5 Dos and Don’ts of Splurging on Something Expensive

Ed note: Are you coveting some faux fur, bold prints and chunky knits this fall? Before you drop a lot of dough on a stand out piece from a designer, check out these tips from Perrie Samotin. You may be able to get the look you want without sacrificing too much.

Even if you’re not terribly interested in the wide world of fashion, there comes a time in every shopper’s life when the idea of splurging on something expensive arises – maybe a fabulous bag or a beautiful watch.

But here’s a little secret: We’re at an exciting place when it comes to retail shopping. A staggering number of brands, stores and sites specialize in creating high-style clothing at affordable prices, making it simple to avoid spending a ton to look incredibly chic.

That’s not to say that some splurges aren’t worth it, though. So, how do you know what to shell out for and what to save on?

Below, we’ve outlined five dos and don’ts when it comes to splurging and saving on fashion items.

1. DON’T splurge on something that doesn’t suit your lifestyle.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to special occasion pieces now and again. However with expensive buys it’s worth calculating the cost per wear—especially if the item might not fit into your lifestyle.

For example, are you a pre-school teacher who never wears heels to work? You might not want to shell out $600 for those Manolo Blahniks right now. Are you an attorney at a conservative firm? You probably won’t get much wear out of that bold print suit. Why spend your hard-earned money on something that’ll just sit in your closet?

Splurge-Chanel2. DO Splurge on something that will hold its value

There’s a reason why so many vintage Chanel bags sell for more than new models. The brand raises its prices pretty much every year, so—despite the fact that bags don’t always hold their value —the constant price hike ensures you’ll be able to resell your bag if you wanted to and not take a crippling loss.

Same goes for real watches and jewelry from high-end brands—there will always be a market for those.

3. DON’T splurge if you’re not ready to quit buying similar items

For example: If you buy that $2,000 handbag, or $700 pair of boots, do you foresee yourself not buying any other bags or boots—no matter how cheap or trendy—for the next year or two? When someone buys a new car or a new house, they don’t buy a bunch of smaller, cheaper houses and cars a few months later, right? It pays to use that mentality for fashion items.

If you know you’re someone who likes to own a huge variety of necklaces, maybe buying a super-pricey one isn’t the right move.

4. DO splurge if it’s something you can afford up front.

Another thing to figure out: Will this expensive purchase cause real problems for you down the road? Meaning, will that bag, watch or pair of boots set you back enough that bills won’t be paid, or your credit card bill will be astronomical?

If so, it’s a good idea to start saving a little every month so you can eventually buy them free and clear (the best way!)

5. DON’T splurge on a one-season wonder

Let’s be clear: We certainly don’t think every spurge needs to be something “classic” that’ll last forever and ever (where’s the fun in that?), but we do think dropping a ton on something that’s the “it” item from one collection, such as Alexander Wang’s $1,000 Parental Advisory sweatshirt, or Céline’s $900 fur Birkenstock-style sandals is a bit silly.

Why? Because there’s an excellent chance that after the season is up and the luster starts to fade, you might start to feel that your splurge was due to the immediacy of having something covetable, rather than having something you absolutely adore.

In these cases, it pays to look to trendy affordable retailers like ASOS.com, Zara, Urban Outfitters, or Pixie Market. We’ll bet you the price of the original item that one of these retailers will have it for way less. Of course, the quality isn’t always the same, but for an item you’re not planning to wear for years to come, it’s a small sacrifice.

Zara shirt

Zara's classic work shirts are made from a flattering cotton-elastane blend—and cost $39.90. It's not worth splurging on these elsewhere.

Forever 21 sunglasses

I love fun sunglasses, but I'm always losing and breaking them, so Forever 21 is my go-to for on-trend styles that are less than $6.

Asos jumpsuit

Every designer is getting in on fall's biggest trend—the jumpsuit. However, it pays to seek out affordable styles in case you're over them next season. This high-style ASOS piece is $67.

Monki heels

Clunky "ugly" shoes are having a serious moment, and I love them! However, I wouldn't love spending more than $80 on them, which is what I did with these Monki shoes this Spring. The worst part? They're on sale at ASOS right now for $23!

Phillip Lim bag

But some splurge pieces are definitely worth it. Though pricey, I'm a huge fan of Phillip Lim bags, and I recently splurged on this fabulous style, though it was on sale. Those paint splatters are so unique!

How to Handle Merging Families

Ed note: Weddings and family drama. Unfortunately the two often go hand-in-hand. While we can’t help you explain to grandma why you do not care to use her wedding gown, we do have some advice around one of the hot-button issues: how to communicate with your family about the finances of the wedding. Leer en español.

Your now fiancé popped the question, and maybe even orchestrated the surprise of your life. You obviously said yes and told all your friends and family (and a few others too)! Now the time has come to plan for the wedding of your dreams and look forward to merging families.

While tradition used to dictate a bride’s parents would pay for most wedding expenses, it’s now more common to see the couple taking on this responsibility or to have both families help with the expenses. A Splendid Insight 2013 Wedding Study showed that 44% of standard 2013 wedding budgets ranged from $11,000 to $30,000. Once you have an idea of how much the wedding costs will be, it’s time to talk with your parents to understand their ability to help pay for some expenses.

Starting the conversation

An average engagement lasts anywhere from six months to a year and a half or more. You know your families best. If your families are able to help financially, give them plenty of time to prepare. Decide beforehand if there are specific areas where you would love to have their help, or give them ideas and direction of your vision for the wedding. For example, if your mom is a gifted crafter it may be a win-win situation to enlist her help with decorations or favors.

Make sure you have set your top three things that will make both of you enjoy your wedding day to the fullest (i.e. flowers, cake(s), photographer). This will help you keep clear and concise communication. Set the expectations of how much say your families should have in your bridal decisions during this talk.

This is not something to procrastinate over! It’s very important for everyone’s enjoyment of the Big Day (and sanity) to determine how much say and how much influence they will have from the beginning.

MergingFamilies-ChurchManaging a multicultural celebration

Sometimes it’s easier said than done, more so if one of the merging families is from a different culture. A family with a different culture might value different things or would have different expectations.

For example, in Mexico, as well as most Latin American countries, couples incorporate the arras (13 gold coins) in the ceremony. In Venezuela, the wedded couple leaves the reception early trying to be unnoticed for good luck. In Puerto Rico, there’s a doll dressed like the bride at the main table at the wedding reception, and guests can pin money on the doll’s dress.

How can you incorporate both cultures into a wedding to remember? Here are a few ideas on how to merge multicultural families for your wedding day.

  • Have a bilingual officiate
  • Read your vows in both languages
  • Have a short dance lesson at the reception
  • Include cultural traditions in the ceremony or reception
  • Choose flavors that identify your cultures in the food or cake.

Don’t be scared of mixing and matching traditions, what matters is that you stay authentic to what you as a couple stand for.

I can tell you first hand that it works, and your loved ones will enjoy the wedding just as much as you do. And yes, we had chocolate cake with dulce de leche flavored fondant to celebrate. Remember, in the end and above all, love speaks all languages. Savor the moment; enjoy your Big Day!

Celebrando Hispanic Heritage Month [Infographic]

Do you prefer salsa or bachata? How about tacos or arepas?  Do you cheer for Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez? How much do you know about Latino culture? The richness and diversity of Latino culture is more than music, food and sports. Which is why, each year during Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the contributions of many different generations of Latinos to this country. Learn more about this culture and its influence. Leer en español.

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Celebrando Hispanic Heritage Month

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