Fashion Economics: How to Save for a Designer Bag You Can’t Afford

Confessions of a young wan living beyond her means

how to save for designerphoto: Joolie Collier

Words by Joolie Collier
March 27th, 2018

More often than not I am behind-the-scenes, secret saving for a splurge on something or other.

Saving for me is akin to going to the gym; I don’t really like it but it feels pretty darn good as soon as it’s over. However, I am much more diligent with saving rituals than I am with gymming. Just a kind of FYI from me to you, using the showers in the gym after work does NOT count as exercise. Despite what I have told myself countless times, do not fall victim to my disillusion!

On my breadcrumb savings scheme, it took me over four years and many failed attempts to make it to my first major goal, a Chanel handbag. Talk about playing the long game right?! I was nursing that saving fund for what felt like forever. I would get off to a great start and then life would get in the way or I would fall in love with something else in Brown Thomas or on Net-a-Porter, and then lose all willpower in sight of a pretty, less financially devastating item and have to start from scratch all over again — albeit with a new pair of shoes or a wallet to soften the blow. If this isn’t the definition of first world problems then I don’t know what is.

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Saving for something that is so totally beyond your means might seem like a fool’s errand — my Mammy thinks I’m mad half the time — but setting a financial goal and edging towards it takes serious discipline and major self-control — something I do not have when it comes to grocery shopping. I head out to get dinner and a healthy snack and come back with two Easter eggs, a handful of Freddo bars and a selection box (no matter the time of year!). This is chocolate economics and something I am terrible at!

But fashion economics, this is where I excel. The key is patience. Patience and good walking shoes. In order to successfully live beyond your means, you need to be aware of one major lifestyle stipulation; broke girls don’t take taxis. We walk. Or get the bus if we are feeling extra fancy. This is sad but true.

Right here is where I usually lose people to my methodology. But it’s imperative that small sacrifices are made. You will always get to where you are going, just in a more financially sensible way. Walking is good for the mind, body and bank account. Therefore, by extension, your shopping bag and of course, your wardrobe.

The breadcrumb saving scheme is exactly what it sounds like and if AIB starts using the term you will know where they got it from. It means that you put small amounts away as and when you can. It’s a very casual arrangement that you make with yourself and yourself alone. You squirrel away savings in small amounts, breadcrumbs if you will, and you do so on a regular basis. This allows you to avoid feeling ‘the pinch’. When one feels no pain in the run-up to any big spend it makes the actual big spend much more enjoyable.

Be warned though, this type of saving is just so good it’s highly addictive. It may lead to you feeling very financially fancy. It may lead to many many purchases. It may lead to you breadcrumbing the majority of your income into a swanky new handbag or shoes and taking the bus for the rest of your life! Or if you have really pushed your squirrelling to the max as I have done many a time, you will end up walking your new wares all over town. This is fine though! You can cancel the gym membership, save that money too, continue shopping and hit your 10,000 steps a day.

This, is fashion economics.

You can find more fashion musings from Joolie here: