Handbags

My Chanel Bag

Last week, I bought a Chanel bag. For me, it was a pretty exciting moment. At the end of every year, I typically buy myself something nice as a year-end bonus. Two years ago, it was a tennis bracelet and it is one of my most treasured things. Last year, I didn’t really want anything, so I didn’t force the issue. And this year, I knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate my tenth year of the blog.

As excited as I was, I didn’t want it to seem like a brag or rash financial choice and felt like more had to be said about the handbag in general. (Sometimes I feel like I have to explain choices I make because I’m often damned if I do and damned if I don’t.)

I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to buy to mark the 10 years for a while. I had boiled it down to three ideas: a nice watch, a Chanel bag, or another piece of jewelry. In December, I tried on a few watches that I liked a lot and a few pieces of jewelry. But I ultimately decided against a watch, at least at this point in my life, because I am fine with the ones I have now. And I didn’t find anything jewelry-wise that I absolutely “had to have.” I almost tabled the whole thing, but in the back of my mind, I kept going back to the Chanel bag. Especially since it’s a little less practical and not something that I would normally just go out and purchase for myself. It would, without a doubt, be a luxurious purchase for me in every sense of the word.

(I do have two designer bags– one is a monogrammed Louis Vuitton speedy and the other is a monogrammed Goyard weekender. Both were gifts and both were something I would never buy myself. The speedy I love, the weekender I could do without, but I’m kind of stuck with both since they’re monogrammed.)

When I was in the city with a friend last weekend, I popped into the Chanel store just to see if they had the bag I wanted. Each store has a different inventory and, at least in the city, sometimes you end up on a wild goose chase to track something specific down. (Personally, I have not done that, haha but I have been with friends through multiple stores and department stores to look for something.) When I told the salesperson what I was looking for, she lit up and said, “It’s the most beautiful navy!” I took one look, knew it was “the one,” and walked out with a new bag. It’s a medium double flap in navy caviar leather with champagne hardware, if you want the very specifics.

Navy Chanel

I did have serious jitters walking out of the store thinking, “Did I really just do that?” and understand how people can get addicted to the adrenalin rush. My friend who was with me came over to my apartment afterward, and we put together a few outfits to see how the bag looked dressed up and dressed down. With every outfit I put on, I loved how the bag looked, so I knew I made the right choice. It’s one thing to spot something online and it’s another to be in possession of it to see if it’s really what you want.

I wanted to share my experience because, well, I share a lot of my life on here and I wanted to celebrate “with you,” so to speak. However, the more I thought of it, the more I realized I had to say about it…. beyond just the specifics of the bag.

First and foremost, of all the things that went on that weekend, buying a Chanel bag really wasn’t the best moment. I felt like this had to be said because there’s so much more to life than material things. That weekend was spent eating pizza with friends, laughing hysterically over games of Catan, playing with babies, planning for the future, and celebrating an anniversary. Buying the bag was obviously great, but I couldn’t say it was the best part of my weekend by a long shot. I know it’s a common cliche at this point, but watching friends (or strangers) on Instagram, it’s easy to forget that it’s someone’s highlight reel. And you may be tempted to think, if you could go on a great vacation like that person, or have that person’s beautiful hair, or look like that person, or have that person’s wardrobe, your life may be different. It’s simply not what life is about. I can’t emphasize this enough.

I was also brought up in a pretty frugal household. We never ordered sodas or appetizers or dessert when we went out to dinner. My parents purchased used cars, paid in cash and paid off the mortgage to the house. We had nice clothes, but it was always well within reason. I’m actually pretty grateful for the conversations we had around money. My parents definitely instilled important ideas about debt and living within your means.

With that said… I think it was 85% healthy and 15% unhealthy conversations around money. As with a lot of things in life, sometimes the negative stands out more. I know that, even though there was certainly enough money, there was a lot of stress about money. I don’t want to go into details, but there are things and attitudes ingrained in my brain that I have to fight against, because it’s unhealthy. I’ve had to work with counselors to undo some of that ingrained financial anxiety that I “inherited” from my parents in that way.

Given the alternative (i.e. having no financial literacy), I’d prefer it this way, but it still has some downsides.

One of those things is that there is a very, VERY strong pull inside of me to never spend money out of fear of the future. Obviously, saving money is really important and because of my what my parents instilled in me, I have put myself in a very sound financial state.

But if I let my nature take over, I’d be an emotional wreck counting my pennies over every single little decision and living an unnecessarily unhappy life. I kind of distilled a lot of thoughts and emotional baggage down into that sentence, but the bottom line is that there is a BALANCE and moderation should be exercised when it comes to your personal finances.

Which brings me to another important point. Personal finances are personal finances. In a way, I think one of the reasons why talking about money is so taboo is because they’re personal. And with things being personal, there are TONS OF DIFFERENCES from person to person. And with differences comes a range of emotions, from judgment to jealousy. When talking about money, I think it’s important to note and acknowledge that every single person is going to have a different experience with finances, some of which are choices and some of which are not. It doesn’t make one person right or another person wrong and it doesn’t make it fair. It just is what it is. (This is also why it’s important to focus on yourself and not play the comparison game.)

