When Do You Splurge, and When Do You Save?

When do you know you’re spending too much on an item? I’ve shared five favorite investments in the past, and I will stand by all of those! But what about items that aren’t included in my top five, or more recent purchases? What about everyday things? When should you splurge on something, and when should you save?

That’s a question I’ve often considered. Should I splurge on often-worn items, like white tshirts, or save? In that instance, I always go with save. A white tshirt will inevitably get dirty, and not even the Laundress’s magic stain remover can always save it. But what about for other casual shirts–Saint James tees, for instance. Are they worth the price tag? (For the record, yes. They are among the most hard-wearing shirts I own, and they’ve been through a lot. I favor the Minquiers Modern fit.)

And what about other everyday items, like a handbag? I’ve been trying to decide on an “adult” handbag for some time now, to replace my Longchamp totes. My Longchamps are still in good condition, but they’re 10+ years old, and with usually daily use (although of course not during the pandemic), they are starting to show their age. While I don’t intend on replacing the bag until I have to, I also don’t want to be forced into a last-minute decision because of an urgent need.

I’d love to go with an elegant and understated briefcase from Mark Cross, a brand known for quality and discretion in branding. My mother had several Mark Cross pieces that held up extremely well throughout years of heavy use. But I’ll admit to more than a little reluctance to spend so much money. I do believe that it would be worth the cost in the sense that it would last a lifetime, however, I need to think about what that lifetime would look like. Do I really want to battle crowds on the train and through crowded subways to my office with such a nice item? Do I want to worry about weather-related incidents, or someone spilling their coffee on me (if we reach a point where masks aren’t required on public transit any more), or losing the bag with such an investment? Wouldn’t it be better to save the money, invest it in something I’d be less worried about, or could at least be dry-cleaned if needed?

I’m curious–in this case, would you splurge, or would you save?

4 thoughts on “When Do You Splurge, and When Do You Save?

  1. I’ve been interested in quality for some time, and moved up including cost over the years. Granted quality socks and shirts hardly cost the same, but both can meet your needs. Distinct from splurge or save. Losing something or damage is a good question; I suppose weighed against the pleasure it gives you every day including mishaps. Some things like leather age well. I insure things like fine watches and pens and I guess just hold onto good folios and briefcases although they also can be insured on a rider (they’re likely already covered under your replacement value home policy minus deductible)

    1. Yes, I think that investing in good quality is always crucial. I suppose that what I’m thinking about specifically is the cost difference between two good-quality items–like the Longchamp bag vs. the Mark Cross briefcase. Both are good quality, both would meet my needs, but is the $2,000 difference between a Longchamp bag vs. the Mark Cross bag necessary at this point in my life, or even desirable? I try not to purchase anything that isn’t of good quality, because the possessions you own reflect on you and your values. That being said, I don’t want to feel “owned” by what I own, and I’m worried that investing so much in something would make me feel that way! However, your point about insurance is a very good one, and something I hadn’t previously considered. It does make me feel a lot more comfortable with a potential investment of that size in an everyday item. Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comment, Randy!

  2. I would save in this case, although I always love a splurge item. If you’re really concerned about the case getting damaged, those concerns are valid. I went through this same dilemma buying rugs for my downstairs – as much as I would love an actual Turkish rug, I can’t justify it in a busy household with a young child. I try (by that I mean struggle!) to keep my season of life in mind when looking to save or splurge.
    Also – thanks for the tip on Saint James! I’ve been thinking about buying a few of their shirts for a while now.

    1. Yes, that’s what I’m thinking! I love a splurge item too but it’s just not right for me right now.

      Saint James tees are the best! I also buy them for my toddler and they will take a serious beating and still look great!

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