Should You Buy A Coach Purse? (3 Things My Coach Handbag Taught Me About Money)

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Have you ever had your eye on something that you felt like you just had to have? Maybe it was a new iPad or a piece of furniture. Literally, every part of you craves that item. Well, I’ve been there before. For me, it was coach handbags.

Ever since I was in college I wanted a Coach bag. I’d spend hours searching online gazing at the different coach handbags. I’d check out every pattern and decide which one I needed

The problem? As a poor college kid, I simply couldn’t afford a Coach purse.

Because I didn’t have the money to buy a legit Coach purse, I did what any self-respecting 20-something would do…I bought a fake purse in the back room of a shady store.

That’s right.

I was thrilled to have my fake Coach bag hanging on my arm. Was the stitching as nice? Nope. But I still felt stylish and important.

However, deep down I knew my purse was a fake. A fraud.

My First Coach Purse

When I was newly engaged, I begged my fiance for a true Coach purse. I mean, he was rolling in the dough with his big, fancy job (have I mentioned he’s a middle school teacher?).  

We found ourselves at the Coach outlet store on Black Friday and he reluctantly spent $150 on a new coach purse.

It smelled amazing. It felt luxurious.

And I promised him that I would use it forever. Yes, forever.

eye roll giphy

I bet you can guess what happened. I held that coach purse with pride and about two years later my style shifted. By this time I was pregnant with our first son, and we were trying to live on a budget so that we could pay off debt.

Suddenly the coach purse felt heavy on my arm. The brand screamed something about me that was no longer true. I no longer cared about fancy brands or expensive purses. I was focused more on saving money and spending less. (Also, I needed to start carrying a diaper bag soon!) 

That year I retired my coach purse. I didn’t have the heart to throw it out because I once told my husband I would use it forever. So it found a new home way back in my closet among other discarded items.

Years later I found it buried deep in my closet.

And it hit me.This purse taught me 3 major lessons about money and life.

1. Patience is a skill I must learn.

Here’s where I admit something that I’m a little ashamed of: I’m a naturally impatient person.

It infuriates my husband and I don’t blame him.

Here’s the part of the story that I left out: Just days before my husband bought me my coach bag, I decided once again that I NEEDED this bag. 

But I didn’t have the money. So what did I do?

I turned to my fiance who didn’t actually have the money either. I told him it could be my Christmas gift and just a few days later I found myself petting bags in the Coach store.

But what if I had been forced to wait? 

And heaven forbid, what if I had been forced to budget for the purse myself? Wouldn’t that have been the “adult” thing to do?

What if I had been forced to wait?

Imagine if I had been forced to practice the art of patience! Imagine if I had developed the skill of saving money. As someone who LOVES to spend money, I desperately needed a lesson on saving money.  

If I could go back in time, I would have told that 20-something girl to have patience, save up, and buy the purse yourself.

2. Material possessions will not bring me happiness.

I feel like every person has to learn this lesson sometime in their life. I’m just sad that it took me so many years to learn that more stuff doesn’t equal more happiness

I think I always knew that I couldn’t make myself happy by buying things, but I didn’t believe it. So instead, I tried to prove that you COULD be happy if you spend money.

In fact, it wasn’t until I took a good look at our budget to see that I truly had a spending problem. And do you know where I was spending most of my money?

On FOOD! I know food isn’t a material possession, but just stick with me here. I was going out to eat ALL THE TIME. In fact, I was picking up dinner at least 3-4 nights each week. Did I mention that I was also enjoying brunch both Saturday and Sunday mornings. And let’s not forget about the 2-3 Starbucks I was picking up each week. 

restaurant cash envelope

I used to get a thrill from finding a new brunch spot or dinner scene. And it was depleting my small teacher income fast.

I can admit now that my spending was pretty out of control. And when I had that coach purse in my hands, I felt 1,000% happy. I was the luckiest girl on earth. I knew without a doubt that nothing could bring me down from this coach purse high. 

Until something did. 

The thing about my fancy purse is that it’s just a purse

blue purse

The excitement wore off. Once the thrill was gone, all that was left was my sweet fiance who grew resentful because he felt forced to spend money on a bag. 

Is Coach worth it? Not if it means I hurt my loved one in the process and make him feel like I used him for his money. This point brings me to the third lesson my Coach purse taught me.

3. “Happy wife, happy life” is a lie. A flat out lie.

I fully admit that I pushed Matt to buy me this bag. I told him all the lies I could to get him to pull out his wallet. Lies like “I need this purse.”

He saw right through my lies, but he thought that if I was happy, he would be happy too. He figured that a happy wife means a happy life. And that’s a flat out lie. 

Looking back on the day he bought me my first coach purse, I was happy in that moment. But he was not. He was frustrated that I was asking him to spend his money on something that was unnecessary. He wasn’t making a ton of money and here I was taking it away for a bag that I just had to have.

