Why I Will Never Own a Coach Purse

I hate Coach purses. A few weekends ago my BF and I went down to Birch Bay across the border to have one last mini-vacation before the end of summer. We wanted to relax and of course take advantage of all the ridiculous deals the U.S. has to offer. Seriously, if we had a Ross in Canada, I would probably be there every weekend.

Maybe it’s a good thing we don’t have it here. I still can’t get over how cheap everything is in the States though! A bottle of wine for $5? I don’t care if it’s terrible, it’s $5!!!

Sorry, I’m digressing. I just get really excited about cross-border shopping. Besides going to Bellingham to shop at the Bellis Fair Mall, we hit up a few outlet malls along the way too.

I’ll be honest, we did about two full days of shopping with one day of rest in the middle and it was awesome. However, once we arrived at the first outlet mall, I started to notice something very strange that I never noticed back home — everyone was wearing at least one brand name or designer piece of clothing or accessory.

The first thought I had was “Isn’t there a recession happening down here?” It sure didn’t look like it as I watched almost every woman carry around a Fossil, Nine West or Coach purse and every man wear a Nike, Hollister or Tommy Hilfiger shirt.

At first I reasoned that maybe those brand names were just way more affordable in the States as opposed to Canada. But after checking a number of price tags in the Coach and Nike stores, the prices still weren’t that cheap. A Coach purse at its cheapest is $200.

No offence to anyone who likes those purses, but what’s the big deal with all of them anyway? $200 for a small purse with a bunch of “C”s all over it? I do get that the point of buying this type of purse is to show off that you have a designer purse and that you are wealthy enough to afford one, but is that really the case?

Most of the women I saw walking around with those types of purses did not look like they could afford them at all! Plus, I’ve watched enough of the Real Housewives franchise to know one thing about purses — if you have real wealth, you don’t buy Coach, you buy Chanel.

Near the end of Shopping Day 2, I think the brand name thing started getting to me because I really considered buying this pale blue Coach purse that was on sale for $180. I have never spent more than $40 on a purse in my life, but call it crowd mentality, call it me wanting to feel outwardly wealthy for a bit, but I was seriously 5 minutes away from bringing it to the register. Then my BF asked me “Do you really want to pay that much for a purse?”.

So, I stepped back and realized what I was doing. No. No I did not want to spend that much on a purse. Not until I can actually have the lifestyle that goes with it at least. Even then I might still not want to pay that much for a purse. For now, I’ll just stick to the $30 purse I got from Ross thank you very much.

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Showing 44 comments
  • Holly@ClubThrifty
    Reply

    I have never owned a brand name purse either. I like all black purses so they always coordinate with what I’m wearing. I’m not into purses and shoes and stuff like that! I just don’t get it.

  • Modest Money
    Reply

    Yup spending that much on a purse sure is a waste of money. My ex needed a new purse every year or so and it usually ended up being coach. She at least wouldn’t get the ones covered in logos though. Personally I don’t care at all if my clothes are name brand. Most of the stuff I wear isn’t unless my parents happened to have bought it for me. I actually laugh inside when I see someone wearing some name brand that I knew probably cost 10 times more than it should’ve.

  • Laura
    Reply

    I love Kate Spade handbags because they are always super high quality material, never go out of style and last FOREVER (seriously, a few I’ve had for nearly 8 years!). It’s a designer label, but people don’t always notice it because the logo isn’t emblazened all over the bag. I have a “work bag” that I’ve carried every single work day for nearly 5 years and it still looks almost brand new.
    I don’t like bags that have the designer written all over them (Coach, Dooney and Bourke, etc). I don’t buy my bags to show my social status—but I think a lot of people do.

  • OutlierModel
    Reply

    I’ve never had a designer purse – I find that they all look the same. And there are so many knock-offs out there, why would I want a purse that everyone else seems to have (and probably paid cheaper for). I prefer to go to boutique shops and get something that suits MY style rather than go and buy a label that reflects someone else’s style.

    -CF (not sure how to make Discus stop posting as Brian…)

  • Debt and the Girl
    Reply

    I have a coach purse and I LOVE it. I bought this bag for a few particular reasons:
    1. I buy a new purse every few years or so and to me, I would rather buy one purse that goes with everything than have to deal with a bunch of smaller purses. Its just a storage issue.
    2. The quality is just better. Every other cheaper purse I have had has ripped or torn while coach purses just last every single time for me. And I am not a gentle person by any means.
    3. I just like their designs. I am not one much for status as evidenced by the fact that I have a limited wardrobe but I just happen to like how their purses look compared to others.

