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Are Singaporeans Really So Hard Up For Luxury Goods That They Need to Resort to Renting Them?

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Joanne Poh

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I don’t know about you, but I always thought luxury was all about spending money that wasn’t that important to you, in order to get a little extra. Like spending an extra $2 on toppings for your Yami Yoghurt without having to lose sleep over the money.

But in Singapore, luxury means slaving away night and day so you can blow your cash on something that makes you feel rich.

Okay, so you might not have the $5,000 to blow on a Chanel handbag (previously, we talked about the things you could do with that money instead), but you still want to be seen plying the streets of Orchard Road with one of those quilt-and-chain things on your shoulder. What should you do, then? Should you head to Patpong in Bangkok for a fake?

Well, if you don’t have that much money but are still willing to spend some, the answer could be to rent Chanel a bag online. Is this a good idea or totally loony? Let’s take a look at two of the more active bag rental services—Luxe for Lease and That Bag I Want, available online.

 

Luxe For Lease

What?

A new player on the market specialising in Chanel bags.

Price?

  • Small Chanel flap bag for $99 a week / $318 for 1 month / $954 for 3 months
  • Chanel top handle bag for $238 a week / $668 a month / $2,004 for 3 months
  • Spend $600 within 3 months and get 10% off

How does it work?

Pay online and they’ll deliver your bag to you in 3 days. 2 days before the end of the lease, they will call you to schedule an appointment for collection

Range

14 Chanel bags of all sizes. 4 are currently out of stock.

Verdict

The range is small, which is definitely limiting. They’ve chosen to focus only on Chanel offerings, which isn’t great for customers hoping for other types of bags. I mean, if you’re actually willing to pay hundreds of dollars a month just to carry a new bag, it’s likely you’ll want to change your look up a bit and rent bags from other brands from time to time. On the other hand, being a new site and all, they’ve got decent availability, with 10 out of the 14 bags available at the moment.

 

That Bag I Want

What?

One of the oldest players on the bag rental market still standing.

Price?

  • Balenciaga Nero Classic Silver City – $109 a week
  • Chanel Black Flap Closure Caviar Shoulder Bag – $175 a week

How does it work?

Pay online. Delivery is made within 2 days after your order is confirmed.

Range

Well over 100 items, including a range of handbags from Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Prada, LV, Gucci, Chanel and Bottega Veneta. There are 9 Chanels but all are taken at the moment, so join the queue.

Verdict

They have a decent range of brands, but the problem is that there aren’t that many designs per brand, so you’re probably not going to find the latest, greatest models here. Also, being one of the most established players on the market still surviving, they’ve got lots of customers, so many of the bags are not available.

 

Does it really make sense to rent a handbag?

Let’s take the example of the small Chanel flap bag from Luxe For Lease. If you were to rent it for 3 months, you would be paying $954. This bag retails for $6,840 in Singapore, meaning you effectively pay 7% of the purchase price each month. Even if you rent it for a whole year you end up paying less than 30% of what it would cost to buy the actual bag.

So, from the point of view of someone who would actually consider buying a bag that costs close to $7,000, renting might seem like an affordable option—mainly because the bag is so darned expensive to begin with.

Of course, if you think about the fact that just a months’ rental would cost enough to enable you to buy 15 bags from, say, H&M, which could last you an entire lifetime, ‘tis a different story.

Our take? If it’s a one-off thing (for example, you need a nice clutch to attend your best friend’s wedding), renting a bag makes a lot more sense than buying the very same item.

But if you’re addicted to bag rentals and do this every month, it might be time to start thinking about whether there are cheaper ways to complete your look. It can cost hundreds of dollars a month to rent bags on a full-time basis, and in the end you have nothing to show for it.

Would you consider renting a handbag? Tell us why or why not in the comments!

This article is part of a new MoneySmart Review series featuring different local brands that aim in one way or another to help Singaporeans optimise the use of their money. And no, it’s not paid for.

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.