Of course, I wasn’t able to see the frustration because I was too caught up in my own excitement. This was the first moment in our relationship where my husband and I had an issue with money. 

This was the first time that I took advantage of our relationship by manipulating him to spend money that he honestly didn’t have. And that trust took years to fix because I continued down this path until I finally decided that enough was enough.

pink purse with quote "happy wife happy life is a lie"

Are Coach Bags Worth It?

Now don’t get me wrong. Coach bags are high quality bags. And there’s a time and place for them in your life. However, coach handbags are NOT worth it if you cannot truly afford one.

Coach bags are NOT worth it if it means you have to pull out your credit card and go into debt to buy one.

Coach bags are NOT worth it if it means you’ll have to pull money out of your emergency fund to afford the purchase.

Before you take the plunge and buy a coach bag (or any luxury item), as yourself these 3 questions:

1. How many hours will I have to work to afford this item?

When it comes to making a large purchase (such as coach handbags), start by calculating how much time it will take you to buy the item. For instance, if you make $10 an hour, a $200 purse will take you 20 hours to buy. That’s half your work week!

If you make $200 in ONE hour, then it’s a no brainer! But if you don’t make as much money, then a coach handbag might not be worth it in terms of your income.

2. Can I save up for the purchase over time?

Just because there’s a sale going on doesn’t mean you need to make the purchase at this moment. Instead, find a way to save up money over time to buy the luxury item you want. For instance, even if you save up simply $50 each week, it will only take you 4 weeks to save $200. 

Set up a savings goal for your coach purse if it’s important to you! Not only will you not go into debt for your new bag, but you’ll be proud of yourself for saving the money beforehand!

savings goals printable

3. Who am I without coach handbags?

This one might seem odd, but just go with me here. 

A coach purse does not define you. Advertisers and marketers want you to think that a coach purse wil mean that you are sophisticated and live a luxurious life.

But in the end, it’s simply a bag. It doesn’t define who you are or what you stand for.

So who would you be without the purse? Who would you be without the Coach label (or any label for that matter). You might be surprised to learn that you don’t even want the item you’ve been eyeing when you look at your purchases through this lens.

As it turns out…

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s odd how a simple coach purse can have such an affect on my life. What’s even crazier is that I kept my bag for so many years because of what it represented. I felt like I truly had to keep it forever

The young 20-something would have never thought that this bag would have such an impact on how I now view money, possessions, and my marriage. 

It turns out that the lessons I learned had nothing to do with a coach bag after all, and had more to do with my growing up and learning how to be responsible with my finances.

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    What My Coach Purse Taught Me About Money by InspiredBudget.com
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    • I’m 25 and thank goodness i don’t value purses that much. I only have one small black bag that fits my wallet, lip balm, etc I got it from forever 21 for $17 and I use it practically everyday and it’s still holding up really well. Thanks for sharing this I learned a lot ❤️

    • I have used Coach bags for over 35 years now may be 70 of them. Love the design,functionality,colors and most patriotism! Service is unparallal and that is Amercan brand at its best!

      • I agree with you. I have had my numerous Coach bags for well over 25 years. I take care of them and they all still look brand new. Absolutely worth the cost if you take care of them!

        • Yes, ladies! I love my coach bags. One I bought 21 (1999) years ago. The classic Court bag. I invested in a bottle or cleaner and a bottle of leather care cream, made by Coach. I knew how important it is to care for leather items that move and bend, because I cared for leather saddles and bridles, etc. for my horse! But I didn’t think saddle soap, etc. would do well on an expensive purse. But I have cared for that bag and it is still gorgeous. So $275/21 = $13.09 per year. THAT is a deal. I could afford it and it is worth every penny. The only negative for me was their signature chain and tag fell off, I got in touch with Coach, and they replaced for free once I sent my serial number on the bag. In our marriage we have a deal of informing the other spouse on single purchases over $100.00. Sometimes someone doesn’t get what they want because our budget can’t bear it. But we each felt respect and love for each other over willingness to discuss and veto.

    • I totally understand. My situation humiliated me. I was so disappointed in myself. But with much love and understanding from husband I learned too. Just for the record, my husband rocks. Thank you for the lovely article.

    • You should’ve bought a Chanel. Never goes out of style. Amazing resale value.

    • I have about half a dozen Coach purses. Excellent shape ,quality and they last forever.
      I didn’t buy one of them new. Second hand shops, eBay etc. you learn what to look for as far as fakes go. I never spend a lot of money on them anyway.
      Second hand and sometimes new, because people are trying to get rid of them for whatever reason, is the way to go

      • Hi I’ve done the same thing including Dooney and Bourke I like them, I agree on paying less.

    • I agree completely with not wasting money eating out. Also, not wasting money on trendy clothing/shoes/bags. I do believe in buying quality that lasts, and think a coach purse is a timeless fashion investment.