I understand just how lucky I was to be born into the family I was born into. My parents graciously paid for college, so I graduated debt-free. I am healthy, and therefore, don’t have additional financial concerns about life-saving medicine, treatment, or intervention and could break out on my own because I didn’t need to have an expensive insurance plan covered by an employer. I could go on and on. Even just being able to work and to be financially independent is a gift.

Personal finances are also personal in that people put different values on different things. I, for example, do put value on how much money I earn (for better or for worse) and that has directed my choice of career. I also value making sure I am saving money for the future and that has directed my choice of purchases. That’s not to say that I’m wrong for believing what I believe or wanting what I want, it’s just who I am.

When you take every little thing into factor, you can see how different everyone’s personal finances become. I’m trying to say this because I think people are so quick to judge what someone else does for a living or what people choose to spend their money on…. but it’s really up to them.

“Good for you, not for me.” Is something I try to remind myself if I catch myself judging someone else’s financial choices.

I’ve always been an aggressive saver of money. I babysat a LOT between middle and high school and carefully kept track of the money I earned in a homemade ledger. (I was verrrrry particular, to the point that if my mom borrowed cash for something, I’d make her write down the amount in the ledger.) I loved watching “the bottom line” grow every week of babysitting and it made me realize the value of money early on. The two “big” things I purchased before college: I helped pay for a trip with my eighth-grade class to Italy. And I bought myself a Coach handbag in high school. Otherwise, I took the rest of the money with me to college, most of which I had upon graduating because I was extremely frugal in school. (For example, going to Subway for a sandwich for lunch was a HUGE treat and I’d get the $5 foot long and only eat half at a time so it was two meals.)

When I graduated, I got a job and negotiated for a pretty aggressive starting salary. I was also blogging “on the side.” Without realizing it, this is where I started to make borderline unhealthy decisions when it came to money. I lived by myself, but my rent was actually not that bad (for NYC at least) because I lived in a modest building on the Upper East Side, where rentals are less expensive. But I was so afraid to take any sort of financial risk that I stayed at in an extremely unhealthy work environment (I feel like my coworkers and I could write a tell-all book, but that’s another story for another day) and stressed over every financial decision– big or small. I can tell you, in detail, the things I bought while I was working to this day because of how much they mentally weighed on me. (One time I bought a Sudoku book at Barnes and Noble and I carried the guilt of wasting the cost of two lunches on it.) I would NEVER take a cab. I got the same lunch (which, frankly wasn’t enough food) and made a carton of eggs + loaf of bread last. Did I have to live that way? No. I was living in complete and utter fear of my finances.

As a result, I ended up saving what was almost my entire salary by the time I quit. That financial freedom allowed me to quit my job more comfortably, but it certainly wasn’t required.

Once I quit my job and started earning more income through my blog than I ever had before, I realized that I had to change my relationship with money. Especially since I was entering a career with a whole lot less certainty than a guaranteed paycheck, if gone unchecked, I know I could have become a very miserable person completely driven by my fear of spending.

Again, I’ve worked on myself by myself and it’s also something that I’ve worked on with counselors. Recognizing an unhealthy relationship with money (no matter if you’re spending too much or too little), is really the first step in fixing it.

What I realized/am realizing (it’s something I’m always working on), is that I can have it both ways. I can “treat” myself in moderation and be financially stable in the process. Once I reframed how I thought about money, I realized that this could actually be a good thing if managed well. Yes, it’s in my nature to save, which is good. But also yes, it’s okay to spend a little bit of my money here and there in a way that makes sense for my values or the value of my time.

Without getting into numbers, I have a weird set up in how I’m paid. My company (which is technically a corporation and not “me”) pays me a salary every month (W2) and at the end of the year, I get paid the company’s profit for the year as a K1. So throughout the year, my personal checking account goes down and my business checking account goes up. On January 1, I know exactly how much money I have personally for the entire year (upcoming salary + the previous year’s K1). Because I’m a psycho, I make it a little bit of a game. I keep what I think I’ll need spending wise for the year in my checking account (the salary that I get essentially covers my portion of the rent so it nets out) and the rest goes into a totally separate savings account. My checking account is my budget for the year. It’s not aggressive, but I’d consider it fair. I know generally then what I have to spend each month, but because I work for myself and have a flexible schedule, I know my months’ spending fluctuates so I focus on yearly budgets instead of monthly. Also, some of my expenses are also business, not personal. Even though both are “me,” I keep things really separate so I don’t get confused and god forbid if I was ever audited (my second worst fear after being arrested), everything would be totally square.

It’s really a stupid game, but by October, I have a pretty good sense of how much money I’ll have “leftover” in my yearly budget. That is historically what I use to make my “bonus” gift for the year.

