Save. Spend. Splurge.

Treating yo’self – The guilt of wanting to upgrade your lifestyle

(Psst.. buy the calendar here)


I got a question the other day asking:

I’d love if you could talk more about the car you’re getting and your evolution from “cheap/gets me places” to “niiiiiiice”. It’s been interesting reading you over the years and seeing you spend money on more luxury items, because you can actually afford to treat yo’self now.

We are a bit in the same boat – making more money because of a company my husband started and sometimes I think it’s ridiculous that he wants to buy a Maserati (WHY? SO OBNOXIOUS) but also recognizing he worked really really hard to get to this point. (Also I just want a mini van bc 3 kids and never want to open doors again)

I had to really think about this.

See, I’m pretty cheap for a lot of things….

I cut my own hair, I can’t bring myself to pay for a taxi, I still don’t own a dish washer, and have waxed poetic about how a car is a non-essential luxury , but I totally acknowledge that some things are just non-negotiable once you upgrade.

I can’t walk past even a nickel (I’d say penny but we don’t have those here any more in Canada), without bending down to pick it up. I can’t stride on by like some princess and ignore MONEY ON THE GROUND, no matter how small. NO SHAME in picking up money.

…and I find some things still to be too luxurious / non-essential to pay for

…aside from the above of course, I’d also like to include the following of things people have commented about numerous times in real-life and on the blog:


I have one, singular cellphone and I share it with my partner on a $40 plan. It’s basically a home phone. It leaves with me sometimes when he doesn’t need it, but we rarely use it. We just don’t.

I also just very recently “upgraded” to a free texting, 1GB data plan (didn’t have any of that before, for the past 10+ years), and I didn’t have a choice to not have it, as it came with the plan for free calls across Canada (something we finally decided we needed as my partner works from home a lot more often now).

And yet, I was shamed the other day because I have an old iPhone 4S and even worse, I SHARE IT with my partner.

Mate Poacher (thankfully he has finally given up and ignores me now): What phone is that? I don’t recognize it?

Me: Oh. .I don’t know. iPhone something. *checks* 4S.

MP: Who has an iPhone 4S!? Don’t you have at least something in this year?

Me: Umm no. Why would I need another cellphone? It’s just a phone. It makes calls and that’s about all I need.

MP: That’s pathetic. I’m getting the iPhone X

Me: Do you need a new phone?

MP: No I just want it. And it’s super expensive. I’m going to pay someone to wait in line for me.

Me: Well. [left it at that, as he could see I thought he was an idiot and rather obnoxious by the look on my face]

I won’t upgrade to a new cellphone because I don’t need a new one. *shrug*



I won’t pay for cleaning services because my place isn’t that big. Yes, I’m tired. Yes I could stand to have my place a bit cleaner, but I just do it once a month rather than once a week.

My place is only 1200* square feet which I find to be a comfortable size in the sense that we use EVERY SINGLE ROOM on a daily basis. The bedroom, both bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen, and living room.

*I thought it was 2000. It’s 1200!

The only unused room at this point is Little Bun’s future bedroom which he will want eventually as he gets older. It’s empty. The rest of my house is here.

I do a massive clean-up once a month and my partner is not too picky about being ridiculously clean, which is a good thing, so it works out for us.

It takes me very little time to vacuum the entire place, less than 30 minutes, and dark wood floors are very hard to keep clean, so there’s no need to kill yourself trying to keep the place showroom worthy.

The only thing I want to be clean at almost all times is the kitchen and the dishes. This is what it mostly looks like all the time:

I actually sort of feel bad thinking about a dishwasher and frankly don’t think that I need or want it in the end, no matter how much I complain.

It just seems like more work for me to soak dishes, load it, run it, unload it and/or let it air dry rather than use energy to dry it via heat (I also hate the feeling of heat-dried dishes from the dishwasher, they feel very squeaky and it grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard).

I think it’s actually easier and faster to just wash all the dishes quickly by hand, dry them, and put them away. My only gripe is my partner uses 5 bowls to boil water. If he could just rinse out not-so-dirty things and use them again rather than grabbing a fresh bowl, life would be easier and less wasteful in my opinion.

