May 6, 2014

Cutting The Bad and Moving On

{Photos by Alyssa; wearing Vince Camuto clutch, Tibi tank, Sheinside denim blouse}

Last week I met up with a friend for some drinks. He moved away from Ottawa a few years ago and happened to be in town for some catching up.

“Do you think you’ve changed in the last few years?” He asked.
“I don’t know. What do you think as an observer?” I said.
“Maybe. I think when I first met you 5 years ago you were more precise in what you want and now you just go with the flow.”

It’s hard to imagine that 5 years ago I was all about designer goods and the bling. A big sum of every paycheck went towards a designer purchase, clothes, shoes, make up, home decors, and whatever I felt like buying. I saved some money but every weekend I was shopping. I didn’t feel that I was sad or empty on the inside, or whatever cliquée people describe a “shopaholic” to be. I just liked to shop. My friends at that time and my ex also loved to shop and indulge in expensive things. It was my way of life.

A couple of years ago after my 4 year relationship ended I dated another guy, Alex. On paper he was great but on the inside he was extremely selfish and aloof in his own world. He liked the idea of me but not me. Him and all of his friends were shallow. They were people who judge others base on their lifestyle instead of how good and genuine a person is. Alex was a catalyst to my indulging habits- eat at trendy places for the sake that it's trendy, purchasing designer items, and being in a vortex with his friends comparing who has what and who is more glamorous.

Eventually the relationship ended painfully. I remember one pay day two Novembers ago, I sat at work, starred at my hefty paycheck and thought: “All this money means nothing to me. I am miserable.".

Last Spring I took a trip to Mexico with Danielle and I was reminded of the simple life. I was appreciative of how some people have no internet, doesn’t know what a Louis Vuitton is, live in a dingy house with no car and yet they were care free and happy. I had an amazing time eating local food, enjoying beautiful scenery and being completely remote from all of society's expectations: have lots of money to indulge, spend, and flaunt.

It was then that I decided to change my life.

Since then the idea of spending money on designer goods, shoes and clothing, splurging on trendy places to eat for the sake that ‘everyone has been there’, going to events because ‘everyone will be there’ has lost its luster. I still shop and sometimes spend more than I like, and once in a while I still attend local events and eat at fancy places for the sake of its atmosphere. But I don't feel the compulsion to buy designer goods to keep up with society, eat at pricey places I personally find its food mediocre, or care what people at events who I don't see on regular basis think of me. I started putting more money towards RSP, savings, mortgage, and annual non-resort vacations.

Since my trip to Mexico I’ve been working my butt off to save and invest my money. I’m happy to say that I’ve shaved off 5 additional years of my mortgage on my first house over the last 5 years. On top of it, I recently purchased a second house as an investment property, along with my side hobby investment stream, without my parents’ financial aid- and with leftover money for a couple vacays. According to my calculations if I keep on doing this I can retire at 45 and move to the south to enjoy my simple tropical life, which is my dream... Unless I have kids, then make that 55 :(

To me, this thought of freedom means more than purchasing another Chanel bag, or receiving compliments on my 'it' purchase.

I’ve changed a lot in the last 5 years. I've cut out materialistic desires, and no longer feel like I have to keep up with whatever lifestyle people envy. And I've cut out those who act as my catalyst to those things. I have to say that I have never felt as control and liberated as I am now.


  1. Such lovely post.. you write so good my friend :) I hope you r enjoying..! pretty girl :)

  2. You're a very good writer dear. :) Admittedly, I feel like I am like you (the five years ago you) right now. I'm starting to get shopaholic and ended up draining almost all of my savings from school. Thank you very much for reminding me to save for rainy days and and for the future Pop Champagne. :) Maybe because I am still in law school and have no lovelife after a devastating heartache, my desires lately is all about clothes and shoes. I haven't reached that point (which is like you realized that simpler life is better) yet but I hope I will reach it on a perfect timing. :)

    Ericka of

  3. Wow, you seem to be doing really well with your investments. That's awesome. You should write a tutorial for investment dumb-wits like me. Lol. I agree about the whole materialistic aspect of life, and the social pressures of it all. I found that having kids helped me with that a lot. Seeing the simplicity of happiness through their eyes is definitely a changing factor. Wouldn't it be nice to retire at 45 and move to the south. Every Canadian girl's dream. xD

  4. That break up and that trip were both amazing turning points for you then! Its a very hollow form of "happiness" when I spend my money on a designer piece, not to say i dont do it sometimes...but the happiness and sense of character I feel when I save money or do something im proud of or spend time with people i love, is the best form there is:)
    Aesthetic Lounge

  5. I think this is something I'm focusing more on too, trying to budget and save more, think about the future and what I really want, etc. Although to be sure, I still do like a fashionable purchase now and then.

