If you are a bag aficionado and an avid collector like myself, you likely have a Holy Grail Bag on your wishlist.
So here’s how it all began: the more I studied the history behind the world’s top luxury brands, the more I came to appreciate the fine craftsmanship of luxury handbags. Yes, the prices for these bags are pretty high but why is there so much drama and judgment around luxury bags compared to expensive watches, cars and other luxury items that men carry? If you ask me, watches and cars seem like bigger liabilities than luxury bags, but that’s a story for another day. Not to mention, diamonds can be a depreciating asset so I’ll take a luxury bag over a bigger carat, thank you very much.
Anyway, you can’t talk about fine, top-of-the-line craftsmanship without including Hermès because they are the only luxury brand out there where one single artisan hand-makes each bag. It can take anywhere from 18-24 hours and sometimes up to 48 hours.
In fact, I love seeing videos of artisans making Hermès bags and truly appreciate all the work that goes into it.
I used to see it as something that was just so utterly inaccessible to most of us. Then, once I started to learn more, I realized there is more than one way to get your hands on the Birkin besides dealing with the whole boutique song and dance routine. In fact, the Hermès secondhand market is massive. I totally understand people who want that ultimate boutique experience, but as a super Type A person, I know what I want and I want to buy a bag that has all the details that I want exactly and not wait to be “offered” something else that I don’t exactly want. Don’t get me wrong, I still love going to the boutique and seeing all the eye candy and walking out with some goodies in that beautiful orange shopping bag.
Now, let’s be honest. It is not cheap. In fact, it is expensive…obscenely expensive in some cases, but good things never come easy now, do they! The cost and value are two different things, and there are ways to save up for what you want.
Here’s how I started my “Birkin Journey” and my top 3 tips to save up for your Holy Grail Bag (remember, it doesn’t have to be a Birkin. Your Holy Grail Bag is the bag that is at the top of your wishlist!):
TIP #1: Create A Dedicated Savings Account
Name it your “Hermès Birkin Fund” or “Luxury Fund” or “Insert name of your Holy Grail bag here Fund”
The very first thing to do is to get super serious about your goal and create your own savings account dedicated to The Birkin Fund, which is what I did. Since I planned on saving for little less than a year until I bought the bag, it didn’t make sense to put it in an investment account, but rather an easily accessible savings account.
First, do the research and see how much you need to save to buy your bag either via the boutique, personal shopper or via consignment stores. Next, figure out the timeline as to when you want to purchase it. Is it for a special occasion? Is it 12 months? 24 months? Or much longer? Then, you want to figure out your monthly budget and set up an automatic savings for the amount that you are able to deposit each month and see how long it will take for you to meet your goal.
TIP #2: Forget all other shopping trips for a long, long time
You have to make sacrifices for your Holy Grail Bag. That is simply the truth. How did I do it? I basically cut ALL other shopping expenses for several months to prioritize my spending and put everything in my Hermès Birkin Fund. It’s much harder than you would expect. It is especially hard when your lovely SA from Chanel sends you pictures of some amazing accessories and scarves you’ve been eying from the new collection. I always had to remind myself that not spending that $500 on the scarf would mean I would be one step closer to meeting my goal of buying the Birkin bag.
It is even harder when you want to celebrate special occasions such as your birthday, your promotion, wedding anniversary or whatever it may be. Rather than spending money on a small gift, put that money in your Birkin Fund. During my journey, I had my birthday, Mother’s Day, my husband and mine’s wedding anniversary and many special occasions to celebrate, and each time, I contributed to the Birkin Fund rather than buying or accepting other gifts.
Keep reminding yourself why cutting out these other shopping trips and expenses is important for you to achieve your big (luxury) goal!
TIP #3: Don’t forget your financial priorities.
Only do this if you have extra money to spare after all of your financial responsibilities are met.
Now this is quite important. DO NOT listen to tips #1 and #2 if you are in debt or if you have other priorities. Luxury is luxury, which means it is not a necessity and something you can technically live without in life. Buying a big item like this means you are left with extra money after you pay all your bills, put money towards your future (savings, investment accounts, emergency funds, kids’ college fund, etc) and take care of your family and all financial obligations. DO NOT go into debt saving for a designer bag. JUST DON’T. Get your priorities straight. If all you can save is $50/month, make sure to extend your timeline. These bags are not going anywhere. Even if it takes years, it will be that much more worth it because you budgeted and saved for it!
BONUS TIP: Ignore all the naysayers who tell you how to spend your money. Finance is very personal. Some choose to buy expensive cars or watches and others like myself choose to collect designer bags. You do you, and do not get down by others’ judgment or comments about how you should be spending money. Besides, these luxury bags do appreciate in value over the years so you are essentially buying appreciating assets if you stay in the Holy Trinity of bags category: Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Besides, by following these tips above, you are responsibly earning your way towards your Holy Grail Bag.
This is my own experience and how I approached this. Hope these tips help you on your journey. Happy Shopping!