I also feel very strange with a dishwasher. I feel (mentally) like there is a block there because I think it is for “rich people” and cannot get over the idea that it can be more efficient than doing it by hand.

Anyway. Those are my issues to work out with a therapist 😛

Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is not in my DNA

Maybe Mate Poacher finds a phone essential to his life, but I don’t. I like my shared cellphone at $40 a month ($20 cost to me), with my partner, and use my iPod Touch for organizing my life which I find way more important.

I also won’t upgrade… just to have the latest toy just because I can then say I have the latest toy.

I refuse to be shamed into showing off my money

I may not have the latest iPhone X, or whatever, but my house is paid… and I don’t owe anyone anything.

I know what my financial situation is, and I (currently) drive a crappy car because I never really cared about a car before (same old, same old), and don’t have subscriptions to country clubs or go on vacations and spend thousands on some weekend because.. I DON’T CARE.

I don’t need to prove to anyone anything, and if I want something super expensive, be it a $2000 trench coat, or whatever, I’ll buy it and be happy with it because I wanted it, not because someone shamed me into buying it to show that I have money.


Why would I need to prove to anyone that I have it, by buying something I don’t want just because they want me to prove that I have money?

It’s just idiotic.

What I will do however, is upgrade on what matters.


So back to what we were talking about.

The main heart of the matter is — I am now going to upgrade on what matters to me.


I have purchased crappy secondhand cars my whole life. Junkers, $2000 – $10,000 (oh fancy!).

I haven’t cared (and still sort of don’t care) about cars.

I don’t want a fancy, fast sports car, I don’t need something going at the speed of light, but I do want something nicer now.

I have never driven or own a very nice car in my life. Ever. Now that I can afford one, I’m curious. I’d like to see if it is worth it.

I want to try, for once in my life, something where I don’t fiddle with the buttons and dials to try and get the heat to come on during winter by some complex algorithm and a whispered prayer because the wires are all messed up in the back.

I want to not have to wear a winter coat in the car to stay warm (see above).

I want to step into a car that feels nice to sit in.

I want real buttons and dials that work.

I want to not use a key again because the key fob died and I can’t get it to work any more, so I am struggling with gloves and a child in the middle of winter, trying to force a physical key into a frozen car door lock to get it to open.

I want a car that doesn’t bounce and rattle to give me a full body massage even when driving on a flat road.

I want something quieter that isn’t so loud.

I want to not have to wear headphones with my iPod in the car to listen to MY music because the car only takes cassettes.

I want to have a warmed bum in the winter with heated seats because that is luxurious.

…and that is why I am now looking at a luxury car instead of something that is crappy and secondhand again.

I sort of want to compare between the two and see if I am any happier with a super nice high-end car versus a crappy cheap one.

Once in my life, I’d like to try it and see but the car has to still be practical and useful for me. I don’t want something too low to the ground, hard to get into, so I am looking at least to an SUV at this point.

At the very least, I will know the difference and then decide afterwards whether it was worth it or not.

Conclusion: I JUST WANT IT

If you can afford it, go for it.

Sometimes you just want it. The heart wants what it wants.

As for your husband, if you can both comfortably afford it and aren’t going into debt for it, then.. go for it. Get that Maserati. Enjoy it. Life is too short to work like a dog, save all your pennies and then leave it to all your kids who will probably end up driving that Maserati.

Enjoy your money.


  • GYM

    I love my dishwasher too! My husband still just washed dishes and I put them in the dishwasher. I don’t have to really presoak the dishes but I don’t put pots and pans in there.

    We got a Mazda CX-5 as our family car and it’s great. We splurged and got the higher end model but it was second hand.

  • Frogdancer

    “NO SHAME in picking up money.” Hell yeah!
    I work in a secondary school and I pick up money in the yard that 2,000 kids have walked past. That spare 5 or 10 cents can sometimes come in very handy when I’m trying to pay for something in coins!

