Some things are worth the money

April 30, 2012

I am a reformed shopaholic, well, a somewhat reformed shopaholic. I still have urges to buy things, but these days most of those things are tech items. My Macbook, my Blackberry, and my DSLR, along with various other gadgets were all impulse purchases.  These items have become staples in my everyday life and I use them regularly. This post, however, is not about my gadgets; this post is about items that I paid more for, in order to get quality.

Let me preface this by saving that I have wardrobe staples that are essential. While I do tend to fall victim to sales, and flashy products, and designs, I have over the years learned what works well for my body type and what doesn’t. For example, I know that pencil skirts, and tailored dress pants work well,  while certain types of jeans don’t. I also know what type of shoes work well for me, especially since I am on my feet a lot.




Being part of the PF community is great as it allows you to become quite aware of your spending habits, and learn how to shop for deals. The problem with this mentality is that it also makes one fall victim to what I call “lowest price” syndrome. What I mean by that if people are presented with 2 items that look somewhat similar but 1 is of far better quality, and the other is not, people are more likely to buy the lower quality, cheaper cost item. There are exception to this rule, but that is the general rule.

A few months ago I needed black stilettos. I wear heels everywhere, but on the soccer field and black heels are a staple for me. I went shopping and found 2 pairs, the first one cost , and the second 0. I went the first option and instantly regretted my decision after wearing the shoes for 3 hours and having my feet kill. I promptly when back and got the expensive ones. They are very comfortable, well, as comfortable as heels can be.

My point is that sometimes we have to splurge on items that are a bit more to pay for quality and durability. I wear pyjamas, and sweat pants at home, along with novelty t-shirts from brands or events, but if you, like myself, meet clients on a daily basis, showing up in a dress isn’t going to cut it.

Every item above is either Michael Kors, or Donna Karan, Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein, Karen Millen, D&G, or Bradley Mischka. And almost every item retails more than 0. Being a smart shopper means, not paying full retail prices all the time for designer goods. Yes, even “sale designer” items end up costing more than regular non-designer, but the look and feel isn’t the same, neither is the quality.  I have looked online for each item for at least 2 weeks and always found the best deal possible.

Ladies (and gentlemen), we have all things in our wardrobes that instantly make us feel like a million bucks; this could be the little black dress, the bring spring coat, that new purse or the the perfect high heels. We know that if and when we need to dress or look well put together we reach for those items.

I have collected something resembling a wardrobe for items that make me feel in control. We can ignore the psychological implications of that last statement. The list above might be overkill, but everything up there with the exception one dress can be worn multiple ways.

I have:

  • 4 designer dresses, most of which have lasted me years.
  • 2 bright spring jackets. 1 was an impulse buy in Vegas, but I haven’t regretted it.
  • 1 Black blazer, this can be worn with jeans or with dress pants or skirt. Versatility is what I look for.
  • 2 pencil skirts. I am dress pants kind of girl, but these skirts can be dressed up or down rather easily.
  • 1. Micheal Kors Watch. I have a watch addiction, but this one has my the one on my wrist for a while.
  • Heels. Notice how I didn’t specify the number. I have a lot, but most of them aren’t designer.
  • 1 purse. I hate changing my purse with outfits so I generally wear one out.


How you spent money on a designer product? Was it worth it? 

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  • Michelle April 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I do have a some items in my closet that are of designer. I need to focus more on quality. I love Forever 21, but it’s trendy and doesn’t last long.

    • Marissa May 1, 2012 at 4:20 am

      I’m so guilty of falling for Forever 21. The clothes don’t last longer than 1 season.

  • Paul @ The Frugal Toad April 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I agree that you should buy the best quality that you can afford. That doesn’t mean getting out the charge card for a designer name if you can’t afford to pay cash. There are also ways to buy designer labels at a discount such as outlets and seasonal clearance sales.

    • Marissa April 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Most of my designer stuff comes sales sites, and everything is paid for in cash.

  • Jai Catalano April 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    You truly sound like my wife. Funny I think you somewhat blog anonymously too. 🙂

    • Marissa May 1, 2012 at 4:25 am

      I am not your wife, I promise. I do, however, think that we would get along famously.