  6. This was a very inspiring and thoughtful post. I really like to know about how your attitudes changed and why, it's not uncommon to want to look and live the life that is good looking out there but then you come home and truly think hard after a while after some time and realize what truly makes you happy and comfortable doesn't come from these material things or good looking photos we took at these posh places! I'm glad you've made such changes and paying off a mortgage and buying another place for investment is incredible!

  7. This was such a great post to read, Julie. Like you, my priorities have shifted in the last couple of years. I still love fashion and splurging on the occasional luxury purchase as a treat. But given the opportunity to purchase a four-figure handbag or the opportunity to shave years off my mortgage, I'll take the latter. I guess this means we're growing up!

  8. What a brilliant post! I think it comes to a point where you realize that there are better things to do with your money. You just start to want more from life than belongings. x

  9. Absolutely loved this honest and truthful post. Its so true that money cannot buy you happiness, i'm glad you are now in a place that makes you happy and are working towards a future of happiness aswell.

    Jess x

  10. I think my view about shopping and buying things
    have changed as well over the past years.
    Living a simple life with simple things makes your
    life less stress as well. Spoiling yourself a
    fancy meal is good once in awhile c: Xx

  11. That is awesome Pop... the simple life is the best life... I don't think there is anything wrong with indulging occasionally but you are right, a piece of mind is better than anything else. Congratulations on being so good with your money that you shaved 5 years off your mortgage... amazing girl :)

  12. I love this post and the comments that have followed.

    Did you ever see that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie realizes she is broke and that she has spent tens of thousands of dollars on shoes? She will literally be the old woman who lives in her shoes. There's definitely something to be said for planning for the future... but it's nice to be able to balance that with enjoying the present.

  13. I agree. Before it was all about what kind of expensive, rare makeup, purse, or clothing item I could find. Nowadays I only use two of my purses. I've also sold a lot of my items, that I have no need for anymore.

    xxDenysia Yu

  14. so happy for you dear :) changing for the better is always a great thing. so glad you've set your goals and priorities on the right track. oh my, i wish i could retire at 45 too!

  15. I dig your attitude on life. And good for you for being able to invest and hold down a property or two. That's not easy to do, especially for our generation!

  16. The only constant thing in life is change. :)

  17. Quote said true money cant buy our happiness. Money is important but never buy our happiness life with those blink life . Happ for you

  18. I'm really happy for you--that you're happy. When were happy, it doesnt matter what the latest big thing is or what other people have.
    I'm happy that one thing hasn't changed. You've been a pretty great person as long as I've known you (our 4th anniversary wasn't too long ago). That's still the same.
    Money has been a huge problem for my wife and me. I married Lucy Ricardo. The amounts were not small. You would probably throw up if I told you how much she spent and then lied about it. I thought we were going have our mortgage paid off this year, but she had one more bombshell. Hopefully by the fall it will be done.

  19. Holy cow, that is amazing!! You're an inspiration to me so often girl, this post definitely has made me admire you even more. It's so easy to get caught up in a lifestyle. I'm glad that Mexico trip was able to open your eyes. Sometimes experiences like that can help us realize what's important in life. And now look at you! Ready to retire at 45, owning TWO're awesome. Seriously, keep kicking ass!
    Haha, anyway, besides your general awesomeness, you also have awesome style. Leather and denim = perfect combo

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  20. I love the casual vibe yet chic of this look.

  21. Good on you love!

    Buying and owning a house is something I've dreamed about. House are ridiculously expensive in Australia since the international commercial and private property investors got booted out of Canada and decided to grow their money tree in Australia.

    LilynotLouise | Beauty and Food

  22. I've never been interested in designer clothes or accessories, mainly because I'm super cheap! I love to shop, though, but I try to get as much as possible when spending money (I usually have a $40 cutoff for one item). This being said, since I started working full-time, and getting full-time, consistent pay, I have been spending more frivolously, but I'm trying to change all of that so I can start saving up some money too!

  23. You radiate "power girl" to me, my friend. Absolute respect for what you wrote here. Def a reminder to embrace what really matters in life. Toxic influences should be tossed out once detected.

  24. haven't stop by for a long time, u still gorgeous as always

    well people change, sometime others will notice but sometimes they dont

    i found out that human is very interesting, u'll never know what will happen to you in the future, regardless all planning u made. even the little thing that u dont enjoy now will make u happy in the future

    my life is also start to bcome interesting, all bcause of 'the change'...

    good luck in life

  25. "Live simply so that others may simply live." -Mother Teresa