Save. Spend. Splurge.

Strange what you can manage to put up with until you can’t any longer..

Don’t worry, this isn’t some deep existential crisis post, nor a call for any kind of drastic measures 🙂

Actually, I was looking around the condo the other day and I was musing about all the things I have now as luxurious conveniences but lived in the past for 10 years or more, without.

Not Starbucks, obviously.

I still can’t bring myself to take taxis because that is a serious luxury; even going to the airport, I always took the bus even in winter but it wasn’t so bad because I knew how to pack to travel in between two seasons to travel and I only packed a carry-on and a bag for a few months.

I remember once Toronto had a huge storm and the city was flooded, and we were about to go to Asia for a few months on vacation.

The metro stations stopped working and I was stuck at near the end of the line with no buses running or trains to hit our flight, if it was even still on time!!

We cabbed for the first time in years that day and it was so luxurious….

With Baby Bun, we MAY take a taxicab but only if it is winter.

These are all of the things that I am happy I have now, and kind of can’t give up now that I’m used to them.



For a long time, I used to have to go to the laundromat to do my laundry.

Then I upgraded to an apartment where it was in the basement (not so bad!).

One day, while working on contract, I stayed in a hotel and the apartment hotel had EN SUITE LAUNDRY.


My life changed. I suddenly realized how darn convenient it was to just put things in the wash, start it, do something else, hear it beep and then move it to the dryer, all within 2 hours instead of having to set my timer to beep to remind me to put on pants and go to the basement for my laundry.

Or if I needed more time in the washer or dryer but didn’t bring enough change or didn’t charge my card recently, I was out of luck, having to schlep wet, cold, slightly mouldy smelling clothes back to air dry into rough, tough, pieces of leather, uncomfortable and brutal to wear on my sensitive skin.

But now???

I had the taste of the good life and couldn’t go back.

From then on, about 3 years ago, I would only consider renting with en suite laundry, and now I own a FULL SIZED WASHERS AND DRYERS.

*dreamy eyes*


Never had a car until I was forced into it.

I had never bothered with a full license until I took my first contract and had to commute 3 hours by bus a day for an hour-long commute by car.

I also had to beg people to pick me up at the bus station to drive me to work!!!!

Oh the humanity.

They were so sweet about it too, as I had such a crappy, pitiful existence, being car-less and just starting my career as a freelancer

That month, I went for lessons, got my certificate, took my test for a full license and bought a car for $1900 in cash.

I had no idea what freedom felt like until I got a car.


My commute now was only an hour and I could drive anywhere, rent a car in any city to go elsewhere and generally, live a life I had only known via public transit for so long.

I definitely built some serious “character” as they call it from having to wait 45 minutes for a bus in boiling hot, freezing cold or rainy conditions, learning how to read those (still) mysterious bus schedules and abhor paying for taxis (still an out-of-reach luxury for me) because it was only $2 for a one-way trip.

I definitely do not miss taking the bus. I took it the other day with Baby Bun in the rain because I thought it would be fine (momentary bout of insanity, really) and realized how much I loved having a warm, clean, functioning car especially with a toddler.

I don’t love the gas prices but that’s why I have invested in oil, to try and recoup some of my gas money back 😉


It is amazing but about 8 years ago, I didn’t even own a winter jacket!!!

Or what could be properly termed as one, anyway.

What I owned 8 years ago, was a cotton “jacket” that I would pad 3-4 layers underneath and try to stay warm in while obviously freezing because I’m a secret reptile and my blood runs cold.

It wasn’t until I cleared my debt that I finally bought a real wool jacket (which I still own and love):

Then…until about 3 years ago, I never owned a proper, Canadian, down jacket that was waterproof with a hood. It feels like wearing a fitted blanket, outside.

I could never stomach the idea of $1000 for a jacket until I idiotically reminded myself that I paid double that for a wool & cashmere jacket by Burberry so why not a real one for super cold winters?!?!?


I was definitely more vain than practical.

What changed was when I was heavily pregnant with Baby Bun & having to go to appointments and checkups by bus (I had donated my first car to charity and didn’t have my second one yet), I knew I needed to stay warm, so Baby Bun spurred that purchase on.


In addition to not having a good winter jacket for those terribly cold days with snow and hail, I also had these crappy but “cute” brown “winter” boots.

(Note all the quotation marks of sarcasm…)

They were just shoes in fake leather and I wore hiking socks to stay warm.

Now that I have proper rain boots and boys winter hunting boots, I can’t believe I wore those things.

They weren’t waterproof so the snow would get in and melt (LOL) and I was in debt at the time so I didn’t want to buy boots…

I was also super picky about boots when I finally had money, because I wanted the PERFECT PAIR.

I still haven’t found them so I’m wearing boys hunting boots until I can find a decent pair I think look cute and are warm.

I looked at these versions above but I hate lace-ups like nobody’s business because I’m lazy, so I went with a rainboot option where it was easy to slip on and wear with thick socks:


What are some things you find you have upgraded and cannot give up now?


  • StackingCash

    Food is definitely an upgraded item that is hard to go back to. My mother used to feed me lots of steaks, but because we were relatively poor, the quality of the steaks were low. When I went to a proper steak house, I was blown away how different a high end and low end steak could be.