I treat my savings account as invisible money. It’s there and it grows, but it’s not money that I “have.” It’s where I’ve been saving money for big life purchases (previously a downpayment and then, once I hit a number I was comfortable with, a wedding).

Navy Chanel Double Flap

Right now, I’m 29. I’m in a different financial position now than I was when I was 24. I’ve saved a good bit of money on my own and I’ll only continue to do so. But even though I don’t have a house yet or a wedding (lol, I know some people are going to lose their minds over this but whatever, it’s what I’m saving for), I know the money is there when I’m ready to cross those bridges. That gives me a HUGE sense of financial freedom right now and I think that’s ultimately why I felt totally comfortable purchasing a Chanel bag.

Will I be going and buying designer bags every month? NO. I think part of what makes my Chanel bag so special to me and such a great way to celebrate a giant milestone is that is is not something I would just go out and buy on any given day! It’s still well within my values: I went with a color that was very me and slightly more unique than the ubiquitous black, BUT, it’s a classic shape that has been in style for years and years. It’s not an “it bag” that will only be trendy for six months and then sent to a consignment store. I love that it’s something that I’ll be able to carry for the rest of my life and even passed down.

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123 Comments

Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

I saw a teaser photo on Instagram and was dying to know what you bought! That bag in navy is soooo you. I don’t own anything Chanel, but my favourite is the quilted Chanel boy bag. If I were ever to get it for myself, I think I’d probably get it in black. The bag I use on the daily is an Hermes crossbody in a sort of muted turquoise colour that my mother gifted to me. If I were shopping for myself, I probably wouldn’t have dared to get a turquoise bag, even if it was muted, but I love the colour and never have difficulty matching it with my outfits. I use that bag almost every day after all! I love that the style I got isn’t popular and doesn’t have any logos, so it’s a rather subtle bag.

My parents only wanted me and my brothers to focus on school, so they never let us worry about money and we never did. But ever since graduating college, my money anxiety has spiked. I almost stopped going out at all because I was so anxious about spending money. A few months living like this post-grad, I realised that this was a terrible way to live and it was taking a huge toll on my mental health. I felt like I was hiding from life. So now I’m trying to let go of this money anxiety. Just this past month, I started logging all my expenses in my notebook, and at the very end of the month (today or tomorrow), I plan to categorise the expenses and notice what I’m spending on. I have high hopes that logging expenses will be helpful for me, because I can let go of the guilt of spending on necessary purchases, and I can notice the spending on unnecessary purchases. -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

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Kate Tona

What a great way to celebrate! Congratulations, Carly, and thank you for this post—it’s inspiring.

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Laura

Congrats on your celebratory purchase! You’ll wear it well! Enjoy the joy it will bring throughout the years as you use it on many happy occasions.
P.S. Great choice 😉

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Zoe

You do not have to justify yourself, but it’s interesting to read about your attitude towards money.
This bag is pretty. But often designer bags do not look chic. Would they be bought if they were not from Gucci, Chanel, ….?

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supal // @chevronseclairs

I pretty much did the same as you growing up and only today have started treating myself to “nice things” on special occasions. I usually overthink ANYTHING I look to purchase and drive landlords CRAZY haha. I’m glad you treated yourself to such a beautiful gift that truly is an investment and something you can most definitely pass down without it losing value.

http://www.chevronsandeclairs.com

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Jennifer Record

This is an honest and refreshing post. And I think it’s wonderful that you work hard, have goals, and reward yourself. It’s sad that people feel the need to weigh in on other people’s life decision..esp. women. Kudos to you for having a great balance of working hard and enjoying life!

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JB

It’s refreshing to read a “shopping” post that is more reflective about possessions and personal finance. I own a home and just made a bit of a splurge upgrade to an improvement project and thought to myself that it was the same cost as a Chanel bag! 😀 What we save and spend on changes so much during our lives. I’m also noticed less of a relationship to prices as I’ve made more in my career—I can feel “guilty” about a $10 tee but feel no guilt at all buying $300 heels for work. (Probably because the tee is just a fun item while the heels are necessary to replace a pair that I’ve worn since 2009!) The Chanel is lovely and suits you perfectly—when I saw your Instagram post I knew it would be a navy classic flap! 😀

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Jordana @WhiteCabana

Well-deserved celebratory purchase, Carly. There’s absolutely no reason for you to justify any of your purchases. I appreciate the celebratory tradition attached your new Chanel, and if you want to buy more Chanel every year or every month or every day, go for it! Your call! 🙂
I think a separate financial post would have been entirely fine. The advice you share can teach others some savings strategies…and increase financial literacy!

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Sarah R

That bag is absolutely beautiful! I loved the whole post, but especially the portion where you emphasized that material items are not what life is about. That is SUCH an important truth that is too easily forgotten!

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Emily

I was looking forward to this post, but you’ve really said nothing about the bag itself! How you came to choose it, why Chanel, what the experience of buying the bag was like… maybe you buried that out of fear of judgement for just buying it, so the post feels more like a justification for buying the bag, but I think most of us are interest in your thoughts about the bag itself! I’d love to know more about how you landed on Chanel and the experience of buying something like that at a store that most of us probably never set foot in. Thanks!

