Wondering how to afford Louis Vuitton? If you can save 1% to 3% of your income in less than a year, you might be able to fit a designer handbag into your budget!
Louis Vuitton is one of the most recognizable luxury brands on the market. Their purses run anywhere from $1,500 to over $15,000. Do you want to add one of these fashion pieces to your wardrobe but not sure how to make the math work? I recently purchased my very first Louis Vuitton, so I can tell you exactly how to do so without breaking the bank!
It took me more than 10 years to be able to afford Louis Vuitton!
I’ve wanted a Louis Vuitton bag since my early twenties, but I wasn’t able to buy one until recently in my early thirties. No matter how much I lusted over luxury purses, my income and financial obligations didn’t match my expensive tastes. I’m telling you this because I know what it’s like to want Louis Vuitton and genuinely not be able to afford it, and also to point out that even if you can’t afford it right now, doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to.
I’ve always had a penchant for designer handbags, but previous to my first LV most were in the $200 to $400 price range. I don’t buy purses often, probably only once every 3 to 4 years, so my collection isn’t very big. However, I do find higher-end purchases are nicer and last longer than their cheap counterparts. I like handbags in particular because they are functional for any occasion and any outfit.
My Louis Vuitton Rivoli MM
It was hard for me to decide which Louis Vuitton bag to be the first in my collection, but eventually I settled on the Rivoli MM. For me, this was the perfect everyday purse that went with most of my outfits, while still being large enough to carry mom essentials like diapers!
How to afford Louis Vuitton
Because a designer bag is a pure vanity purchase, you absolutely must buy it outright. It is not appropriate to take on any debt in order to buy a handbag. It seems silly that I even have to type that, but I understand the temptation and the price tag so let me reiterate: do not go into debt for a purse.
It’s also important that the rest of your finances are in good shape. Maybe you’re debt free, but you also have no retirement savings. It is not a good idea to do some luxury shopping in lieu of fiscal responsibility. You need financial security more than you need a fashionable wardrobe. For this reason, there are some things to consider to determine how to afford Louis Vuitton or another luxury handbag.
Before you buy a designer purse…
- Do you have an Emergency Fund of at least $5,000?
- Do you have more than $10,000 saved for retirement AND an automatic monthly contribution from each paycheque to your accounts?
- Are you 100% consumer debt-free? That means no credit cards or lines of credit!
Once the above is taken care of, saving for a designer handbag is probably easy because you likely have good money habits already developed. It also won’t cause you any real financial stress because the most important things are taken care of.
Crafting your luxury bag budget
How much you’re going to spend on Louis Vuitton or another designer purchase depends mostly on what you actually want to buy. Luxury handbags and accessories come at a variety of price points. Which one you want to save up for depends as much on your personal preferences as it does on your actual budget!
The 3% rule
If you’re really stuck and feeling uncertain about what you can spend and how to afford Louis Vuitton, 1-3% of your gross annual income is a good starting point. Why? Mainly because anything less than 3% of your gross income is not particularly disruptive to the rest of your financial life.
If you earn $50,000 per year, your luxury bag budget might be $500 to $1,500. If you earn $100,000 per year, you can probably afford a purse that’s $1,000 to $3,000. Higher incomes almost always translate to more disposable income, so even percentage calculations can fall apart if you’re less than a six-figure earner. Trying to acquire Louis Vuitton on anything less than a $75,000 salary is not impossible, but it’s certainly difficult.
Shopping at a discount or secondhand (or stolen!)
What kind of experience you want with your Louis Vuitton is also part of the equation. For me, being able to purchase an authentic Louis Vuitton bag directly from the Louis Vuitton store was really important. This is even why I chose to visit the actual store instead of simply ordering the bag online. I wanted the full Louis Vuitton shopping experience. However, this may not be as important to you.
If all you want is the purse, you can get it at a steep discount if you buy secondhand hand. You can find designer purses on eBay, or in consignment stores. When you purchase a bag secondhand, you don’t know as much of its history. It will be harder to verify if the bag is authentic, and it might even be stolen. However, it’s most likely that someone who purchased a Louis Vuitton purse or another designer handbag directly from the retailer now wants to sell it. Nevertheless, it’s up to you to learn how to recognize a designer bag from a fake (if that’s important to you!) and shop accordingly.