    My new home. To me, it is quite decadent. Because I hate dishwashing, it has two dishwashers and two sinks in the kitchen. Another indulgent item was building a rooftop deck which provides me with sweeping views of Las Vegas and Red Rock national park. Of course the most expensive part is the location, nice neighborhood, schools, shopping, dining, and access to the freeway can make a house very expensive.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Oh yes, we upgraded on the food front too, although my childhood memories of Chicken McNuggets make me want to go and eat some, but I just know that I will be nauseous after. I have held out 10 years! I can hold out on a memory.

      Your place sounds like a dream to me. TWO DISHWASHERS? TWO SINKS? Oh a dream. I could have one “dirty” sink and another clean one….

      Location is #1 for me. No point in having a fancy home in a crappy area, you’ll just lose money.

  • Ali

    Good taste on the rainboots!

  • SP

    It is wild to remember that I lived in a dorm room in college (shared bathrooms, tiny room, shared laundry) – could not do that these days!

    A dishwasher. So much this one.
    Laundry close by – I don’t have HUGE benefit from having it in my house vs an apartment with it shortly down the hall, but laundromats are a NO.
    Privacy of having a house – although apartment with good walls and good neighbors would be fine too.
    Wool socks in the winter every day. I love it. Even in the summer, really. I can’t with bad socks.

    Those are the main things that come to mind. I did just order new boots and a new rain coat – so we’ll see how those change my life. I just can’t with the rain coat I have right now, although it was quite good for a time the outer layer has worn. I have good boots, but am looking for something super versatile.

    I’ve had a car since I was quite young (high school) – it was pretty necessary where I grew up. Living w/out one during study abroad in a major city was fine, but I still appreciate having one. Even if my husband and I share.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I had a dishwasher and I never used it. It just felt like it took so much time to wash everything, and then the dishes sometimes don’t even come out THAT clean… I do them all by hand.

      WOOL SOCKS! I am wearing a pair now.

      A car is very necessary in areas where the bus runs every hour. The weird thing is that I lived like that for years and was fine waiting for an hour, sometimes longer for the bus!!!! Now… no way.

      • SP

        I dunno, I don’t even always pre-wash my dishes before loading and they come out totally clean, nearly always. Hand washing is fine if you are in the habit, but having had a dishwasher most of my life, the apartment I had without one was a struggle!

        Even in cities with “normal” bus service (e.g. LA and bay area), they are pretty inconvenient/slow – but doable.. In my home town, there literarily is not a bus that goes near where we lived, and even the areas with buses, there is no service on Sundays.

  • ArianaAuburn

    -24 access to electricity & clean water (Indoor plumbing)
    -24 access to a washer and dryer
    -A dishwasher ( a luxury item!)
    -A mold-free environment (allergies)
    -Access to fresh fruit & vegetables
    -A/C during the summer.

  • Bonnie

    When I was in University I lived in a dorm where everyone on the floor (boys and girls, about 40 people) shared one bathroom and the showers. I don’t know how I did it and it did not even seem like a big deal at the time!

    I have these winter boots from Naturalizer and they are very warm and inexpensive:

    They are great for Canadian winter and do not look completely ugly. I also held off a long time before getting serious winter boots – because they are never as nice as regular boots.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Well, you can look back fondly on those days 😉

      Those boots look like my Aquatalia ones which are also supposed to be waterproof and so on. Serious winter boots like from Sorel etc, are just so.. big. I can’t pay $$ for them yet.

  • Chris

    I like this post:)

  • raluca

    Going from no car to a one car family really made us happy. To be able to travel by car to the sea-side, stop along the way whenever we like, visiting friends and familly in other cities, being so much more mobile in the city, oh man, pure Nirvana.

    Also, buying Lindt chocolates. We’re never going back to bad chocolate.

  • Sense

    p.s. what are your picks from good rain boots? I am in the market for some. 🙂

  • Sense

    I upgraded from never-on-time/non-existent/takes 10x longer to get to the destination buses to Cityhop/Uber/taxis. Plus, obviously, walking when feasible. I’m looking into getting a bike, too.

    People seriously think I’m nuts, but by the time I figure out which bus I need, the bus schedule, walk to the stop, wait for it (to sometimes not arrive, and definitely not arrive on time!) in the rain/cold/unpredictable Auckland weather, figure out when to get off (they don’t announce or otherwise indicate the upcoming stops here, and they just keep barreling down the road if you don’t magically know where/when to get off and hit the ‘stop’ button), and then walk from the end stop to my destination in the weather, all my patience and energy reserves are completely sapped. And it ALWAYS makes me late.

    I seriously CANNOT with the buses anymore. I’m SO MUCH HAPPIER.

  • Cassie

    Air conditioning! The thought and attention to detail that is put into the design and build of homes around here is atrocious. They heat up in the summer like glass boxes. Our upper floor easily hit 40 degrees during heat waves. We would sleep in the basement at night, and sometimes even that was too warm. It would have been unbearable for an infant. I don’t know how other parents do it. We installed an air conditioner last summer, and we’all never go back.

  • NZ Muse

    Not having laundry at home is a foreign concept to me. I cannot imagine having to lug sheets and towels around! Waiting at laundromats around the world was an experience (and trying to figure out the foreign ones).

    Mine are pretty much food related – upgrading to better quality foods in some cases, and now I can’t go back to the cheap stuff.

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