In this economy (I hate uttering those words), “how can a girl stay fashionable on a budget?”

Why, by renting, of course!

Let me explain…

I have always browsed websites, making a mental wish list of which Chanel or Louis Vuitton I would like to carry. All the “couture” handbags caught my eye but I loved checking out the Coach, Dooney & Bourke and Tory Burch bags as well.

See, my online viewing obsession with Avelle (the new Bag, Borrow or Steal) began long before Jennifer Hudson’s character in “Sex and the City The Movie” explained that her denim patchwork Louis Vuitton was “rented.” Because honestly, how could an unemployed girl like Louise with three roommates afford a $2500 bag? Avelle really is “the Netflix for purses!”

I loved that Louise turned Carrie Bradshaw on to Avelle. I myself had mentioned the site to numerous friends over the years. But it wasn’t until my birthday was inching closer last week that I decided to indulge my curiosity and finally rent my first handbag.

Like a girl in, well, a handbag store, I sat giddy at my computer and scrolled through page after page of purple Pradas and beautiful Balenciagas, each one more stunning than the next. But which one to choose? Did I want to be more Cameron Diaz and carry a leather Kooba, or more Blair Waldorf with a classic Burberry?

So why pick just one?

I decided the best way to indulge in my constant changing handbag mood would be to opt for one bag per week, that way I could mix it up!

Now as fair warning, I did show some restraint in my bag renting. I gave myself a price range for weekly spending and have stuck to it (thus far). But that is the joy of Avelle, no matter how well a girl is doing in this economy there is a handbag out there that won’t break the bank!

P.S.-My boyfriend loves that I am not dropping hundreds on a bag that will only see the light of day several times a year. Could Avelle be a relationship saver for us shopaholics? I digress.

Opting for the weekly rental, I feel less commitment-phobic when it comes to choosing just one bag. With a simple click I pick a stunning silver Coach Carly in metallic leather. Had I purchased this bag at Saks my credit card would have felt the $500 dent. But the price to rent you ask? Why, less than four Starbucks lattes!

To make sure the Coach arrived by Saturday night (i.e. birthday festivities with friends) I sought two-day shipping and, voila! —it arrived on my doorstep!

Now I have to say, opening an Avelle box is better than Christmas! My handbag arrived tucked neatly in a brown Coach dust bag and enclosed with the purse was a note from Avelle, “We’re delighted to deliver this gorgeous accessory and hope it makes you feel fabulous!”

I do, I do! The bag is fabulous! Happy birthday to me!

After seven days and numerous “ooohhh” and “nice bag” from friends and complete strangers, I ship the Coach Carly back to Avelle and go shopping for the next rental.

I admit it was hard to part with the pretty metallic tote. I was growing sort of attached to it. There is the option to “steal” any rented Avelle bag by purchasing the it at a discounted rate. Tempting, very tempting. But I pass (this time), return the Coach and rent on…

(My blog can also be found at

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