Shopping in Europe: Savings & Tips

I love buying luxury items second-hand for a deep discount, but it’s also nice to buy something new from the store. It’s the experience: the fresh, new, stiff leather and the unscratched metal.

I had a list of items I wanted to buy [in my head] from Paris—because it’s cheaper but also just a special occasion. And you get a VAT % back [a value added tax]. So it pays off as a US citizen buying in Europe! Of course, I can’t buy everything I want and these luxury items are still extremely expensive. I wanted to purchase items I would have forever and not get sick of or list on poshmark in a year.

I had sold $1000 worth of items on Poshmark, including a pair of Chanel espadrilles that were too tight, to help fund my purchases overseas. I bought three timeless pieces on our vacation—one in Monaco and two in Paris.

PS: When we were visiting €1 = $1.10. The numbers I give might be off by a few dollars because of small fees- it’s just an estimate.


The 3 Luxury Items I Purchased

1. Hermés Rose Gold Clic H Bracelet

City/Country: Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Price in USA + tax: $680
Price in Europe: €545 = USD $600
VAT back: 10%=$60
Total Paid: $540

$540 vs $680
Saved $140


So I didn’t save TONS of money at Hermés, but hey, it was cheaper! I really love this bracelet, I thought it looked SO chic and classy especially in the rose gold color. I did not buy this to get the best discount, I bought it because I love it and I was in Monte-Carlo. I mean, it was so cool to be there – I needed it to remember my trip! Also, the clic bracelet has been around for a while, and I don’t see it going out of style anytime soon.

2. Goyard Sainte-Marie Clutch

City/Country: Paris, France
Price in USA + tax: $1,508
Sold on the Real Real for an average of $1,150-$1,395
Price in Europe: €815 = $897 USD
VAT back: 12%=$108
Total Paid: $789

$789 vs $1508
Saved $719

This was probably the best investment and was a birthday gift from my husband. We purchased this clutch at the flagship Goyard store on Rue Saint-Honoré EST in 1853. I absolutely love this bag and love that you can wear it two ways (the inside of the flap is plain brown leather and you can flip it to reveal that side). This clutch looks so chic and the fact that it was half price in Paris is unbelievable. This is the best investment a girl can make! PS: Boots linked here.

3. Chanel Caviar Ballet Flats

Country/City: Paris, France
Price in USA + tax: $797
Price in Europe: €620 = $682 USD
VAT back: 13%=$89
Total Paid: $593

$593 vs $797
Saved $204


Chanel ballet flats are classic and timeless. This was a huge splurge for me—but I wasn’t leaving Paris without a pair. They were #1 on my to buy list. I think I went to about 4 Chanel stores looking for the perfect pair – they all had different sizes and inventory! I initially wanted a pair of nude/beige but they were only available in lambskin and were too fragile. The black caviar flats are sturdier and you won’t be able to see any wear. I love these so much with skinny jeans!


One last thing, here are the steps on how to get the VAT $ back:

  1. ALWAYS bring your passport when you go out shopping in Europe.
  2. Once you purchase the item, the store employee will usually ask you if you’re from the U.S. and will ask for your Passport. They will ask whether or not you want cash now or a refund to your card. Always choose the card because you get more money back. Bonus Tip: Charge your card in Euros. The employee will ask USD or Euros and Euros is always the best exchange.
  3. They will give you the receipt + form and will tell you how to do it at the airport. Just keep all your forms together so it’s easy at the end.
  4. Once at the airport after checking in, you will see the self service machines. Be sure to go BEFORE going through security. There was a small line, nothing crazy. It’s super easy from there – you just scan the forms at the kiosk and follow basic, on-screen instructions. If you are confused, there’s someone there to help you!

The refund comes in about a month right to your credit card. Except my Hermés refund came like 2 days later and I don’t know why! It was great 🙂

Leave a comment, I would love to hear how you liked this post or any other tips you have about shopping abroad! Have a great week.



One thought on “Shopping in Europe: Savings & Tips

  1. Thank you for sharing !! I enjoyed this post . Wow you saved a significant amount. I’m getting my shopping list ready for my next trip to Europe..

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