had really tempted me to climb above $2000. I’ve loved Chanel since I was little girl in the 80s, so I didn’t really have a threshold for those bags. Others brands cause me to pause before spending.

  • Scottsdale Kim

    Recently I fell in love with a Fendi Peekaboo Selleria. I couldn’t pull the trigger when I found out that it was over $4000. I just didn’t feel that my love would be long lasting enough to warrant the price. If I decided to consign in a few years, I’d probably take a bath on resale. If I was offered a coveted bag from Hermes that I was as In love with as the Selleria but was exponentially more expensive, I’d actually be more comfortable buying it because I would probably get a better portion of my money back when I decided to consign years later than I would with Fendi. Make sense? I look at the cost to carry the bag during the period I own it more than the retail price.

  • Mya Wilkes

    I bought my Chanel classic flap last year at 3,425 pounds. That is my farthest limit until my disposable income rises significantly. I really want a Hermes Kelly but I simply cannot afford it. I also desperately want a Chanel Boy but I cant buy two bags in that price range so close to each other because of the impact on my pocket. sigh, such troubles!

  • KBowness

    I guess my question is, are you all paying $4000 cash for these bags or putting them on a credit card? My husband and I don’t have any credit cards so I always think in terms of saving cash to pay for big purchases. Together as a household we bring home around $100,000 and my bag range is typically $500-$1500. For a frame of reference, I would love to know what everyone’s income level is in relation to buying a $2000-$6000 bag? Is this just normal practice now and I’m super behind or am I just totally not on anyone’s income level? Just curious!

    • Sparkletastic

      I’ll say this much. My limit is about $5000 for a bag and about $10k in bags per year (since each one isn’t $5k that means 3-4 bags a year: 2 Chanel or 1 Chanel and a couple others). We are a debt free living household so no paying for purses with debt.  I buy what I want and can afford and then I stop. LOL! 

      I think each person’s answer for your question would be different. Some people are very wealthy but wouldn’t spend more than $150 on a bag. Some are lower / middle income and will run up debt for their dream $20k bag. It’s all about priorities not necessarily income or means. 

      The only commonality we all share is we all LOVE beautiful bags! 

    • nicole s

      My income is 140,00.00 a year. I still keep it under 2,500.00 for a bag. I go in and out of phases so spending 4k or more when I change my mind so often about what I like from time to time is kinda dumb. I no longer have regrets when I buy either. I also consign what I no longer love too.

    • Luka

      I have a realky hard time spending big money on bags but it is all relative I suppose. Two years ago I bought a Chloe for $1300 and have worn it daily since. I am contemplating a new Chloe at $1700 and it is freaking me out. My husband and I earned a little over 300 this year but there was a time we were living off of 50k with two car payments, student loan, etc. so I think it sticks with you.

  • adguru

    Like many of you, my idea of “reasonable” is unfortunately escalating! So I’ve been consigning the older bags I don’t love to save up for — or at least reduce the hit of –the expensive stuff I really want. Rather than looking at bags by individual price, my strategy is to plan a yearly amount, which lately is about $10,000. That might mean one Chanel and a couple of other bags, or 2-3 pricey ones. It helps keep me from buying too many at a time. I’ve also decided this year to start limiting my purchases to only those that are leather-lined, which to me seems more to justify the high prices. I just can’t do 3K+ on something lined in fabric :-) Fewer choices = fewer temptations!!!

  • ellavanw

    My ceiling has crept upward over the years. I try to rationalize it by buying fewer purses; I now have all the basic building blocks in my wardrobe, so new purchases have to be either upgrades of items that are wearing out, or just so spectacular that I can’t walk away from them. I bought a Birkin two weeks ago in taupe, so that will be my spring-summer work bag, and I have vowed (to my husband, so this is actually semi-enforceable) that it will be my only handbag purchase for 2015.

  • Daisy

    Wow, we’re letting it all hang out, aren’t we? ;) My price limit is US$2,000 & I’m very particular about quality. Designer bags aren’t available from trustworthy sources where I’m from & mail theft is common, so I lust after them online (oh hi, Purseforum! :D) then inspect them by hand for the first time when I plan to buy them when travelling. Many times, the quality isn’t worth the price & I keep my nest egg for a more worthy purchase. I only buy 1 bag per brand so I get a more eclectic collection for my buck.

    With that said, I broke that ceiling once, & it was for a navy Louis Vuitton Vivienne bag ($5000) last year. I waffled over it for more than a year but (1) I liked every single thing about it (expect price lol), (2) it suited my lifestyle perfectly, & (3) matched my whole wardrobe (including evening wear). I realized I couldn’t say those 3 things about any bag I’d seen before it, so took the leap. It’s become my most loved & used bag so it was worth it to me. I doubt I’d ever break that limit again though; those 3 qualifiers I mentioned are pretty hard to meet.

  • Maya

    I chose luxury bags (and clothes) for “added value”, it has to have that detail that makes it special, wheather the design, cut or fabric. As far a my price ceiling, I would make an exception for Chanel and go as high as 5k but more so around 2k for the more “one a regular basis” bags.

  • Ghi

    I don’t like to spend more than $2000 per bag, except for my Chanel Jumbo Flap. It was worth it. Chanel classics are always the exception. I used to buy 1 designer bag a year…now I’m not doing that. I’m focused on saving and l will only buy a bag if it’s a must-have classic bag that I dream about. This way I prevent myself from impulse shopping. So I didn’t buy a bag the last 2 years! Also, I don’t buy colorful designer bags because I know I’ll tire of them.

  • Vicky

    It was 4,000 for Chanel flap and now I just stop buying after the price raise. Just can’t keep buying anymore. My gut feeling tells me this is getting too much, so I guess that’s my limit.

  • Agnes Man

    Maxx for me is AUD $6500, i don’t think i can justify buying any bags above this price point, i.e. Hermes B or K…As much as how passionate I’m with bags, the most expensive bags i have are from Chanel.