  • Daisy @ Add Vodka April 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I find shoes and bags the most relevant to me for designer stuff – those are the only things I wear/use enough to spend the extra whole bunch of money on. I love all the stuff in your picture!

    • Marissa April 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks, Daisy. I have a thing for watches. I loooovee watches.

  • femmefrugality April 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    If the quality is good and it’s not trendy (meaning you’ll be able to wear it for more than just this season without looking ridiculous,) it’s worthwhile to spend more money, as long as you’re shopping less. I tend to buy cheaper stuff and then have a few key items. I’m working on getting into the habit of fixing stuff when it gets a little worn, though.

    • Marissa May 1, 2012 at 4:26 am

      One of my moms goals is to teach us how to sew simple things so we can use them longer.

  • Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity April 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Guess I’ll be the guy to come out and say it–I’m a label whore!

    It’s true. I would much rather spend my money on a designer shirt and have it hold up much longer than some off the rack “bargain priced” one. What they say is very much true–a good quality piece of clothing simply looks better (aside from holding up and keeping together) than a cheap one does. I have a closet full of stuff, from Hugo Boss shoes and suits to D&G dress shirts, Armani slacks. I’m comfortable enough in my own skin to admit that I like to dress nice when I go out.

    But the secret is that I pay next to nothing for what own. I go to Marshalls, Saks Off 5th, Nieman Marcus Last Call and buy the prior seasons stuff for as much as 90% OFF. My mother certainly taught me well, and she gets all of the credit for the way I shop for clothes. Plus, getting clothes tailored to fit you as an individual can be the best money you spend, not just taking something off the rack and trying to make it work.

    Of course, it doesn’t hurt that dressing nice also catches the eyes of some ladies when I’m out 😉

    • Marissa April 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      I have a feeling that we’re going to be best friends.

  • From Shopping to Saving April 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I agree with you because well, I’m a reformed shopaholic too. I know what works for me and I think this one was HUGE when I finally stopped buying stuff just to accumulate stuff. I used to buy clothes and shoes on sale just because they were on sale. Now that I know what works for me, I ignore price tags (ok that sounds bad, I swear it’s not) and I look at stuff that I will truly get the most use out of. If I am having doubts or second thoughts – it goes back!

    • Marissa April 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      That’s my mentality too. I rather spend $80 on something and know that it will last and fit properly.

  • AverageJoe May 1, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I use online sites such as Gilt Group to buy designer clothing. Now that I work from home I don’t purchase as much, but in the financial world I found looking like I cared about myself made people believe I’d also care about their money.

    • Careful Cents May 1, 2012 at 4:16 am

      That’s a really good point. I agree, looking like you care makes everyone think you do!

      • Marissa May 1, 2012 at 4:22 am

        There are few sites and stores that have designer items on sale and I have no problem buying last year’s blazer, or shoes. The fit and quality is a lot more important for me.

        Also, I find that having pride in your appearance shows a level of competency that is hard to fake.

  • Jen @ Master the Art of Saving May 1, 2012 at 2:54 am

    I used to have a designer items addiction, but I’ve gotten much better. I don’t follow fashion any more, so that helps. I still have a few things, 3 purses, 1 wallet, 2 pairs on sunglasses, earrings, a necklace—but that’s it. I haven’t purchased any designers stuff in years.

    I’ll admit though, I still peek at things here and there, but I haven’t purchased any of them (even if they’re still sitting in the virtual shopping cart). 🙂

    • Marissa May 1, 2012 at 4:23 am

      I don’t buy every day items, but statement pieces I still buy designer. Those are now few and far between.

      Good for you for being strong and walking away from the shopping cart.

  • Careful Cents May 1, 2012 at 4:14 am

    I too have a watch addiction, and I HATE buying cheap watches. The batteries give out within a week of me owning them, or strap breaks. It gets ridiculous. So most of the time I spend about $100-200 for a watch, but I only buy a few of them a year. I also eBay the older ones I no longer wear, which helps me recoup some of the cost. That’s another reason to buy name brand/higher priced items, the quality is so much better it makes for great resale value.

    • Marissa May 1, 2012 at 4:25 am

      I buy 1 every 2 years or so and I buy them. I put protective coating on it and everything.

      I didn’t even think about checking out Ebay, but I do normally buy my watches from Amazon.