Can you save up the amount you need to purchase the bag of your choice in less than a year?
If you want to own a designer bag, you have to save up for it. If this is difficult for you to do, you’re probably not ready to own one. A year a reasonable time to save up for a designer purse. If it’s going to take you longer than 1 year to buy the purse of your choice, chances are you’re not at the income you need to really afford it. Ideally, you want to be able to buy the bag you desire in 6 months or less.
Using my suggestion of spending 1% to 3% of your gross income on a designer purse, let’s say you earn $90,000 per year and the bag you want is $2,000. To save $2,000 in 6 months, you’ll need to set aside $333 per month. To save $2,000 in one year, you’ll only need to set aside $167 per month. I recommend KOHO for saving, because the app will let you set aside a small amount on a daily basis. You can read my full KOHO review here.
A short timeline is important because I don’t think a purse is worth disrupting other spending goals for any real length of time. Life is more than purses. It includes vacations and weddings and babies and other enjoyments. If you’re eyeing a bag that’s going to require you hit the pause button on spending on everything else for an extended period of time, you’re better off focusing on increasing your income until you can better afford it rather than trying to cut things out to save.
Using a side hustle to buy the bag of your dreams
I personally took the ultimate shortcut with my Louis Vuitton purchased and used just one paycheque from one side hustle to pay for it. I realize not everyone has income streams to support this kind of purchasing power, but this goes back to what I said earlier: I didn’t either until now. I’m in the position where a day’s work can earn me a designer handbag, but that wasn’t true even 5 years ago.
Divide the purchase amount into hours or projects of your side hustle. Side hustles are the perfect way to bring in extra money without pinching the rest of your budget. There are tons of ways to make extra money with side hustles, but projects like babysitting or freelance writing are some of the easiest. For example, if you want a $2,500 bag and you get paid $250 per freelance article, then you’ll need to write 10 pieces to earn the amount you need to buy it. If you can write 3 per month, you should be able to buy your purse in just over 3 months!
Set up a dedicated high-interest savings account for your goal. If you’re buying a purse that costs as much as a vacation, it’s worth saving up for it the same way. I still recommend EQ Bank as the best high-interest savings accounts.
Are designer handbags really an investment?
One of the perks of spending on a designer bag is they typically have high resale value. It’s unlikely my Louis Vuitton purse would sell for less than $1,000 even a few years from now, which means my money isn’t actually “gone” even though I spent it. Much like purchasing a car or jewelry, much of the value is retained within the actual asset. It’s not the same as having cash in the bank, but it does mean if you found yourself in a new position where you needed the money more than the purse, you could sell it.
Before you purchase a designer handbag, check local consignment shops as well as online. Look to see which used bags seem to be popular and how much they’re selling for. This will give you an idea of your purse’s potential resale value over time. While some bags increase in value because they become collectibles, most will depreciate, particularly with general wear and tear. You can maintain the value of your Louis Vuitton or other designer items by taking care of them.
Don’t forget the real ROI of money: giving you the life that you want
Initially, I hesitated about sharing that I bought a Louis Vuitton purse. However, I’m not the blogger the personal finance community deserves, I’m the blogger the personal finance community needs 😉 For years my spending has opened me to criticism about not using my money the “right way” by saving or investing it. While everyone else is living on Kraft dinner and saving pennies to maximize their retirement accounts, I want to remind you of a very important perspective:
The point of your money is not to earn the highest percentage return possible. The point of your money is to buy you the life that you want.
For some people, the life they want is entirely measured in dollars and cents, but for the rest of us, it will be measured in relationships, experiences, and yes, even stuff. It’s ok to use your money in a way where the return is measured in happiness and not dollars, so long as it’s not to your detriment.
I’ve personally hit a point where an extra few thousand dollars in my retirement accounts produces a negligible improvement to my overall quality of life. The $2,400 I spent on my LV purse would have grown to nearly $14,000 in 30 years, assuming a 6% return. But how much would 63-year-old me need another $14,000 if she’s already a millionaire a few times over? I have no idea, but I’m guessing she’d probably use it to buy a Louis Vuitton luggage set, so we’re right back where we started.