    Thats crazy that the cheapest Coach bag you found was for $200! I bought my bag at a coach outlet and it cost me $100 and it is not a tiny little bag at all. I think its all a matter of different strokes for different folks type of thing. I could never justify spending $2k on a Chanel purse but I am sold on the Coach brand.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      $100 definitely sounds more reasonable than $200, and you’re right, it’s way cheaper than a $2k Chanel. Though I do wish I could afford Chanel.

  • Kathleen O'Malley
    Reply

    I think this is one of those things where people spend on the things that matter to them. Purses are something that get carried every single day, so their expense is easy to justify. Also, I love that you go from nearly buying something to NEVER wanting it ever. 🙂 Thank goodness for the boyfriend!

    • Kathleen O'Malley
      Reply

      Totally — you get swept up in our “good deals” — or is that the wine talking? ALSO, why is wine so expensive in Canada?

      • Anne @ Unique Gifter
        Reply

        Taxes. It’s way cheaper in Alberta and Quebec, because they don’t tax it the same as other provinces. One of the ways we pay for our moderately large government.

      • Kathleen O'Malley
        Reply

        Ha, I have the opposite reaction in Vancouver — how on earth does anyone afford to get wasted in this town?

  • bogofdebt
    Reply

    I’m not really one to care about name brands. I care more about how comfy things are. I haven’t had to buy a purse yet (yay for others buying them every year if needed or not!) but I don’t think I’d spend that much money on it!

  • Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies
    Reply

    I get a new purse for Christmas every few years. My last one was ~$180, but it was a gift and I carry it every day (this Christmas will be it’s 2nd ‘purse-iversary’. If I hadn’t wanted it as a gift, I would have carried old bags or bought a Ross purse. (I’ve had some great Ross bags that I still carry as work totes!)

    As for designer, I tend to go with ones where you don’t really know it’s a designer. My current purse isn’t sold locally, so around here it’s uncommon, but beautiful. I’m always getting compliments on it and people are wondering who made it because they’ve never seen it before!

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      I think I’m more like you and I do love some designer purses but hate the flashiness of all those purses with the logo plastered everywhere. I’ve always told myself if I reach one of my big personal or work goals then I’ll treat myself to a nice purse, but I still don’t know if I can spend that kind of money on a purse. We’ll see I guess.

      • Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies
        Reply

        Yeah, this one is definitely my most expensive purse, but it was a gift from the in-laws that I picked out specifically. It’s weird, they prefer it when we specify exactly what we want as gifts. I tried avoiding that for a while, but ended up with gifts like a sweatshirt with otters silk-screened on it. Ya know, ’cause I like otters? So each Christmas I have a specific $-amount that I get to pick gifts out up to. That’s how I got the purse. Would never spend that much of my own $… but didn’t want $200 worth of otter clothing again.

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter
    Reply

    I have a coach purse, the type where the only branding is stamped into the leather on the inside though. It was $30 on eBay. I caved to this “have a nice one” thing… but went the super cheap route.
    I have never understood the LV ones… SO UGLY!!

  • Veronica @ Pelican on Money
    Reply

    Think about all the money you saved now that you look back at it 🙂 What did you use that money on instead? It was probably something better than stitched fabric that holds your things 🙂

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Haha well even though I didn’t spend $200, I did still buy a fair bit up stuff on that shopping trip. I think altogether about $400, but $200 of that was on a very nice belated birthday gift for my BF. In the end I think I ended up with two purses, a wallet, a pair of sandals, a pair of heels, two tops, and two sports bras. Not bad for only $200!

  • Mr. Everyday Dollar
    Reply

    A Coach purse, while expensive, will last forever. And if it doesn’t they will either repair it (for $20, which is usually waived by the store) or send you a coupon to be used for a new item free of charge. So the question is would you rather buy multiple lower quality purses over your lifetime that don’t have a guarantee or buy one Coach purse that lasts forever?

    Also, Coach Factory stores sell purses for less than $200. As a guy I actually know a lot about Coach because I am a shareowner.

    I wrote about the price to quality relationship recently, check it out at http://mreverydaydollar.com/buy-high-quality/

  • Cassie
    Reply

    I think you’ve probably hit it right on the head when you called it a crowd mentality. While I’m sure a number of the ladies were carrying them because they like the style, the quality, etc… there were probably just as many ladies carrying them for the sake of fitting in and looking the part.