  • Livingalmostlarge

    Funny I just bought a minivan I didn’t need but wanted. I decided we could splurge and get ride of my 2010 subaru outback. Is it drivable? Absolutely but I wanted more space. I bought 2015 Toyota senna awd limited fully loaded and its the nicest car ive ever had

  • ArianaAuburn

    Smart phones are like mini 1990 computers that cost the same as they first came out in the 1990s.
    If you need access to a portable computer 24/7, there’s always a laptop.
    There should be 0 guilt in purchasing a luxury car. If this luxury car keeps you safe, is reliable and you can find good, safe places to park it, then go for it. Those Canadian winters are brutal. Hell, get a Hummer if you can. Or a mini tank. Anything to keep you and your family safe while driving.

    Dishwasher are time savers. I just got one for my mom. The newest models are super-quiet!

  • Mia

    I own boring but new cars that I pay for upfront (I currently drive a 2015 Nissan). I get the 70,000 mile warranty and trade it in around when it hits warranty. I drive in stop and start city traffic, my car is often parked on the street in the city (meaning other people will probably hit my bumpers, etc.) or outside my city home, and the weather here can be really bad, so I really value the full warranty on a newer model, but also don’t have a need for anything super fancy (though I can afford it at this point) and my car is going to take some abuse being outside in the city all day.

    • Mia

      I also don’t need or want a bigger car, because if you’ve seen city parking spots on both narrow streets (which we have a lot of here) and garages, they can be terrible with a larger car, and my husband drives a large vehicle which doesn’t fit in some city parking spots. So a non-luxury compact car works for me.

      • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        In Europe (that’s where you are?) compact cars are the only thing you can really buy. Trucks and so on are only for North America from what I have gathered. I have gone to Europe a number of times and I have such trouble riding with other people because the cars are so small and I get so sick..

        • Mia

          I’m in the US, so when I say compact I do not mean a compact like in Europe. For us, a compact car is like, a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic or VW Jetta which is a lot bigger than a foreign compact car and probably won’t make anyone sick, many of them are very comfortable rides. I work and park in what is a historic part of the city where the streets are narrow and many streets date to the 1700s and 1800s.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I would agree with this. Many people in Canada don’t talk about buying luxury or anything like that because the winters, the gravel, the potholes, and the salt are just so harsh on cars.

  • Jeannie

    If it’s something that you care about, you have the money for it and it’s a thought out decision, I totally support spending that money. Personally I don’t care about cars so I drive a 13 year old car that works well. But I do like a nice-ish phone camera, so I usually upgrade every 3 years or so. Lots of other PF bloggers think going to the movies are a waste of money but I quite enjoy it so I still go occasionally.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I don’t like the movies because of all the people around me. Not so much the money aspect of it, but I just don’t feel comfortable…

      I’m definitely thinking of upgrading just once in my life to see.

  • StackingCash

    Big financial justification nut here. Also a big auto nerd as well. I’ve looked far and wide regarding luxury SUV’s for my wife 3 years ago. Ended up with the Lincoln MKC with the reserve package. I highly recommend getting the new one with the black label. You will be pampered by the vehicle and the company. However, you might be surprised how luxurious even the common brands have become, the Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav 4 have come a long ways in regards to closing the gap to the luxury versions.

    P.S. I bought my mini mansion 2 years ago and had them put in 2 nice Bosch dishwashers flanking each side of my sink. My luxury time saver!

  • Sandy

    Yes, I agree on the mantra ‘enjoy your money’!!

    I won’t drive a clunker. I drive new cars on lease and turn them in every 3 years. I ran the numbers. It costs me less to lease than it does to actually purchase the car. Sherry, you might want to run the numbers on a lease. It might work out cheaper for you AND you can upgrade when the lease is up. Care to let us know what make/model car you are thinking of getting?

    I have never owned an iPhone and most likely never will.

    I cannot live without my dishwasher. By far, it the quickest way for me to clean up efficiently after a long day. No way could I stand in front of the sink hand washing dishes these days. I used to not use the dishwasher and hand wash everything but I got tired of having clutter all over my counters. Plus, the dishwasher does a better job at cleaning and sterilizing than I do!

    I splurge on travel and fun events. I am going on a cruise over Xmas, New York in the spring, a camping/hiking trail trip, a sight seeing trip around Los Angeles, and a long awaited exhibition that is coming to the USA from overseas. All that in the next 5 months.

    • B.

