In case you haven’t noticed, designer handbags have made headlines lately because of the rising costs, increased demand and crazed enthusiasm surrounding the latest “it” bags. As a self-professed designer handbag connoisseur, I am constantly on the look out for the latest handbag trends. There’s one trend that irks me more than a row of fake Goyard and Chanel purses on display on 5th Avenue – handbag rentals. The Media is hyped with coercing people into joining a handbag rental service to carry a designer handbag in lieu of actually purchasing one. Although renting can be a smart alternative in many situations (car rentals, apartment rentals, cabana rentals, etc.), purse rentals are not exactly your best investment.
Like with living accommodations, financial advisors most often say buying makes for a sound investment because your money goes toward something that can one day recant its value or even make you money. Renting neither makes you more nor does it provide you with something to sell, so why would anyone “rent” an expensive bag? A lot of people like the idea of renting their favorite handbags because it minimizes the high expense associated with purchasing one or they like the idea of carrying a new handbag every month. But wouldn’t you rather put the hundreds of dollars it costs to rent a bag (rental, membership and shipping fees) toward saving for the new purse of your dreams, rather than put a lot of money (at least $200/month) toward something that you don’t even own? Personally, I like to look around for the best deal and use my money to add to my growing fashion accessory collection. And for the fashionistas who want to carry a new handbag every week or month to maintain status, your friends and co-workers will know you don’t actually “own” the bags you’re carrying; you are merely throwing your money away.
In addition to throwing your money down the drain, people who rent designer luxury take the risk of ultimately paying for the item they rent at above-retail costs. For instance, if your rented luxury item is lost or stolen (which happens often), the renter has to pay for the replacement cost which could be in the thousands of dollars. And don’t even get me started on damage fees when renting a fancy fashion item. How many times have you been out to a bar and spilled on your brand new designer handbag or dropped it on the ground. Rental services charge you for damage (other than normal wear and tear) to the handbag, too.
Despite a bad investment and the stress related to worrying about lost or theft of the rented designer accessory, one of the biggest concerns I have with renting a handbag is “germs.” When your rental arrives, you have no idea who rented it beforehand. You have no idea what was carried inside a bag or where the bag had been prior to it arriving at your doorstep. Throughout the year there had been studies released about the many germs and insects that thrive inside a handbag, including e-coli, salmonella, bacillus, superbugs and many more viruses. But what’s even worse than the fact that it is hard to have a germ-free bag, is that purses pick up these germs from normal use (using public restrooms, dirty make-up bags, etc.). Now think about all the places rented handbags may have been — you get the picture.
There are many other options to renting a designer handbag which entail owning:
- Shop around: There are a lot of web sites that offer today’s hottest names in designer handbags at discounted prices, like eFashionHouse and Overstock to name a few.
- Take advantage of sales: most big name retailers have great sales throughout the year, and although the bags aren’t as discounted as the online stores, you can still find a deal.
- Layaway: Some web sites, like BrandsBoutique, offer layaway plans so you can pay over time but still grab a new purse when you see it.
- Go Vintage: Vintage handbags are back in a big way. In fact some websites are now offering vintage bags and even consider them premium inventory. So don’t waste money renting a pre-owned bag when you can purchase one for the same price as a rental! Visit online shops like luxuryvintage and jillsconsignment.
- Save: One of the smartest options to owning a must-have designer it-bag is putting your money in a savings account until you have enough money to buy the item you want. Plus, once you are able to afford the designer bag, your investment item can be resold (today’s goods are tomorrow’s vintage). Some of the designer handbags resell at a higher cost than your investment.
If there is a designer handbag you are considering to get, but don’t have the money to spend to get it, think twice before using a rental service. You might think you’re saving money, but in reality your investment actually has no pay off at all!