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Meg

I really found this post so thought provoking. It’s probably one of my favorites you’ve ever written, and not because of the bag. You summed up finances so beautifully and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with leftover financial anxiety after I left my parents home. I still have to work on it every paycheck. Thank you so much for brining the topic to your readers. One last thought- don’t even feel the need to justify your purchases to us. The readers only get a glimpse into the aspects of your blog you share, we don’t live your life. If you have deemed it a good decision to get a beautiful bag for the work you’ve completed, then you deserve it.

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Elyse

Good for you!! I’m impressed by how thoughtful and honest this post is about your financial decisions. I’m glad you could treat yourself for this milestone. Cheers to 10 years! 🥂💗

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Allie

Your words really spoke to me this morning Carly! I also often get in the anxiety of “preparing for the unknown” and it can be debilitating. Thank you for sharing your perspective and journey through the anxieties of money!

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Jennifer

What a great blog post. I wish we all could have more honest conversations about personal finances. Thank you for taking what could have been a jealousy inducing moment and getting to the heart of it.

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Kyle

Thank you SO much for this! I also struggle with a a lot of money anxiety partially because of how I was raised/how my parents talked to us about money. I’m not in nearly as a good a place with my finances as you (grad school life….) but this gives me so much hope!

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Becca

Good move with the caviar. The butter-soft leather is exactly that and won’t hold up as long. The caviar will last forever. Enjoy! Such a timeless bag.

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Allie N

Carly, so happy that you love your milestone celebration gift! I think you explained the balance of financial decisions really well, and I like your emphasis of personal finance looking different for everyone and how that’s OK. I’m also a big fan of celebrating milestones. During my first year of working full-time, I bought myself a ring to celebrate. It’s important to me because it represents my first full-time job and the growth I experienced in that year. I’ll pass the ring down one day with that meaning. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your Chanel bag!

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Jenn

Great post. I work in finance where we get an annual bonus. I always save 90% of it and use the rest for a “treat”. Well one year it was a Chanel bag, just like yours. My only advice is to use it! I rarely use mine (for a variety of reasons). So put it to work!

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Annie

Thanks for this post! I am not good with my money, and my new husband is. I think it was the biggest thing we had to tackle in terms of getting married. I often think of you as someone who lives an effortlessly perfect lifestyle (please don’t hate me for saying that), so it’s nice to know that you also have financial worries, even if they’re on the opposite end of the spectrum from mine. My husband has helped me manage my money and in turn I’m helping him relax a little when it comes to making decisions. PS – I never understood the pull of a Chanel bag, but after seeing yours…I do. That is GORGEOUS. You made an excellent choice!

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KBG

I love your bag, Carly, and the fact that you were able to make this celebratory purchase for yourself. More power to the ladies taking control of their finances and making it on their own. Congratulations on your ten-year blogoversary!

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Marcella

Congrats!! Honestly a Chanel bag is a classic and the cost per wear considering how many YEARS it will last makes it worth it. Since I turned 25 this year I’m really trying to replace things in my wardrobe that fall apart with more quality pieces. Currently saving for some Ray Ban prescription sunglasses!! My last pair lasted me 5 years so I know it’s worth the investment.

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Morgan

You deserve this wonderful purchase, no explanations needed. I’m glad you did though and gave us some insight. Maybe you can make a post about how you set up your business and finances of doing it (without detailed numbers of course). I think it’d be really interesting and helpful to learn about the thought process of starting a successful company. Congrats.

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JB

Congratulations! You’ve worked hard and you’re allowed to treat yourself. Enjoy it!

Would you ever be willing to share if you use a budget template or a computer program to organize your finances, and which ones you use if so?

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Amy Bonsell

I really liked this post, Carly! Well, I like most of your posts, haha, I can always count on you to have something interesting to read. My literal thought every day is “Carly won’t let me down.” Talking about money is taboo but you did a great job of making it about your choices and I completely agree, what works for one person won’t work for the next. Thanks for sharing!

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Taylor

Beautiful bag, Carly and so well deserved! While I don’t think you should have to justify your purchases (even though people can be awful) I loved reading your thoughts on finances. I very much have the same personality (I could absolutely relate to the guilt over a purchase as simple as a Sudoku book). Enjoy the bag!!
Taylor | http://www.livingtaylored.com

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Katie

I really liked this post! I struggle a lot with money and feeling guilt over spending too much. Money was always tight growing up, and I went from grad school making barely enough to get by, to more than enough after graduation. I felt so BAD when I bought myself a car after starting my job even though mine had maybe six months left in it and I knew I could afford the payment. Now planning a wedding, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s OKAY to not go for the cheapest possible option. We’re certainly not throwing a $100k blowout, but we can comfortably afford to throw a great party for our family and friends and not go into debt for it. I’m definitely grateful for the security I have now. I have a lot to pay back in student loans, but I pay almost double what’s due every month and never have to worry about it. I definitely don’t want to be eating ramen every night and sacrifice my whole life trying to get it paid off NOW. I still have to fight that nagging part of me every time I make a purchase though…

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Chelsea

I really enjoyed reading this post and appreciate how personal and thoughtful it was.

