In the past year, I’ve been able to add some fantastic handbags to my collection. I am very particular when it comes to handbags and what I am looking for, and I tend to have a very strict budget to work within. I have had quite a few people write in to ask how I’ve been able to source my bags, so I have been working on this post for a bit now. I actually do a lot of my best sourcing in the few weeks after Christmas, so if you have your eye out for something, this is a great time to look! These are my best tips for After-Christmas shopping….
I think that we all know that stores put things on sale for Boxing Day/after Christmas sales. If you are one of the strong ones who braves the crowds on Boxing Day, I salute you! However, the week following Christmas Day is also a fantastic time to look for good deals on eBay! There are a few different reasons- I think a lot of people quickly realise just how much they spent before Christmas and now need to cover some of that spending. Other people have received new items for Christmas, and need to make room in their closet. And it is definitely worth looking for a few weeks after, because people will go find things in those Boxing Day sales and then put theirs up for sale in late December.
In Store/Online Retailer Shopping
If you are looking to purchase something from a store, either in store or online, look around to see all of the retailers that carry it. Depending on the brand, it may be carried by 4 or 5 different department stores and you may be able to get a much better discount from another store carrying the same item. If it is coming from an international retailer, check out Borderfree and similar services to see if they are offering a discount code for any of the options. Also, pay attention to in store vs online sales. A lot of retailers are offering different in store and online offers, and I’ve noticed in recent years, that the in store promotions can often be much better. (I know that it isn’t always possible to go in person, but if it is, make the trip!)
There are several reseller sites, including eBay, the Real Real, Tradesy, and others. Because I’m in Canada, Poshmark and several other apps/sites aren’t available here, so I’m not incredibly well-versed in those. My best bargains have come from eBay in the last year, and I find that the site is quite straight forward and easy to use. Customer service is also quick and responsive. However, you will find that certain brands are more popular on certain sites, so don’t limit yourself to just one site if you are really hunting!
1) Buy It Now vs Auction, Make An Offer
As I said in my guide to buying designer items on eBay, there are a few ways that you can purchase on eBay. You can bid on the item auction style and wait to see if you end up winning. Some items will also have a “Buy It Now” option where you can just purchase the item directly without bidding against anyone. If there is an item that I cannot live without, I limit my searches to Buy It Now only so that I don’t have the heartache of losing an auction. (I can only think of 2 pieces that I did that one, most I don’t get too invested in.) eBay also has an option to make an offer to the seller! Not all sellers choose to use it, but you will see a “Make An Offer” button below the Buy It Now and Add to Cart buttons. You can send a message with the offer, so if you do have a specific reason for your offer (ie. this blazer is missing all of the buttons and has a stain but is listed for the same price as excellent pieces) include it in the message. I try to offer at least 80% of what they are selling for unless it truly is listed for an outrageous price.
2) Know Your Budget
If your budget is $100, your budget is $100. Although I do like having nice items that I enjoy, I am not going to put myself in debt for a handbag or shoes or clothing. Know how much you realistically have to spend on an item, and how much the item is actually selling for. (For example, you can say you only have $150 to buy a Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis, but they are currently selling for over $2,000. That math will never work.) I personally only use the “Buy It Now” option on eBay (more for the impatience factor), but take care that you do not get carried away with the auction function on eBay and end up spending more than you can viably afford. Be honest with yourself. Are you one of those people who gets swept up in the excitement of finding a new piece and don’t deal with the cost until afterwards? Maybe you should also be careful with bidding. I have seen many, many people go into debt for a Louis Vuitton Speedy or a Givenchy Antigona, and I don’t know that it is ever worth it. If the item that you really want is out of your budget, consider saving for longer until you do have the budget needed!
3) Research is Key
Research into what the item currently sells for (both new and pre-owned) is crucial in bargain-hunting. You have to know what current prices are to be able to make an educated offer. If you really don’t care, you can do a low-ball offer, but you may offend the seller and lose the item altogether. I have found that being able to explain why you are offering what you are to the seller can go a long way in negotiations. (It doesn’t mean that they accept it, but they at least tend to be more civil and polite about everything!) Also, research is key so that you actually know what you are buying. If the purse that you are buying ALWAYS has feet and the purse that you are looking at doesn’t have any, question the authenticity. Pay attention to labels and stitching and the way fabric fits together! Look for reviews of the item you are buying on blogs and YouTube and Pinterest, to really see what the item actually looks like. And if you have questions, ask the seller to give you more information or provide more pictures.