      I agree with Sandy that you should consider looking into a lease. We pay $575 per month for a luxury midsize SUV with $0 down when we entered the lease. 100% of the lease payment is deductible from business income (as we have another car, the equivalent of a clunker, for personal use). So if you keep your old car, you can write off your new leased car.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I may not tell you what I am getting but I WILL look into a car lease.. 🙂

      I have one iphone I share with my partner but that’s about it.

      I WILL Look at that dishwasher now that I hear they are quieter and less efficient…

  • Tania

    I think we all have different priorities on what is “worth it” in our lives. Depends on our lifestyle etc. Totally agree!

    I once got shamed for my older cell phone by an unemployed dude who I knew was freeloading off of my friend (conveniently always forgot his wallet when it came time to pay for meals, crashing at her house every night and borrowing money from her). She was struggling financially too. I do get a new phone every other iPhone model (not planned that way, just so happens that is when the need typically arises battery and iOS version wise – I’m a big app user for my project task tracking, etc). I did go smartphone free for awhile as an experiment so I can’t remember if I had a several generation old iPhone or my trac phone during that experiment when this happened. Here I was a senior management with a good salary not taking advantage of anyone while this guy made these rude comments at a table full of people (we were at a wordpress conference). I knew his truth and my friend looked genuinely worried as I’m pretty blunt but I held my tongue. I honestly didn’t care.

  • PwedePadala

    Wearing winter coat inside the car, I can absolutely relate to that. And with a used car, you need to have CAA or something with a towing service just in case the car decided to have a long break in the road and wouldn’t budge in with old tricks and cursing. Well this car teaches you to “keep calm” and optimistic. So why isn’t there any car recall for models long before the new millennium? Any tips on how to get an affordable car insurance? Companies keep on raising the premium after a year.

    I agree that washing dishes by hand is way better and faster than the dishwasher. You can tell if something stubborn gets stuck. And can somebody tell Apple that not all wants pricey, huge phones. Models beyond iPhone SE are too big it wouldn’t fit in your pocket. Improve the technology especially the battery. It would kick the bucket without notice once in a while. I need Google Map; what now?

    For that fancy car comes that invaluable peace of mind no one can argue about. Drive and sing along to whatever era/genre you’re stuck with. So I dare say buy that car because you want it and can afford it. Love your place and will probably do the same with the future car (with a future blog post about it with lots of photo, maybe).

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      YES. I need to pay for CAA too which I can now get rid of.

      Affordable car insurance is really hard. In Quebec it isn’t that expensive, I pay maybe $300 a year for just my own liability to others meaning if my car is damaged I don’t get compensated. With full insurance on a luxury car, they’re saying it’s about $1000 a year. Also just having a good driving record helps, and sticking to the SAME company who gives me a discount as I am good customer.

      I feel like it is quicker by hand AND better, but it is work..

      HAHAH! I doubt I’ll post my car photo 🙂 I’m trying to stay Anon!

      • Mia

        If you think insurance is bad…we also pay personal property taxes on vehicles where I live. For two vehicles, our county personal property tax is about $1,200 per year. That’s on top of registration fees. Our cars are less than 5 years old with under 30,000 miles on them, but they are not luxury cars. I can’t imagine what you would pay in taxes on an exotic car like a Lamborghini (and there a decent number of them in my county).

  • SP

    I love my dishwasher – I don’t presoak and don’t really pre-rinse, so it really is a huge time saver for me. Now that phone technology has matured, there is no reason to upgrade every year or even every two years. The iPhone X is cool (I guess) but not on my wish list.

    Do you know what car you are getting? I kept my old college car for several years after graduating, but eventually got a newer car for some of the reasons you mentioned.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Hmm maybe dishwashers have matured since I have tried them back in the 90s 😛

      • Mia

        You don’t need to presoak with modern dishwashers at all. Just chuck them in there as is. The heavy duty function does a good job with very dirty dishes, and you can also a high-temp sterilization on some models if you are worried about germs (I always use mine for things like water bottles, baby stuff, anything where I worry about germs). Also, the dishwasher has a disposal built in so it isn’t necessary to get all the food off.

        By the way, dishwashers are a very American (and probably Canadian) thing…there was a whole scene on the show Fresh Off the Boat where the Asian-American kids go to their friend’s house and find out what the dishwasher is actually used for because their mother doesn’t believe in using theirs.

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