Every once in awhile we need to remind ourselves that we deserve to be treated (as long a as it’s within our means). One of my favorite things about your blog and you as a person is that you’re not out buying every designer item that becomes popular. You’re smart with your money and make informed and well-researched purchases. I really appreciate that you’re not constantly buying luxury items…it definitely makes these purchases hold more sentimental meaning.

As a longtime reader, I think this makes you incredibly relatable and is one of the many reasons I continue to enjoy reading your blog and following on Instagram.

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Grace K.

I really enjoyed this post, Carly–your personal ones are always my favorite, but I especially appreciated how you approached such a touchy topic. (Also, I got married last year and I wish I had saved more during college and the years after so that we could have fully paid for our wedding. It would be been far more satisfying and freeing. As lovely and helpful as parents paying for part/all of a wedding can be, it feels odd as a grown women to have someone do that. And money always = power. So kudos to you for saving for such big life moments!)

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A Girl, A Style

I absolutely loved reading this, Carly! I relate to so much of what you say, especially the part about wanting to save every penny out of fear for the future (I hate the thought of ever having to depend on anyone else for money or not having the freedom to make the choices I want as a result of that).

When I finally started making decent money in politics (after so many years of supporting myself through University), I ‘let’ myself spend money on travel and to buy a few special pieces to mark milestones in my life or career. Mostly they were bags that if I’m honest I don’t wear that often anymore, but the pieces I have never, ever regretted are my Chanel bag, classic ballet flats and brooches. I loved that they were enduring classics long before I bought them, so I knew they would stand the test of time. I’ve now had my black Chanel for over a decade, and I confirm I still love it just as much as when I bought it and wear it nearly every day, and the caviar leather wears SO well too (mine still looks almost new despite how much I use it).

P.S. Previously they only had gold or silver hardware so the champagne colour must be brand new. I wish they’d had this when I bought mine (I went with gold) as it sounds SO gorgeous and goes so beautifully with the navy! It’s SO you!

Enjoy this special piece. You’ve earned it!

Briony xox

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Ellie

Congrats on the blogger-versary and on the exciting splurge! You earned and it stinks you feel like you have to justify it. As my dad would say, “wear it in good health!”

That said I am always fascinated with how people set up their money (not dollar amounts…just how the structure is) and as someone who would like to own a business one day, this was really interesting. Thanks for sharing!!

PS-I don’t have my LV monogrammed, but my understanding is Goyard can remove the monogramming. Might be worth it to sell the bag if you’re not using it.

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Tomissa

Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts on personal finance in this post, Carly. I’m so happy you were able to treat yourself, but also found other, happier ways to celebrate your blogging anniversary.

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Ingrid

Thank you for being so candid about finances – money is often something people are uncomfortable discussing, but it’s a part of life that everyone has to manage. And you make an important point – the more you understand your finances and feel in control, the more comfortable you can be making big decisions.

Also, that bag is fabulous!!!

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Beth Ferguson

Good for you. Everyone deserves a “very special treat” from time to time. If we did them on a regular basis, it would take the “special” out of it. Congratulations on 10 years of hard work.

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Jada

Carly, I loved this post! You deserve that Chanel! It is always interesting when it comes to personal finances because like you said they are personal. I too am very conscientious about how I spend as well as how I save. Thank you for sharing!

http://thegirlfromconnecticut.com/

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Ava Landrum Smith

This is a really fantastic post. Mazel on the beautiful bag, and the honesty in your writing!

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S

I hope every time you look at that bag you remember the amazing weekend you had that you’re listing here! Thanks for sharing your philosophy, it’s so interesting and inspiring. I know everyone starts from different points (student debt vs non) but that doesn’t mean they have healthy habits so hearing about yours is useful. Here’s to ten years of blogging more!!!

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McKenzie

This is probably one of my favorite posts! This honest conversation about money is refreshing and is needed. I personally have vacillated from super saver to sorta spendy over the years and am working in finding a balance. Congratulations on your 10yr milestone and your beautiful bag!

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Olga

It’s a beautiful bag, Carly! Classic and will last you forever. I don’t think you need to justify the purchase, but thank you for such a thorough post on finance! It is personal for everyone and I think most people have had some unhealthy beliefs around money! I’ve had to work on that as well and try not to worry so much anymore. Reading the book “You are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero helped!

