The Gucci Experiment: Do I Have Buyer’s Remorse Over The $1,200 Bag I Just Bought?

August 14, 2013  |  

This is the third in a three-part series. The first two parts are available here and here.

 

When starting The Gucci Experiment, I was determined to use my financial indulgence to learn more about myself and help readers understand the pros and cons of giving in to their desires for luxury goods with the hopes that my experience might save someone a few thousand dollars, including my future self. A recent study found that by 2015 African American spending will reach $1 trillion. Unfortunately this is not spending on homes, art, or antiques, but on consumer-based products just like the Gucci bag I purchased a month ago. African Americans make up only 13 percent of the US population, but spend at a growth rate of 30 percent more than the remaining population.

Even while armed with this information, it’s a challenge to suppress the desire for material goods. Many of us have gone without so much throughout our upbringing that a Gucci bag serves as validation that we have finally made something of ourselves.

In true never-had-nothin’ fashion, I have become completely neurotic about maintaining the bag. I’m always looking it over for damage, afraid someone will lift it from my grocery basket or from my chair at a restaurant, or worry that my flashy bag will make me a target for thieves. Furthermore, most times carrying around an expensive bag for the purpose of proving I can keep up with the Jones’ is deflating since I presume most people think it’s fake anyway. And if I were trying to impress my family, that’s also not happening since many of them don’t even recognize luxury brands. And those that do would assume that I got the bag from the same booster they got their Louis belt and bag from.

Although I had saved up enough to make this purchase, I realized later that I still could not afford this bag because I don’t have enough money to complete the lifestyle. Those who really can afford luxury brands have luxury bags to rotate, not just one that becomes overused and worn. This person can not only afford the bag, but the wallet to match. This person would also have the finances to make these purchases while simultaneously building their wealth. Or at least they should.

Many African Americans are spending money on consumer products while their overall wealth and financial health suffers. I must admit that after my humble upbringing it felt good to be able to walk inside the Gucci store and pay cash for a Gucci bag. But after having the bag for a while it made me realize that I still have a lot of work to do before I can really feel comfortable making such a purchase.

In the end, buying a $1,245 Gucci bag didn’t validate all of the hard work I had done up to this point. No material item can really reflect the person I truly am. Once many of us reach a level of understanding about why we spend the way we do, we will shell out less of our hard-earned money making the rich richer and focus on building wealth for ourselves.

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