    Personally, I do have a number of designer items, and the next major item I’m saving up for is actually a purse. Of the clothing items I’ve purchased, I focus on fit and quality. I’m difficult to fit off the rack, and some of the higher end stuff fits me better than the cheaper stuff. I don’t have a problem wearing old navy shoes with an expensive sweater or jacket. I think as long as you’re spending mindfully, and not to the detriment of the rest of your finances, the price tag on the items you buy shouldn’t matter.

  • myjampackedlife.com
    Reply

    My sister in law and I were just having this discussion about coach purses. How wierd is that! We both agreed $200 was way too much to pay. But it is funny how the brand name will eventually wear you down and you start to think, o maybe it’s a good deal. Nope. Good job on avoiding the temptation.

  • Bridget
    Reply

    I love my designer bag, though it’s not Coach (same price point though.. definitely not Chanel)

    I used to be all over aspirational spending to look like I had more money than I did — but all you really look like is like you’re trying too hard. I now spend more proportional to my income and its more authentic and looks better (I think so anyway). I definitely love designer items, but I like them logo & label free and within reach of my paycheque.

  • nicoleandmaggie
    Reply

    My sister bought my mother a Coach purse about 5 years ago. She uses it every day and it still looks new and is in great shape. Plus my sister got it at the Coach outlet, so it did not cost $200.

  • Jordann
    Reply

    Not going to lie, I love me some lululemon. I love the quality, and the fit. Other than that though, designer labels aren’t for me, too expensive for something that, after all, is just an object.

    • Jordann
      Reply

      That’s why I buy their stuff, I was sick of buying stuff that fell apart after a year!

  • jefferson @seedebtrun
    Reply

    I don’t get the plastered in logos look. Ooh, you can see that this is a name brand from every angle! I just don’t get why that matters. I buy bags that are functional, attractive, well-made, and practical–mostly.
    -M

  • Ornella @ Moneylicious
    Reply

    I’m not big on designer purposes. Like you, I don’t spend more than $40. Depending on the quality of the purse, sometimes (and I say this loosely), the more expensive purse is worth it. It all depends on how many times a year you buy a purse. If you buy 5 purses in a year at $40, you might be better off buying the $180 purse and not buying any more purses. But that’s reading too much into purse buying.
    I think it would be best, if you are into purses, to buy a few that you can easily match with your outfits–if that’s your type of thing 🙂

  • MyMoneyDesign
    Reply

    Well now you won’t be cool and don’t get to sit at the cool table during lunch! 🙂

    Ha! I know what you mean. Over the years I learned to buy nicer things over average or poor quality. BUT at some point, you’re no longer buying something because its better – you’re buying it simply for status. This type of attitude applies to basically everything I buy, and I feel that over time I’ll be much wealthier because of it.

  • MyCanuckBuck
    Reply

    Heheh..I swear everyone woman in Toronto has a Coach purse too – I feel so left out. 😛

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Haha, I kid you not, everyday on my 10 min. walk to work I’ll see at least 3 women carrying Coach purses. They’re everywhere!

  • Country Girl
    Reply

    I’m generally not a designer brand, label wearing type of person. I’m too cheap to start with and I can’t wrap my head around spending oodles of money on something I can for much cheaper elsewhere. Although, I will say I do own a leather Roots bag that was gifted to me and I love it. I also own COACH sunglasses, but I didn’t even realize they were name brand until I saw the case for them. I bought them because they were the style I wanted and able to handle my unreal prescription for lenses 😛

  • MakintheBacon
    Reply

    I have never bought a designer purse in my life. Purses are often given to me as presents or as hand me downs, but they’re not designer either. I’ll admit that I do have two Lululemon bags, but the first one was from my sister’s ex after they broke up and the other one I got off of kijiji used. The most I have ever spent on a purse was $40 and even that I thought was a bit much. 🙂

  • Mikhaila
    Reply

    Purse-onally (bwahahaha), I will spring for designer purses. Sometimes it’s an issue of quality, sometimes it’s an issue of “omg so pretty”. One time I marched down to Holt Renfrew with my security deposit from a crappy house I’d just moved out of and bought myself a beautiful Michael Kors purse. I’ve never bought a purse without having cash in hand. I will say though, Coach purses are definitely gateway purses: once you spend $200 (or less, I have one from an outlet that I liked better than my one from the store), it makes it easier to justify $300, $400, etc.