  • American Debt Project May 2, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Please, please tell me where that blue dress with the cream bow is from! Gorgeous. And you’re 100% right. I haven’t bought work clothes in a while and it’s about time to replenish my basic blacks: heels, blazer and slim cut pants. I always prefer designer on sale, it got me in trouble in the past, but I think I have the self-control now to get a few high-quality pieces and walk out happy.

  • Kris @ BalancingMoneyandLife May 2, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    This is great advice. I wear suits to work, and usually buy them on the clearance rack at a national women’s boutique chain. They are not designer or top quality, and because of that they don’t last a super long time. Last month, I got a GREAT deal – 5 designer label suits (Anne Klein and Jones New York) for just over $400. Classic lines, cuts, and colours, they will last me for years, and the quality shows. Funny thing? I would have paid about that much for the same amount of clothes at my regular place – but now I have clothes I can be proud of when wearing!

    Now I need to find a good shoe sale…

    • Marissa May 3, 2012 at 4:37 am

      Funny thing about quality is that not only does it look great, but you feel like a million bucks. I’m waiting for a shoe sale, too.

  • John @ Married (with Debt) May 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I used to always buy the cheapest product, but now I try to take quality into account to arrive at a strong value. I hate spending, but I hate unnecessary spending even more.

    • Marissa May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      I rather use a bit of something good than a lot something not so good. Mostly hair serum.

  • Shannyn May 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    My first big designer purchase was a pair of Coach sunglasses which I paid $98 for…I learned my lesson, discovered the outlet store and got everything 70% off …HEAVEN! I ended up getting a pair of sunglasses, two purses and a wallet which I use regularly for around $300. I don’t regret that purchase and the items are now two years old and have help up incredibly well.

    Recently I saved up and bought a pair of Christian LouBoutins- yes, those red soled expensive things! I have been lusting over them for over a year and saved up a bit…granted the money to buy them could have been better spent elsewhere, but I had them paid in full.

    My new Christian LouBoutins are a nude pump that make me feel like a badass and are comfortable. They go with everything and I take darn good care of them. The pair of $45 heels I got at Target that quite frankly were an impulse buy and aren’t as useful? They get thrown around and rarely used. Designer items shouldn’t be an impulse, but like anything special you save up for, it’s an achievement and typically is a big deal to choose a piece, then earn it.

    I usually buy the little stuff- under shirts, blouses, some jewelry etc. at a discount store. A few pieces that I know will be truly meaningful and are made for statement- a few pairs of heels, a piece of Tiffany, etc. are accents and things I treasure.

    It’s all about value, no matter what you spend! 🙂

    • Marissa May 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      I saw your red soled shoes! So jealous!

  • Adam Farwell May 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I do have several designer items, got em at Plato’s Closet, saved a bunch of money.

    • Marissa May 15, 2012 at 2:21 am

      I always look for discounts at Winners here.

  • Oren @ Oren's Money Saver May 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I used to always buy the cheaper item and I am slowly starting to realize that you will actually save money if you spend a little more money and the items lasts much longer!

    • Marissa May 15, 2012 at 2:21 am

      It took me a while to learn that too.

  • Belinda Ramirez May 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

    It was up-down-middle for me. I never worry about money before so I buy stuffs that I want even those that you tend to forget the next day. And when financial trouble came in, I always had in mind to buy the cheapest- which I learned not to be the best option of saving. So now I’m in the middle, weighing price and quality.

    For whatever case, quality and longevity should come first. Buy the best quality you can afford which will still fit in your budget. It saves you money in the long run. More often than not, the cheapest is closest to junk. Let’s buy stuff wisely.

    Best regards,

  • DebM October 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I used to be a person who went for the best labels because it was an ego thing and I’d suggest that’s what it is for most. But later I figured out that the only person I was impressing was myself because the “wow’ factor lasts only about 30 secs with others, then its back to being nothing new.

    I have become more conscious of spending because lets face it retirement is a helluva long time so you have to plan for the future even if its a long ways off.
    so, I still want quality and am willing to pay for it as long as its something I want to last. If not, then who cares and go for the less expensive option.
    If I can get good quality at a bargain, that’s even better so that’s what I do.