The Three Bag Compromise

One too many handbags for our compromise!

For as awesome as Kristin is, she’s kind of a typical girl in some respects. She loves her purses.

I don’t get it. Every time she talks about a purse, I can’t help but think of that scene from The Devil Wears Prada where they’re talking about bags.

Nate: Why do women need so many bags?

Lilly: Shut up.

Nate: You have one. You put all your junk in it, and that’s it. You’re done.

Doug: Fashion is not about utility. An accessory is merely a piece of iconography used to express individual identity.

Lilly: Oh! And it’s pretty.

Doug: That too.

I’m pretty much the embodiment of Nate in this scenario, except not quite as good looking.

I Don’t Like Spending Money

Part of the reason I don’t get it is because I’m inherently a saver and I’m not particularly fashionable. I could be happy as a clam spending $0 on stuff; particularly clothes and accessories.

In recent history, it took a meeting with an executive at the company I’m working for while I was wearing my worn-through shoes to convince me to get new ones. Kristin even had to bribe me by using wedding money, and I made her pick them out.

In her defense, I really like these shoes and they’re awesome. But I was perfectly content wearing old-worn down shoes with holes in them.

I’m Not Fashionable

I get the same way about the rest of my clothes. I cycle through about 8 different Henley-style long-sleeved shirts each week.

My favorite sweatshirt to wear around the house was from high school – about half my life ago.

It’s just who I am. I’ve never been overly keen on spending money on things I don’t understand. For that reason, I have never spent much on fashion-related things.

Kristin balances me out so I don’t look like a total slob. She pays attention to fashion trends and bribes me to go shopping for new clothes.

And it’s that knowledge that has meant she’s always looking at fancy purses and bags, even if she rarely actually intends on purchasing them for herself. When she does – like one she got for herself a few years back – she saves extremely diligently to pay for it in cash.

The Three Bag Compromise

I knew that the inherent dichotomy of our fashion sense could be a source of contention if kept unchecked. She’d spend money on stuff, I’d ask “Why do you need so many bags? You have one. You put all of your junk in it, and that’s it. You’re done.”

But that wouldn’t fly. After realizing how much she likes her bags, I proposed a compromise.

Instead of badgering me for bags every birthday or Christmas, we agreed that she will get three bags from me for her entire lifetime. One bag in each stage of our relationship.

  1. The first, when we were dating.
  2. The second, when we were engaged.
  3. And finally, the last for when we’re married.

We both loved that idea. Kristin is happy that she gets three bags. I’m happy that I only have to worry about buying her three bags – and two of them are already out of the way by now.

That last one, though…I know is going to come back to haunt me. She’s got the rest of her life with one bag – and that means it’s going to not be cheap. Maybe it’ll be a nice 10-year anniversary gift? I’m already starting to budget for it.

Either way, I’m glad we reached this compromise. Everyone’s happy.


What sorts of spending compromises have you made with a spouse?

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  1. Dave,

    This post is so cool. I really like “Nate: You have one. You put all your junk in it, and thatโ€™s it. Youโ€™re done.” I don’t like stuff. My current purse is 23 years old, and I still love it, and use it every day. Got a new purse a couple of years ago right before my college 30-year reunion. But I never fell in love with the new one.

    The same rule applies to other stuff. My clothes and shoes won’t go away until there are holes. I feel it’s more comfortable wearing the old ones. Now I’m retired, and can be casual most of the time. I do have some descent ones for occasional dress up. Money is one of the reasons, but not the main one. Even if I win the lottery tomorrow, I will wear the same clothes. It’s part of who I am.

    Thanks for sharing. Great story.

    1. You’re welcome Helen! Glad you like it.

      I would be in PJ’s pretty much all day every day if I could! Something about comfy clothes, no matter how they look, just seems…right ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. OK, Dave, this post is useless without any names. Which bags are we talking about??? JK.

    Couples dynamics are so interesting to me! For us, my husband compromises by spending more on travel. If he were by himself, he’d spend a lot less. For him, I compromise on spendy food and cable. He loves food and his sports! However, we’re trying to reduce both of those expenses (food and cable) this year.

  3. Which brands does Kristin like? I recently bought a Marc Jacobs purse after sort of lusting for one for 4 years. My last bag purchase was 4 years ago and I actually just use one bag all the time (now one bag plus diaper bag). I can’t be bothered to switch purses.

  4. “Kristin balances me out so I donโ€™t look like a total slob.”

    Haha. Kristin would definitely get along with Mrs. Groovy. And I’m sure you and I would get along as well. We have the same mindset, my friend. I don’t get bags, shoes, and jewelry. But to be fair, women don’t get beer, ice hockey fights, and the Three Stooges. Great post. And good luck on bag three.

  5. This is a hilarious post Dave! You and my hubs would get along SO well… I’m pretty sure he has literally never purchased any clothing items but socks & underwear, and his most recent pair of tennis shoes. All his shirts/pants were either bought by mom a decade ago or free from random college events haha Luckily for him, I also am totally oblivious to fashion, so I don’t shop like ever, and don’t care what he wears either. The exception is when going out or taking photos for something, you gotta look spiffy. Glad you guys reached a compromise you can both be happy with!

  6. I love reading about how couples spend money. I can promise you that I most certainly will buy more than three more bags in my lifetime. It sounds like she’s really savvy about brands. Even if they wear out, the brands can usually repair them beautifully. Hooray!

  7. You are hilariously deluded my young Padawan. The idea that you are going to compromise on fashion with your boss, I mean wife is…ludicrous. I only hope for your sake that she never sees this post, I’d miss your blog.

  8. “My favorite sweatshirt to wear around the house was from high school โ€“ about half my life ago.”

    Ha – that’s me. I have some t-shirts that I’m sure are older than some of the bloggers in this community….

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