Prices can reach the stratosphere for the well-known name-brand purses. The experts say trend away from brands such as Louis Vuitton or Coach, and spend that money on something that is high-quality but less expensive.
"Make sure it's not imitation leather or anything other than good material," Novo says. Cheap bags will break and become shiny with wear. They end up costing money because women have to buy another bag sooner than they would if they just bought a good one to begin with.
Natalie P. McNeal, author of "The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up The Fabulous Life," says one good bag is good enough. Fashion bags that match a cocktail dress or a cute little summer bag to go with a sundress can be had for a steal at discount and big-box stores. She even used a makeup bag once as a purse, she says.
Women can also save money on secondary shoes. Shoe stores such as Nine West and Steve Madden turn out high-quality imitations of brand-name shoes that sell for 10 times the price, Novo says. So don't overpay for those peep-toe heels, she says, because they are probably manufactured in a foreign factory just down the street from those expensive brands using the exact same material.