Olga
http://www.littlethingsolga.com

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Shannon Mahaney

I admire you so much for this post! You work so hard and have kept this blog up for 10 years. A Chanel bag is an investment piece that will be with you for years to come. 🙂

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AISLINN SANTOYO

Wow wow wow!! I absolutely loved this post, your honesty is really one of my favorite things about your blog! Although we did not need a reason behind your purchase it is extemely encouraging to read about your thought process while making this purchase. I am so glad that you made the emphasis on the fact that we are all different and should not compare ourselves, that I feel is the biggest issue we have when looking at finances.
Anyway, thank you for sharing as always! 🙂

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Katy

Congratulations for talking about money. This is such an important conversation for young women to have–please keep the content coming, I’d love to see other posts on this– maybe you could talk about your 401(k) or how you budget for groceries.

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Emily Srofe

Amazing advice. I wish I had learned about the ins and outs of personal finance much younger. I’m 27 and I legit don’t understand 75% of what it takes to maintain a healthy personal finance.

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AMM

Beautiful bag and what a great reason to purchase it – you SO deserve it!! Congrats on 10 years!

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N.

Great post with a lot of fascinating details! To be honest, I was surprised to hear you struggle with spending money. I’ve never passed judgment on your spending habits because, as I see it, if you’ve got the money, spend it! (And you’re obviously a big saver).

But given how much you had to justify buying an expensive handbag, how did you emotionally handle your Paris trip, especially the accommodations? In general, your international trips seem lavish, but the Paris one really stands out!

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Michelle J

Congratulations on 10 years! That’s amazing and definitely calls for a special gift to yourself. The bag is beautiful! I appreciate how open you were about finances in this post. It’s not something many bloggers who lean towards fashion share about. At least I’ve never seen anyone else I follow y’all about finances! Saving money is important and I love that this will encourage people to maybe think differently about money.

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Carlyn

Thanks for sharing. This was very well written and thought out. It’s nice to hear the inner workings of a woman’s approach to finances. And you are a very smart woman with yours 🙂

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KG

I adored this post, Carly.

At the beginning I wanted to say “girl, just enjoy the bag and don’t even touch on the financial part of it.” But your gratitude comes through in this post, and I admire that. Having grown up in a similarly frugal household myself and consequently facing financial anxieties, I can relate completely.

Enjoy your new bag, gorgeous gal. You deserve it! And PERFECT color xx

KG

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Taylor

This is a great post, Carly. Always appreciate your openness. Have been a reader since nearly the beginning and think this is so well deserved (though you don’t need me to say that)! Enjoy you’re beautiful new bag – you’ll cherish it forever.

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Kate

I clicked into this post because I love a Chanel bag and a good discussion about the rational behind a purchase (I’m an over-thinker). But I was pleasantly surprised when it turned into a post about personal finance! It was all my favorite topics in one place! Thank you for your transparency, and congratulations on your purchase!

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Bekah

You are so precious. Love everything about this. My first thought is: WEDDING!!! I know you will look like Audrey Hepburn one day.
You HIT every nail on the head, and stayed SO appropriate and relevant. I love that you are writing about the HEART of personal finances and not the numbers themselves. I NEEDED THIS SO MUCH!! I used to be a huge spender, and am learning that I’m missing the opportunity of saving for the future. I’ve now gone too far into the frugal category. Once I hit a cash milestone, I need to contribute appropriately and just let it go. I don’t have to do the calculations, etc.

Finally, I LOVED this from a blogging perspective. I see so many bloggers with low quality outfits and Louis Vuitton bags and it sends mixed messages of Dress like me for $3000 dollars. You are transparent and this is SO GIVING and OTHERS CENTERED.

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Christine

Carly, first of all, congratulations on ten years of blogging and for the GORGEOUS bag you bought! You totally earned it. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing all of this (and given the amount of hate and nitpicking you get on a certain forum that will not be named, I see why you felt the need to go into this much detail). I’m definitely in a weird place money-wise right now, to the extent that I cried myself to sleep last night over finances when I make a very generous salary as a big law attorney, and you have no idea how much I needed to read your post today. Seriously, thank you. My parents were incredibly frugal and instilled that same financial anxiety in me, so it’s hard for me to spend money on things without feeling anxious. Literally 2/3 of my paycheck is going to student loans and my wedding fund (I do have a wedding to save for but honestly you are being SO smart by saving now, weddings are insanely expensive), so I’ve been really stressed lately about sticking to a tight budget for food/transportation/etc. and where I can come up with more money for this wedding. I feel like the other attorneys I know who aren’t paying off their loans as aggressively or aren’t saving for a wedding don’t understand how I can have any sort of financial anxiety as a high earner, and anyone who makes less than I do would roll their eyes at the thought as well. Your post is helping me recognize that this financial stress is something I have to work through more, but it’s also just so nice to see that I’m not alone in these struggles! I’m really glad that you’ve been able to build a healthy relationship with money and that you’re thriving financially like this.

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haley

Very interesting post, thanks for sharing. It seems like most, if not all, bloggers thrive and survive on promoting the consumption of goods. It is unusual to hear a blogger express such anxiety over their financial savings, especially when, quite literally, they are compensated by consuming and promoting goods (and spending their money on consumer goods). I am a new reader to your blog, and truthfully, I can’t imagine how someone with such financial anxiety chose a career that requires her to be an over-consumer (and thus, over-spender). Do you address this earlier in your blog? I will have to go back and read your earlier posts to find out!

