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Now if you are like me, you love to carry expensive name brand bags. Unfortunately when you become a mother, it is rare to afford such luxuries. Have no fear, there is a way to still carry adorable bags made by top designers and not break the bank! My secret.... thrift stores, pawn shops, consignment stores, flea markets, online consignment shops, Facebook marketplace and resale apps (such as Letgo). It’s important to know these items will not be current season but you can find some great staple bags from $1 to $50 depending on the brand. So how do I get great bags for Walmart prices? Here’s how...
Know your brands.
The first key to success is to know your brands. Know what brands are a premium label, how to check for knock-offs and what it would cost new. At my favorite local thrift store the name brand bags are generally behind the counter, but I still check the regular purse section. Sometimes a great find has been missed by a non savvy store clerk. Also, just because it’s behind the counter doesn’t mean it’s legit. I have checked many bags that were priced like a Juicy Couture and placed behind the counter but were obviously knock offs. I always set a limit for myself that I will spend for each brand and type of bag. This prevents overspending or going over budget. Even in a thrift store I am willing to spend more on a Prada bag than I would for an Coach.
Not Always a Success
The second key to success is to know every trip will not always be a success. I find going to the shops in the better parts of town have a better outcome, but sometimes it’s just duds. Don’t give up on that store! You never know when they will get that crown jewel that makes it all worth the search. At one store I found three great bags and matching wallet in a single trip but the next month they had nothing I wanted. A good rule of thumb is to rotate shops and do a weekly check online & on your apps. Great apps include eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, letgo & thread up.
Know what you need.
The third key to success is to know what you need. Just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean you should get it. The whole point is to not break the bank. So if you buy every good deal it defeats the purpose of saving money. When I go in a store I know the colors and sizes of bags I need. If I have three small brown or tan bags I’m not going to be looking for that type of bag. Make sure the bag is functional for your needs. Also, try to keep in mind your wardrobe to get unique colored bags that match your favorite outfit. This gives you variety and really makes you look like you spent the big bucks to get a matching high quality name brand purse.
Check the quality.
The last key to success is to check the quality. Just because you’re buying a used bag doesn’t mean you want to look like you’ve used it for years. Make sure there are no visible flaws on outside of the bag. If there is a visible flaw make sure it can be easily fixed or cleaned. Finding a flaw is not a reason to discount a great find! If the handles are not in great shape but the rest of the bag is like new don’t discount this purse if it is priced extremely low. You can check online for replacement purse handles and make the bag look like new for a few extra dollars. I did this with a beautiful burgundy leather Tommy Hilfiger purse with gold accents. I went on Amazon and purchased gold purse chain and made this bag a one of a kind! Also, a bag may have some marks inside, because of these marks the bag is priced lower or you can ask for an additional discount, no one will see these marks inside and you still get a great bag for an even better deal. If the visible part of the bag is in top notch condition and it matches your needs this is a great find! My rule is to purchase bags with one or less visible flaw that can be repaired or cleaned for little to no cost. Great tip, magic erasers work great on some bags especially leather.
My Great Finds
Here is an example of my great name brand finds. From my favorite local thrift store I purchased a gently used Vera Bradley crossbody bag with matching wallet for $10, estimated retail price $145. Flea Market find, a small brown Coach bag with traditional Coach logo, in like new condition, for $15. Coach bag estimated retail price $150. I found a new, yes new, rare large orange & red floral Coach purse with dust cover, inside packing materials and tags at a pawn shop. Retail price was $350, I got it for only $35. Adorable tan Douney & Bourke handbag for only $14, Retails at approximately $198. This is just to list a few!
The next step is to do a little homework online, decide what brands you like best, make a list of local bargain stores and go shopping! Now that You are armed with all this fantastic purse knowledge it’s time to hit the stores, click on the shopping links below and download apps. Happy hunting & don’t forget to show off all of your fantastic finds!