General Question

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

How to afford designer items when in a college?

Asked by nailpolishfanatic (6607points) April 21st, 2013

I’m turning 19 on the 19th of May and I’m so excited. I’m in Upper secondary school (Gymnasia) and I’m due to graduate summer of next year which I’m very excited about. After graduation I plan on finding a good job and travelling the world and working hard for all the things I desire.
I currently have a part-time job with school where I work every other weekend and two weekdays. I don’t love the job but it’s saved me for a whole year from asking my parents for money.
As of now, I’ve got like 3 weeks remaining of school and I have been applying for summer jobs and I’m just waiting for responses. I hope to find a good paying job that I will also enjoy and hopefully I can continue working there even when school starts again next semester.

This summer I will be travelling to Milan, Italy and I cannot wait since it’s the place for fashion and as I am a huge fashion lover I’m very excited to explore all the designer stores and all that. Also Iceland’s very expensive so I plan on doing a lot of shopping once I am out there. I really want a LV handbag or a Prada wallet and I’ve been drooling over them on the official webpages. Although I’m wondering, if any of you have designer items in your closet, how did you afford it and what is your opinion on designer clothing and such.

And with the job that I have, how can I save more money because I seem to be having troubles with that.

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40 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

I suggest you watch this and rethink your life.

ragingloli's avatar

Simple: Buy cheap chinese knock-offs.

XOIIO's avatar

LOL so you want to save money but buy expensive stuff that you don’t need.

Corporate america loves people like you.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Umm You might want to have more realistic ideas about life. If you want to have ‘real’ designer items, you’re going to be sorely disappointed that the prices will probably never be low enough to afford. I’m 24 and the few designer items I have were found in NYC thrift stores and I still can’t even fathom being able to afford an LV bag.

Also why do you want an LV bag so bad? I remember them being the hot item like 10 years ago but they seem so dated and tacky to me. Is it because they’re covered with the logo so everyone can know how much you paid? Do you know what conspicuous consumption is?

My advice? There are plenty of nice shops that have fashionable clothing for less. Try shopping outlets and thrift stores. Also I don’t know if you have ZARA in your country but they carry very fashionable, average quality clothing for moderate prices. But remember that once you start supporting yourself, things like designer clothing are going to be much less of a priority. Food, rent, and paying off your debts if you have them will be pressing necessities so start learning the value of a dollar NOW so you don’t need to learn the hard way later.

Also try to be realistic in your post-college expectations of life. Everyone thinks they’re going to have a “great” job right away and it will be easy but it’s not. After college, I moved to NYC by myself and even when I found a “good” job, I still sometimes struggled to make ends meet. You kind of sound like a friend of mine who just graduated college and thinks she’s going to make 200K a year even though she has no idea what she’s going to do. It’s the mentality that life just “happens” because you’re so great and it’s going to be easy. No true.

Save your money for necessary things and investments that last – education, food, future living, maybe travel. $800 bags can wait until you have REAL financial stability in your life.

JLeslie's avatar

You are kidding right? In college I wasn’t worried about affording designer clothes, and I had worked in fashion since the age of 14.

If you spend all your money on expensive things you can’t afford you will never have any money.

While in Italy and Iceland focus on museums, architecture, people, food, and the experience in general. Forget about shopping.

In college focus on your studies, and enjoy the time with friends.

chyna's avatar

Don’t start out your adult life by going in debt buying designer clothing or accessories that will be out of style next season. If you really want to be able to afford that lifestyle, work your way up to it. Start saving your money to buy one item at a time. Never use a charge card to buy items you want as opposed to having to use a charge card for a necessity.
I do have one Coach purse (is that considered designer?) that someone else bought me and I never carry it because it’s too expensive to ruin or lose.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@JLeslie EXACTLY. Travel is a great investment. Those memories are the things you really take with you. Trust me, when you look back on your time in Italy, you’ll remember what you learned and experienced, not what you wore!