I understand from this post that you have been able to achieve both the financial savings and a nice income by obtaining a balance of the two (saving/spending). I think it would be very nice to hear the specifics on how you can hold these two dichotomous ideas at the same time – an extreme need to save and an extreme need to spend. I would also love to hear more about your decision-making process (thanks for the process re large purchases; I am talking more about more moderate decisions, (i.e., a second winter coat, a third white button-down, etc.)). Thanks!

And I love the bag – I hope you enjoy it always!

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Em

This is an excellent comment, and an important perspective. I hope Carly weighs in as I feel uncomfortable being sold goods by bloggers while they have a very different mindset about purchasing/their own finances.

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carly

As I mentioned in the post, it was something that I really had to work on. I recognized that I was being absurdly and unnecessarily strict on my spending. I feel like I’ve found a good balance that works for me– buying quality things that I love and that are within my budget. I’m also in a unique position where I do have more clothes than average because I do earn income based on what I wear, but I feel like I have a healthy relationship with it and I hope that comes across in my blog. I mix and match outfits and wear things that I’ve had for years, showing the versatility and longevity of my wardrobe.

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Kitty

Loved your discussion about healthy/unhealthy relationship with money. Its a great conversation! Thanks for sharing!

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Catherine

Carly,

I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! Such a great post and what a sweet way to celebrate 10 years of incredibly hard work.

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Megan

I’m interested in how you were able to negotiate your salary right after graduating college. So much of the millennial stereotype is that we’re entitled and not willing to start out with little pay.

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Ashlee

You go girl! I love it! My only fear financially would be someone hacking my checking account and spending all my money.

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Megan

Carly, I so appreciate your blog for a number of reasons, but this post was especially good. Thank you for sharing your personal experience as well as your philosophy. This resonates so well with me. I, too, am slowly cultivating my own balance.

Thank you again.

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Natalie F.

Thank you for your honesty – this is really really amazing. As a recent college graduate and someone who wants to save for grad school/ a wedding, this was very insightful. You deserve this! Don’t let anyone criticize you!

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Michelle Gilroy

Hi Carly,

I would love to hear how you are saving for retirement. As someone who has only worked for large corporations and contributed to company-sponsored retirement plans, I am not familiar with how that works for someone who is self-employed.

Thanks!

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Cristina - Memories of the Pacific

The Chanel bag is so beautiful! You chose the perfect size and color. I had considered the idea of getting a Chanel bag for my 30th birthday but in the end I didn’t dare. It’s still something on my bucket list. Some day…. (sigh)

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Alexandra

Great article. So honest and written in such a way that many of us can connect to. Wonderful tips and suggestions.
As for the bag – soo you:) a perfect addition to your amazing style.

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Cynthia

Good for you! I plan on buying a classic Chanel after graduating medical school or during my residency. I really have a bee in my bonnet about buying one on a return trip to Paris at the original location. Seems like such a treat and so glamorous.

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Kaylie

Read this post in my email this morning and just wanted to pop over and say that I thought it was a great, very thoughtful piece! You have a great perspective and I really admire the way you opened up, money can be such a delicate issue.

And it’s a beautiful bag!

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Emily

I love the way you explain how you deal with your finances. It is personal and it’s no ones business, but it’s nice to hear how you’ve made something work for you! Congrats on the bag! 💙

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Cate

I wish more people would talk about being financially responsible! I personally didn’t have a great upbringing surrounding money and it’s awesome to have someone to look up to 😊

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Jen

You seem mature beyond your years and have such discipline. You said it correctly- personal finances are personal and this is a financial plan that will enable you to have financial freedom to do what you want. So impressive. Life gets a lot more expensive with a family and saving to the max right now will only help you later on.

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Kim

Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary, Carly! I think it’s great that you treated yourself to something special to honor this big milestone. You definitely deserve it! The bag is gorgeous; it’s the perfect color for you. Enjoy!

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Katie

This has to be one of my favorite posts of yours! Recently I’ve been reading a ton of books about money and really understanding my personal fears behind $. I grew up in a house where we always had more than enough, yet there was so much fear of lack. It is so ingrained in my mind, I’ve only recently learned of it’s magnitude. It’s HARD to get over!

I’m like you where my parents paid for my college so I came out totally debt free. I also bought a Coach purse in High School and I remember a girl came up to me and was like, “Everyone thinks your Coach purse is fake”. But I spend the entire summer baby sitting for 2 months just to pay for it! I’ve always liked nicer items like clothes and accessories, even since I was young and never felt I wasted my $. Actually looking back, I am happy I worked hard for that purse. My mom or dad did not buy it for me.

Your mantra is 100% dead on. Some people just appreciate spending money on different things than I do. It’s not my place to judge them, nor them judge me. I have always loved clothes and could care less about cars, an amazing house or lavish vacations. Give me alllll the fancy clothes but I’ll drive an older car and not care much. Thanks for being so honest and sharing about a subject that is so touchy to a ton of people. I am sooo happy for you to be able to buy a nice gift for yourself! It’s really exciting!

