The GUCCI Experiment: Can I Live With The Decision To Purchase $1,200 Handbag?

June 27, 2013  |  

This is the first in a three-part series of stories.

via Facebook

The Situation

I am a big fan of Instagram and the one thing I can count on seeing daily is people showing off their latest splurges on designer labels. As I scroll through my timeline and see pictures of Gucci, YSL, Louis Vuitton, Christian Loubutin, Chanel and Tom Ford purchased by non-celebrity types, my accounting education and finance professional experience only leads me to wonder whether these people can really afford the garments and haberdasheries they post online. Like, are their 401Ks being fully funded? Do they have an emergency fund? Are these purchases being made on credit? (I can be a pretty lame shopping partner.)

I am always on top of my personal finances, but I am not above having an insatiable desire for nice things. I have been working in my current job for a couple of years now and live comfortably on a two-person income with my husband. We have no children. There is a saying that I can’t quite recall, but the gist is “the more money you make, the more expensive your taste.”


Recently I have been in the market for an everyday purse and the one that caught my eye is the Vintage Gucci Web Boston Bag (pictured right). After laying eyes on it during a brief trip to the Gucci store in Vegas, I have not been able to shake the desire to buy this hunk of beauty. I pull this bag up on my computer about once a week just to look at it and imagine how great it will look on my arm, complementing my self-proclaimed fashionable wardrobe. However, it’s been over six months since I first saw the bag and although I have had the money, I have not been able to talk myself into making such a frivolous purchase.

I have discussed the issue with my husband so many times, he’s just about flat out told be to buy the bag or hush up about it already. The biggest issue that I have with this purchase is, as a fiduciary, or someone who is responsible for the finances of others, how will this impact my image? Will people start to believe I am superficial, knowing I have a $1,200 accessory on my arm that could be lost, stolen, or the victim of a soda spilling accident? Will people really want to allow someone who carries such a bag to be in charge of their finance?

The Motto

In my very own philosophy, I have a concept of FREE money. For a person that has a well designed budget, this is the money carved out to spend on whatever you like, after you have paid your bills and saved. This money is intended to be guilt FREE, hence FREE money and basically you should be able to spend this money on whatever you want without your spouse or significant other giving you the side eye or carrying the weight of any guilt because you have already handled you responsibilities.

The only problem is this Vintage Gucci Web Boston Bag is making it hard for me to follow my own advice.  I have saved up my FREE money and can afford to buy the bag but still haven’t pulled the trigger. I’d like to think I can suppress this desire to become a part of the fancy bag totting club, but my Coach and Dooney and Bourke bags just don’t seem to have the same luster as they did before I saw the V.G.W.B.B.

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  • ChanPayne

    JUST DO IT!!!!!! Money is meant to be spent. As long as the purchase doesn’t put you in debt and the main bills are paid, you deserve it. You have one life to live. You cannot take money (nor possessions) to your home going. You deserve the best that you can buy you. My first job was on 39th and Fifth Avenue and during lunch time I had no where to go but window shopping. That led to seeing those Red Gucci Boots in the window and it was over after that purchase. Having expensive taste is an understatement for me. I like and deserve whatever I want and can afford. I have been buying Gucci for over 25 years and still have those boots and my hundreds of purchases. Good quality products last forever. It’s all about budgeting. When I splurge on expensive items, I am comforted in knowing that I have that same amount and more in my savings account. I worked for it therefore I deserve it all. I am now spending upwards of $4,000 on handbags (Louie etc) which is crazy to some, but I have to purchase what I desire in this lifetime. I travel extensively and I also donate to lots of charities, church etc. A friend once said “What else are you going to do with your money”. I am not materialistic at all. My favorite handbag of all time cost $50. I will wear shoes from $20 to $2000, it doesn’t matter. I will carry my gucci bag and have on skippies and wear my gucci shoes with my nine west handbag. I like what I like. I do not care what people say or think because I’m not trying to impress anyone and people will have something to say either way. i.e co-workers stay in my business. I wish I knew my home going day because I would make sure to spend every dime I’ve earned because my beneficiary sure will. I’ve always been afraid that I would never get a chance to enjoy my money that I’ve been saving for a lifetime, therefore I AM AND WILL BE ENJOYING IT.

  • sabrina

    When I first started working, my goal was to buy an LV bag to reward myself and to showcase to the world that I too had “made it” (even though I was literally at the bottom, but hey, I graduated and had a job so that was good enough for me!) Once I saved up enough money, I stopped and thought — is this really worth it? There’s so many other things that I can spend this money on. I ended up not buying it, and I realized I made the right choice. I spent that money elsewhere, which proved to be more fruitful. Plus, I realized I’m not about that materialistic life. I’d rather take a vacation somewhere. Or use half of it to be a blessing to someone, like my mom.

    But I can’t wait to read about your experience after you buy it!!

  • ksocial

    Buy it! You only have one life. It is wise to save but do you want to be on your deathbed not knowing the feeling of buying a designer bag but knowing you saved all this money that you can’t take with you. Buy whatever the hell you want. Just save enough money for a rainy day. I will not be gulited into depriving myself of things I like by people who think its bad to like nice things. If you don’t want to spend the retail price, buy it used. This what I do. Who knows the difference.

    • CAP

      I HEARD THAT!! Lol When we work hard, we should feel comfortable with occasionally indulging when we can truly afford it. Just not too often 🙂

  • Racquel

    I wouldn’t buy it…it’s just a material thing. People are too consumed with material things! I don’t spend my FREE money on things I spend it on trips with my son. The memories I make being able to travel with my son and expose him to things will always be worth the money. So I go without buying the latest clothes, cars, (I already own a nice home) and expensive jewelry to drop my bag on trips. Because in 10 years no one is going to care about what Gucci bag I was toting around but my son will have memories for a lifetime.

    • CAP

      Thanks for the advice! I think you make a great point on spending money on traveling. I have done some traveling and created some memories with great friends! Sounds like you have a good understanding of FREE money, and don’t feel any guilt about taking your trips. I just need to get to that space with buying my bag


  • Patricia

    I say don’t buy it. Keep you money and invest in Gucci stock and support legimate black businesses. You should consider purchasing black designers bags, clothes and shoes.

    • CAP

      Do you not indulge in designer lables? You never see yourself purchasing an expensive designer bag?

      • Dragon Senait

        Well I don’t ever see myself paying a thousand bucks for a purse. I”m an Earthy, frugal woman, so that type of stuff doesn’t interest me. I don’t care about labels. I care about what’s inexpensive and the durability of a product. Those overpriced bougie purses don’t last any longer than the cheap ones. The most i’ve ever paid for a bag was 60 bucks. And it started wearing within a few months. The majority of these products are cheaply made in China. So save your money and buy inexpensive bags. Black women are just too consumed with materialistic stuff.

      • Patricia

        No. I don’t spend that kind of money on expensive bags. I can use that money for other things, like I say before investing money in stock and supporting black businesses.