Her Designer Purse Cost More Than Her Boyfriend’s Used Car

We don’t always realize money can torpedo your relationships.

Anna (she/her)
6 min readMar 18, 2022


Photo by Alex Shaw on Unsplash

My friend, “Kimi” was a walking conundrum to me when we met in college. She had expensive tastes but was the cheapest person I knew. It was the first time I realized that wealthy people can be stingy.

For example, when we had a potluck, she would bring a green salad or a bag of dinner rolls — whatever was the cheapest, easiest thing to bring. When we went out, she would eat beforehand and not order anything. Then she would mooch some of our food.

Yet Kimi also had multiple high-end designer purses — the kind of brands I learned later that wealthy socialites buy. It didn’t make sense to me at all. Apparently, her parents gave her money that she saved up to buy the things she most wanted even if it meant eating salad and cutting back on other expenses.

I had never heard of most of the purse brands she had before, let alone the fact that she later told me how one purse was $4,000! I thought a $100 purse was a designer purse. Kimi scorned Coach, DKNY, and other “low end” designer bag brands.

It was my first time getting a glimpse of the upper class. They have money to spend on frivolous items for appearance’s sake.

After we graduated, she went into teaching while I started law school. We kept in touch and still hung out occasionally. She was renting a room that was a converted garage in a single family house. She complained to me about hearing her landlords argue all the time. Thus, it wasn’t like she had a limitless budget. She just chose to spend what could have been rent money on fancy purses instead.

I was very surprised when she started dating a guy who was from a working class background. His used car cost less than one of her designer purses. I wondered what he thought of her spending habits.

In popular culture, we talk about love in a way that focuses on chemistry, physical attraction, and affection. We rarely talk about the role of money and shared values. It never occurred to me when I was growing up that my views on money would be something that might affect my relationship with a future partner.



Anna (she/her)

9X Top Writer. Proud grad of CA public schools. Committed to justice & leadership development. Wife & mom of 2 girls & 2 big dogs. Love to eat almost everything