No outfit, no matter how fab is worth going broke for. Trust me, I like nice things as much as anyone else (My Pinterest proves it) but I also like having a place to live, food to eat and a little left to go out with my friends.

marinelife's avatar

I think designer clothing is just an excuse to spend money. It is empty and meangless things. You should save your money.

If you want it though, consider shopping in thrift stores or second-hand stores. You can get great bargains sometimes on designer goods. Also outlet stores (If they have those where you live). In the U.S. chains like TJ Maxx have bargans on designer goods.

gorillapaws's avatar

When my mom was in college, she loved good design too (she was a design major). She was very realistic with her money though and she would buy the fabric and reproduce the designs herself with her sewing machine. The good part about making things yourself is that you can make the fit just right for yourself, and can change the design to make it exactly how you want it to look. It will be made to last, and if you focus on timeless designs with clean lines, you’ll have something you can be proud to wear for decades.

I also agree with all of the above answers. You’d have to be a complete moron to pay full price for a designer bag that’s going out of style next season while you’re struggling in college.

cazzie's avatar

I get what you mean, @nailpolishfanatic and nice to see you back here, by the way.

I recently found an Abercrobie sweatshirt for 20kr at Fretex! I also got a pair of Levis on Etsy for under 200kr and that included airpost. As part of our local newspaper, they have online ads. ( ) I’m guessing there is something like that where you are too. I could by slightly used items there and some are brand new.

bookish1's avatar

If you take the bait of consumerism now, you will be a wage slave the rest of your life, working your ass off and going into debt to purchase the lifestyle and objects that help you believe that your brief life is not completely devoid of meaning, and that you are better than other people who can’t afford these objects. This is just what we are “supposed” to do. It keeps us distracted and exhausted and keeps the wheels of capitalism turning.

You are incredibly fortunate to be able to look forward to going to college at all. Start looking at the bigger picture and questioning what makes a good life for humans, and what we need to do to make that happen.

cazzie's avatar

If you want to learn how to manage your money, I suggest carrying around a little notebook or writing in your telephone notes section every single purchase you make, including every pack of gum and every cup of coffee you buy. You will be amazing at how much money you are wasting on impulse purchases and things that you will wonder why you bought them when you are suddenly out of money in your account. It is something all of us should learn and part of growing up. Jobs, earning money and spending it. We all do it. Some do it better than others. Having a good credit rating is a gift you give yourself, as my mother used to tell me. It is a gift that saves you money in the long run because not paying your bills and then having the credit companies pile fees on top is a fast way to throw money down the drain and ruin your credit.

cazzie's avatar

Oh, and I also just wanted to add, that it is great to be into fashion and everything, but anyone with no taste, but a lot of money can buy expensive handbags. It takes someone with a real eye for design, quality and flair for fashion to find something retro and classic and make it into their own style. ;) I will have to show you a picture of this amazing 1960’s dress I found and bought for 80kr!

dabbler's avatar

@gorillapaws That’s the ticket, get a sewing machine! Make ‘em yourself.
Sewing is not that difficult, and a serviceable machine will cost less than one outfit but enable you to make countless outfits.

Shop for fancy purses at used/recycled clothing stores, shoes too but look out for how they fit your feet.

Don’t waste money on high end items until you have so much money you could be comfortable burning some of it for fun. Seriously, take the advice of all above who recommend avoiding unnecessary debt.

avaeve's avatar

I learned about financial investing from a young age, but that is what I would recommend for you – particularly, currency trading. You don’t need too much start up capital, its highly leverageable, has the most amount of liquidity, and it is a 24-hour market. This would be the quickest way to lose or earn enough money to buy luxury goods while in college. Without taking this risk, you’ll have to wait till you’re out of college. Also, it depends on what degree of luxury you’re gunning for – LV has handbags that sell for $10,000 as well.