      • I have 13 Coach bags, one of which I use for a tool bag on my motorcycle. Am I wealthy? Nope. Do I have a sugar daddy? Nope. Am I in debt? Not because of my bags…The most i have paid is $35. I find them at estate sales and yes, Salvation Army in the hoi-polloi suburbs. Yes, they are all real. At least that is what my local Coach store says (and certifies) when I get them inspected and cleaned. I bought one a while back figuring it was a fake ($5.00, weird strap & stitching, but nice leather) Took it in to be cleaned for a fee of course when i took one of my real ones in. Lo and behold! It too was certified as real. She said it was definitely a “second” and was probably sold as such but not for the mere pittance of $5. I’m a happy Coach carrying cheapskate!

    • I love my Coach Bags!!! But I am cautious with my money.. no body should buy anything they can’t afford but saving up for a high quality bag like a Coach Bag is happiness!!!

    • Thanks for sharing. I believe this was just for me. I have been searching the internet for a reasonable coach or michael kors purse for the last two weeks. I just don’t have the money to purchase it right now. Reading this article made me o.k. with that reality. It is also an eye opener because I am a shopaholic. I need to stop. I am encouraged to do so. I need to budget my money. I totally get the point where this article is concerned. I really believe that God wanted me to see this. Thanks.

        • That is the only way that I have purchased my five Coach Handbag’s is online at the Coach outlet. I have no desire to spend more than I can afford.I am very satisfied with the five handbags that I have.

          Thank you

        • Mine have all been purchased in outlet stores during markdowns. I like to see what I’m getting.

    • I love Coach, anything Coach! I bought my first 30 years ago, and I still have. In between I have bought many, I bought a beautiful black one last year, it was an over $400.00 bag, reduced to 119.00, and I thought I have to buy it. Used it for about a week, and put it in my closet. This spring I sold it to my neighbor for $125.00. I’m 79 years old, and only then did I realize all the money I have spent over these many years, that I could have used to travel to places I wanted to see. Which I did these past three years. Now, I carry a little crossbody, Patricia Nash, which I find fits my needs.

    • I bought my first coach saddle bag at the tender age of 19. That purse has carried books, it has been diaper bag and still have that bag, well worn with love. I bought bag in 1987. That’s the only one I bought. My daughter’s father bought me one for Christmas in 1998. I bought one at a yard sale for $5, best $5 spent. The other two I have I got from my mom,(she stop carrying it, so I took it) and sister’s mother in law was downsizing and she gave me an-almost-brand-new-still-in-box Coach bag. I have all bags and I still carry them. The craftsmanship of these bags is wonderful. Why buy a $20 bag 12 times a year, when you can buy a good handbag that will last decades and look good..

      • I personally don’t buy a handbag 12 times each year. To each their own!

    • I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. As an avid Coach carrier for many years now, I am terrible actually horrible, as I will go without groceries so that I can have a new Coach bag. I know, I know, I keep telling myself it’s just a Coach bag. But hey it’s a Coach bag and wallet..lol I have all that I’ve ever bought and don’t think I could ever let go of any of them. yes I am pathetic worse than you actually, but yes you are absolutely right. Thanks again for a well-written and very enjoyable article. Blessings and Coach in your future, signed, a die-hard Coach mania person

    • I have 2 coach wristlets that were about $20 from their outlet, now I will never own a true designer purse unless someone gives me one and I’m not asking! I’d much rather spend it on an Airbnb and go somewhere. But I’m weird like that.

    • Your article on Coach bags resonated with me and made me smile. I am on the opposite spectrum as a woman in her 50s that can easily afford a one, but the $350 price gave me pause. However I too told myself I would use it forever as I really love the Hobo style and soft leather. Alas, after a year, the shoulder strap frayed and so I paid Coach $75 to repair. After another year with the same issue, I paid a leather shop to repair. Now after a couple years, the zipper lining is torn. This time I have the pleasure of paying Coach $125 to repair. Although I still love the bag, after all the issues I have had in 4 years, doubt it is going to be “forever.” I feel Coach quality is definitely not worth the price and will not be purchasing another one. Thanks for sharing.

    • I have 2 coach bags that I found in the goodwill. The nice thing about coach bags is that they’re such high quality that a used one is still great.

    • I have a few Coach bags, and I really on like one, which I have not been able to find again. The leather is smooth and soft. I paid almost 200 dollars for it. I also ordered a coach replacement strap and I was not satisfied with it so I sent it back and I have not received my refund yet. I will not he purchasing any more coach bags.

    • My brother bought me my first coach bag when I was in 7th grade (1980) and I still have that bag here today. And I still carry it as I rotate my bags so they won’t get worn down. I can honestly say my bag still looks great. I feel back then the leather was better and thicker. My brother started my purse addiction.

    • I have a collection of vintage coach purses, that I absolutely love. They’re timeless, the leather is exceptional. I purchased two bags brand new over 20 years ago, all the rest of my collection are pre-loved. They never go out of style.


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