How to Afford Designer Brands on a Budget: Four Tips

Graphic design by Kayleen Dicuangco

Tips for investing in luxury and avoiding buyer’s remorse.

It would seem that social media is divided into a few camps: Shein carriers, second-hand shoppers, and luxury-loving big spenders. As someone who keeps their purse strings tight, I feel like I’m missing out.

In the past, especially during times of emotional distress, I would turn to shopping for comfort. It’s a seemingly innocent habit that can cause serious damage, like crippling debt, anxiety, and broken relationships. For me, overspending also manifested itself physically in headaches, nausea, and insomnia.

But let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with spending your money on designer brands if you can afford the price. The problem arises when it threatens your financial security, which in turn can threaten your well-being. That’s why Alyssa Davies, author of 100 Day Financial Goals Journal and founder of personal finance blog Mixed Up Money, says you should spend your money on things you really enjoy. “I just made it clear what those values ​​look like to me so that when I’m spending and shopping, I know I’m making good choices,” she says.

But how to differentiate the waste from the treasures?

The cost of living has never been higher in most Canadian cities, so the lure of fast fashion comes as no surprise. The price is hard to discuss, even though cheaply made textiles are piling up in landfills (not to mention the questionable business practices of some retailers). Many of us simply don’t have the disposable income to spend on designer items. “You don’t want to spend on someone you can’t afford to be yet,” Davies says.

But you are able to put money aside each month, the investment is worth it. I’ve come a long way from spending way beyond my means, and now I have my eye on a few pieces (I’m waiting for you, Chanel flap bag!). But before I let FOMO get the better of me, I need to take a step back and check my financial health. Here are four tips to help you do the same and afford designer brands.

Identify your core beliefs and values

The old me was risking everything to fit in by spending money I didn’t have. But after a few years of therapy and unlearning, I can’t afford to let the fear of missing something take over. That’s why defining your values ​​is an important step toward maintaining financial responsibility, and taking the time to assess how you feel about money will help you regain control of your relationship with your wallet.

Ask yourself: “What is important to me? Why? What brings me happiness and gives me purpose? How do I value money differently than my family, my partner, my friends? »

Once you find the overall theme, use it to guide all of your spending decisions.

Build a financial base

Establish a solid financial foundation before you make major purchases or investments is highly recommended. It can look like setting a budget, learning to use credit responsibly, having a plan to pay off your high-interest debt, and most importantly, creating an emergency fund.

Unforeseen events can be both stressful and costly. The general rule is to save three to six months of expenses, but the size of your emergency fund will depend on your lifestyle, monthly expenses, income, and dependents.

Take advantage of sinking funds

A sinking fund is money you set aside each month (separate from your savings account or emergency fund). You can use it as a savings tool for a predetermined one-time or irregular expense.

For example, I want to invest in the Moose Knuckles x Telfar Leather Shopping Bag before my birthday in August, so I’m going to set aside $132 each month. When that time comes, I’ll already have the money set aside specifically for the purchase, so I can splurge guilt-free.

Identify your spending triggers to help control your emotional spending

Buyer’s remorse can be caused by a variety of circumstances, but it can feel considerably worse depending on the amount of money spent and whether or not it was an emotional purchase (when you buy something you don’t need or even really want because you feel stressed, bored, unhappy… the list goes on).

The first step to avoiding a trigger (a situation or event that creates an immediate urge to spend money, whether or not the purchase aligns with your goals and/or values) is to identify it. The urge to spend can strike us anywhere, for any reason. Identifying your triggers now can help you spot them before your bank account takes a hit.

When your emotions are pushing you to overspend, take a deep breath, find a healthy mindset, and think about the repercussions of your purchase before you buy.

Like Davies, I’m more than happy to keep updating my designer brand wishlist and wait to make an investment rather than jeopardize my financial health for something I can’t afford…du least not at the moment. There is always next season!