Try custom made. Focus on tailors that are desperate, struggling to make a living. This way, at most, you will only have to pay a minimum wage for their labor. You buy the premium material and tell them how you want it. It will come out way cheaper than mainstream stuff. Just make sure the tailor is good at what they do or else the thing will fall apart on you in a week.

seekingwolf's avatar

Ha. I graduated college with a science degree. I make $12/hour in a good job at the hospital. My college friends are unemployed. Don’t think that you’re going to nab that 100k/year job straight out of college because you’re not.

You need a reality check. You can’t afford these items and likely will not be able to for a long time. You can either go without or buy cheap knock offs. If you buy these items, you will go into debt. For sure.

cazzie's avatar

@avaeve which currency would you suggest investing in?

gorillapaws's avatar

@cazzie You’re better off trying to count cards at a blackjack table in Vegas. The currency game is pure voodoo and speculation unless you have billions of dollars to shift around.

dabbler's avatar

More good advice from @gorillapaws, an individual trading in the FX markets is like a bug on a wave, things can seem to be tilting your direction until some nation-state, or worse a cabal of hedge funds, shrugs and crashes your wave all around you.

cazzie's avatar

@gorillapaws it was sort of what I was getting at. Also, I think I know something that makes that suggestion even more silly.

YARNLADY's avatar

You can often find designer clothing in re-sale consignment shops.

avaeve's avatar


For short-term trading, it doesn’t matter. You’re in and out of your positions within an intraday time frame.

I don’t think gorillapaws has any clue what he is talking about. I started out with 10k after I graduated high-school. I tripled it the first year and it is possible with the amount of leveraging available. You don’t need billions, millions, or hundreds of thousands. Market is actually very systematic. Macro evens shift the directions and the velocity of the direction, but there are still precise stopping points and ranges for the day. That is the technical trading.

It doesn’t seem like dabbler has a clue either since stops/trailing stops/limits prevent any manipulation to severely hit against your positions, especially when you have charts on a 1 minute time frame. The worse case scenario is getting chewed up by commission (if you keep making bad trades).

Only long term trading would be susceptible to macro-events and manipulation, but even then you can setup up your own safety nets. Proper hedging works too.

tomathon's avatar

I had a buddy who traveled overseas every so often to places where labor is extremely cheap. He buys the material, tells the labor how he wants it designed and comes back home with at least 20 new business suits, shoes, the works. It is just as good, if not better than designer clothing for less than half the price that retail charges. The fit is more precise too. If showing off labels means that much to you, then that would be the only down side. None of his clothing have labels.

Jeruba's avatar

@tomathon, does that “less than half the price” figure include the cost of the trip?

tomathon's avatar

Yes, of course, It wouldn’t be worth the trip. He didn’t travel just for a 1 suit or a wallet, he went for an entire wardrobe. Tickets are a lot cheaper when you travel at certain times and months. If I remember correctly, he payed around $700 round trip for airline countries in Asia which is nuts. It’s usually around 900—$1000+

avaeve's avatar

Mathematically, it has to. Designer suits range between $1500 to $5000

Luiveton's avatar

When in college, ask (beg) your parents if they are financially able to purchase such things.
When and after you’ve worked extremely hard then you won’t need to ask this question because you’ll know how.
Think of it—doesn’t success sound more appealing than a few items? Success is money and prestige. It’s a lifetime of security.