  • Frugal Flip
    Reply

    I definitely have my share of knockoffs (one I call a “Frauda” instead of Prada), but a friend of mine bought me a Coach wristlet as a birthday gift 4 years ago. We call it the “gateway wristlet,” and now I’m always looking for a deal on designer handbags! That being said, I will NEVER buy a Coach purse from one of their normal stores. I only shop at their Factory stores, and they’re always running a special for 30% off your entire purchase. I bought my first regular-size Coach satchel purse for $115 about 2 months ago. But as others have stated, I know I’m going to have it for at least 6-7 years. I also keep an eye out for Kate Spade’s twice-yearly online sample sale.

  • Mike Cantelon
    Reply

    Good call. Designer labels are for suckers. I’d love to come up with a designer label named “MEAT” because that’s how designers likely view the chumps that buy their sweatshop-produced crap.

  • Cait Flanders
    Reply

    I couldn’t tell you if anything on a girl/woman was designer or not. In school, one of my friends pointed out that another woman was wearing $600 jeans. They just looked like jeans to me! Another time, the designer jean woman told me about a pair of Gucci pumps ($595) her friend got her for her birthday. Sounds nice, I guess, but that’s not a lifestyle I can even begin to connect with. I do admit I’ve been drawn to Roxy pieces for years… but I guess that’s just my style? Like you, $30-40 on a purse is about all I can stomach.

  • Swoozie
    Reply

    Interesting comments. I’m surprised nobody mentioned finding a great purse at a THRIFT store! Seriously – it’s the BEST place to find a purse if you are a purse whore!! While I could afford to go out and pay cash for the whole Chanel store – I’m not into paying for designer labels (do you realize you are making someone else RICH while making yourself poor?! and they are laughing all the way to the bank!!). They do absolutely nothing for me. ZIP. Not impressed with people who wear/carry designer items, as I realize MOST don’t really “own” them – the majority put them on a credit card (can you say stupidity with finances???). No wonder American’s have so much DEBT! They just aren’t very smart with money – and always have to “keep up with the Joneses!” So sad.

  • Carrie Smith
    Reply

    I like your comment about, if you can really afford to be wealthy you buy Chanel. Ha! I totally agree.

    I was recently talking to my best friend, stating that I kept noticing everyone walking around with the Michael Kors (MK) purses and handbags. Seriously! I thought we were in a recession too?! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought my fair share of over $300 purses, but I keep/use them for years and years. Also I’m very picky with my taste, so it’s hard to find things I like and will actually wear. But that’s another story.

    For the most part I do think it’s crazy when you see people wearing designer brands and brand names, most of which they can’t really afford in the first place.

  • Jen @ Master the Art of Saving
    Reply

    I love Juicy Couture purses, not so much Coach ones. It’s all about the design and probably the label for me. I used to have an addiction to wasting tons of money on designer accessories, but not any more. Now I go for functionality and look for cheaper alternatives. 🙂

  • Virginia
    Reply

    It’s interesting that you noticed this. It seems to me, everyone owning designer purses is a relatively new thing. I think a lot of them are probably knock offs from China. That is why you see people in busted up sweat pants with Coach purses.

  • Janbeach
    Reply

    Sad to admit, my 13 year old granddaughter has 5…yes 5 Coach purses. The first one was used, from a friend. Daddy can afford it & mama even has granddaughters eyebrows done….some kind of string they use to pluck them. Do I think it is crazy, yes I do. Do I say anything…no I do not. I watched them shop a major Coach sale at the outlet mall in my town. I stood to one side & thought people were crazy. They were snapping them up & checking out. Then, E-Bay had this Coach sale a few months later & I fell into the trap. They are suppose to be the real deal & I spent $100. for one. To this day, 7 months later, it has not left my closet. I may give it as a gift to my daughter-in-law for Christmas. I as a rule do not buy into this type of stuff, & I call it my one day of insanity. Probably all made in China for $1.95 each.

  • Susan
    Reply

    As an American agree 100% on the post. Coach is for lemmings, no offense to the lemmings.

  • Marie
    Reply

    I’ve only ever bought purses at Wal-Mart for like $15, tops! Never bothered trying to match. Like anybody gives a crap if my purse matches my mom sweatpants and babyfood-stained t-shirt anyways… I bought the last one about 3 years ago, still looks new. I’ve never understood why women spend so much on stuff that nobody else pays attention to. I’ve never looked at another woman’s purse. I don’t want them to think I’m thinking of stealing it or something, so I just don’t look. Same with shoes. I don’t like feet, so I don’t look down there. You could have glitter and fur and all kinds of dumb goodies on your shoes and I’ll never notice.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Fair enough, spend your money on what’s important to you. Like for me, I’ve never been in love with clothes shopping. I’d always rather spend money on delicious food or travel. Thanks for the comment!

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