Here’s something to love about the economic downturn, it makes it easier than ever to find high-end accessories like stylish leather handbags on sale. Manufacturers’ outlets, high-fashion discount stores, thrift shops and consignment boutiques bustle with shoppers seeking bargains. Online auctions often start the bidding at a dollar or less. Internet wholesalers offer their wares to the public. Merchants advertise daily deals online and on TV, slashing prices by as much as 90 percent. You can even find great values at your favorite department stores at certain times of the year.
If you’re willing to accept bags in last year's color palette, or with slight irregularities like uneven stitching, you can score excellent deals at the outlet stores of upscale brands like Brahmin, Coach and Dooney & Burke. Check their websites for locations near you. If there's no brand-name outlet in your area, try stores such as Loehmann's that discount similar merchandise.
You can get even more bang for your buck at thrift and consignment stores. It takes more time and patience to sort through the junk until you find the treasures, but your reward could be the deal of a lifetime. Thrift stores run by charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army generally sell donated items they can offer for rock-bottom prices. Before you browse the consignment stores, find out what items they buy. You might be able to unload a vintage outfit from the back of your closet to make your leather handbag discount even deeper.
Online auctions can be as much fun as the live events. You may miss the rapid-fire patter of the auctioneer, but you'll feel the same thrill of the hunt, and smile when you win the purse you'd do anything to acquire, except pay full price. Leather bags are extremely popular on eBay, where you can scoop them up new or nearly new, sometimes for less than 10 percent of their original prices. A recent search using the term "eather handbag turned up an astonishing 157,098 items for sale, with auction starting prices as low as 1 cent. The Buy It Now section showed nearly 25,000 leather bags priced from $5 to $25, and more than 29,000 at $25.01 to $50. The Internet also abounds with wholesalers hawking their wares to the public. Wholesale Central lists 143 handbag vendors.
Shopping networks HSN and QVC frequently offer leather bags to television and online shoppers at nice prices in their one-day-only specials. NBC's morning Today Show features more bargains on Jill's Steals and Deals. Super shopper Jill Martin recently offered roomy, trendy Jana Feifer tote bags that retail for $395 to Today Show viewers for $75.
Department store customers can find the best bargains by shopping at certain times, according to Good Morning America's Best Time to Buy Guide . When it comes to handbags, July is generally the month for great deals, advises Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, Inc., a consumer market research company.
Even which day of the week you shop can make a difference. In an article for CBS' Moneywatch, Farnoosh Torabi reports that online shoppers can find the best deals on handbags on Saturdays, when discounts average 40 percent, according to a study by the website Shop It To Me, whose staffers analyzed sales data for June through December 2010.