You can always head (pun intended. lol.) towards part-time prostitution but I doubt you want to. Just a suggestion.

gorillapaws's avatar

@avaeve I’m glad you’ve done well playing the currency markets. I’ve done well in markets too, but I avoid commodities and currency trading. Take a look at the survivorship bias to see why your lucky experiences with the market don’t really provide solid evidence for technical analysis being an effective strategy for profiting in currency markets.

avaeve's avatar

Yes, I use the survivorship bias on people that claim paulson, soros, and schiff, succesfully predicted the market crash in 08, but you’re still wrong in your explanation of currency trading and its requirements. A little more than couple of thousand is all you need to get started.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Thank you to each and one of you for the responses. I’ve read through them all but it seems as if many of you were sort of heading straight in for attack, not that I’m offended but I feel maybe not many understood my question.
On another note, I do save up my money and I know that I do not necessary NEED the designer stuff that I want but it’s a matter of me having been in love with this one particular item ever since I saw it and I’m telling you, it’s not recently.. I’ve been eyeing a lot of things for a long time and I could for instance afford a Prada purse and such but I just have always put it off since I am a smart girl, but as I am getting older. I feel like I could possibly venture into the designer world and buy myself something opposed to as of now.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Hopefully someone understood that..

fremen_warrior's avatar

@nailpolishfanatic I think at least on a subconscious level people here want you to be happy. It has been proven that Experiences Make People Happier Than Material Goods – you’ll spend a lot of your hard earned money on something you might get bored with in a few months, whereas instead of doing that you could spend it on yourself. Sorry if this isn’t what you wanted to hear.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@fremen_warrior No, no it’s good that people what me to be happy and I am and plan on continuing like that. I do understand and everyone’s answer have indeed opened my eyes and made me really question this whole ‘designer clothes’ mass. And I agree that experience is more valuable than expensive materialistic things.

Luke86's avatar

If you want designer items definitely do not buy them from a mall or any retail store. Live by your own means. If you’re making 10k a year and the purse you want is 2k, you just worked 20% of the year for that purse. And most likely the purse will last you a year or so, before you want to buy an even more expensive purse. For a man, it’s silly to buy a wallet that cost more than what he can put into it. If you really want it, wait until your older and more mature and making good money. I’ve always bought items I thought could return money back to me. I’m a graphic designer, so I invested 2,000 into a new computer. But that new computer made me more efficient so I practically paid it off in two weeks.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know who’s paying your way but you may just have to decide between college and clothes. Sorry, that’s just the way it goes. College students generally don’t have a lot of extra money for extras! If you can’t help yourself, try your best to find a good thrift or resale shop where you are. One of the nice things about people who have a lot of money to buy expensive clothes it, that if they are the donating kind, they tend to get rid of them when they have only, barely been worn because they have moved on to the next trend or fashion. Otherwise, make your own look, with the money you have, study hard and become whatever is it you need or want to be to make enough money to afford the lifestyle you want. That, or spend your time in college trying to hook up with a rich guy.

Luiveton's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with splurging every once in a while, so buy whatever you like if you can afford it.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@lillycoyote I pay my college myself, the books, the school enrolment fees I also pay by myself. My lunch and snacks I mostly buy myself so I could say that I’m paying my own way. And as someone mentioned yesterday, I could go to Zara (it’s my favourite store so yes that was a good suggestion). And thrifting I do love as well, here we have this one huge outlet which made me fall in love with Zara clothing because there I bought them for even less the price that they cost in the store.
I love second have clothing and especially vintage but as @Luiveton mentioned, there’s indeed nothing wrong with splurging once in a while.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@nailpolishfanatic I´m currently wearing a Philip Lim dress and a pair of Cole Haan shoes I got in a thrift store. The dress was originally 800 or more and I paid 55 and the shoes were only 10!

dabbler's avatar

@avaeve Gee whiz, yes if you know as much as you and @gorillapaws and I do about markets, with the tools you noted as starters, you can make good dough day trading.

But with your experience you also know that just tossing a two-word suggestion “currency trading” out there is bad advice.
And I’m sure you know plenty of people who have lost a lot of money because the didn’t go into it with serious study and discipline.
And if you don’t yet know anyone who went into it with serious study and discipline but got blindsided by the actions an 800-pound gorilla like, say, a hedge fund or a country… you will.
If you’re going to turn someone on to your pot of gold at least allude to the hazards and the requirements for success, why not? Fx trading is not easy street.

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