Katie | http://www.sunshinestyleblog.com

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Lauren

Congrarulations to you! I received a Chanel bag from my mom on my 30th birthday and 23 years later it is still one of my prized possessions! You will not regret the purchase to mark this milestone!!!

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Irene Tjia

Congrats Carly on your 10-year blogging anniversary! It’s such a great milestone and definitely worthy of a celebratory treat. Your hard work and responsible approach to money is really admirable btw!

P.S. That color is so you! Great choice 🙂

xx Irene | http://www.clubcoconutti.com

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Victoria Norris

Thank you so much for sharing all of this! I read this post twice today because I resonate with so much of it in here. I admire you for being so honest and for doing what feels best for you – it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels similarly about money 🙂

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Maman Patate

Hi Carly,
I’m jealous! Not of the bag, you totally deserve it and I hope it makes you happy. But I’m impressed and a little jealous of the way you handle your personal finances. I’m self-employed and despite the years, I still struggle to handle my finances in a healthy way. I have a good but irregular income that goes directly to my spending account. Whenever a client pays me, I have money to spend ( and I do). When things are slow, I have to take money from my saving account. My biggest mistake as a free-lance is still to consider “earned money” = “spending money” ( and I’m ashamed of it, because I should know better). I love the idea of paying yourself a salary based on your annual income. One of my biggest fears is also to be audited ( even if my accountant does everything according to the rules) but I guess it’s a common fear for self-employed people. I find you very responsible for your age.

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Sofia Kyriakopoulou

Great buy. Enjoy it for many many years. You have a good and healthy attitude with money.

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Maggie

Loved reading about how you save a separate business from personal!! Can you share tips for how you negotiated your first salary? I’m 5 years into my career and would have loved that information. I also have a younger sister that will have to negotiate her first salary in a little over a year and would love to share your tips with her! Thank you!!

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Jess

The bag is awesome, but I want to say thank you for posting about your relationship with money. As an early 30s high school teacher, the big-picture money relationship is something I still struggle with and something that I see my students fear. Being able to point to a successful businesswoman whom they already read, on platforms they live and breathe, is a great touchstone for this conversation.

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Anna Roberts

Love the bag, LOVE the realistic financial viewpoint. Awesome visual for young people to see and keep in mind as they grow their own finances!

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Maura

I love your transparency about spending money! So many people wonder how “blogging” as a career works, including myself, so I appreciate the honesty here. And bonus, a beautiful bag!! Love that it is such a timeless piece.

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Erin

Curious about working for yourself- how do you save for retirement? With your own company, are you able to set up a 401k or IRA?

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Sarah

I want to say that I really appreciate how you approached this! It is so, so important to foster a healthy relationship with our personal finances, but it’s rare to find a balanced opinion. It’s often not talked about at all, with allusions to an extravagant lifestyle, or it’s the entire focus and an extremely frugal mindset that only truly works for a select few (while maintaining happiness and quality of life).

Thank you for emphasizing that, while this was an exciting purchase, buying your new bag was not the most important thing (financial or otherwise).

Congrats on this milestone, I’m so happy for you that you were able to celebrate by treating yourself!

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Candice

Great post about finances, however, you don’t need to justify yourself to the world for buying a purse (even an expensive one). We respect you and your financial acumen (and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be worth having as virtual friends!😍). I’d say these are two posts: 1) Celebration if a Proud Accomplishment; and 2) Financial lessons. Please don’t lose the celebration over your 10 years of success ❤️

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Jessica Alvarez

This is probably one of my favorite posts you’ve written. It’s such a wonderful combination of being informative AND personal! Even when I didn’t relate to some of your perspectives on money (just due to my own upbringing and personality), I so appreciated how open you were. Sent this to a bunch of my girlfriends, because it’s something important to think about <3

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Tanya

Loved EVERYTHING about this! Thank you for being so transparent. Good on you Carly – the bag is a well deserved bonus treat!

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Caroline

No need to justify it–you earned that gorgeous, classic bag! Congratulations on hitting the 10 year mark!

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Becky

Firstly, thank you for touching on the topic of finances! I read a bunch of personal finance websites often, but I wish they had a much wider audience, because having these conversations and perspectives is IMPORTANT! However, I don’t think you need to justify the purchase to anyone else, because like you said, “personal finances are personal.” If you are responsible with money (which you are, I know you’ve discussed saving in the past), and you feel comfortable spending whatever amount on a specific thing, then you do you, boo boo! I know not everyone agrees with my viewpoint on this, but those that don’t should probably take a step back and do some introspection on why they are so judgmental. (End rant).
And second, thank you for posting about your gorgeous bag! It’s definitely very “you,” and I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate such a great milestone!

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Bee

Stopped reading you regularly years ago, in large part because the blatant materialism of lifestyle blogging and unachievable standards were starting to grate (not just you, not a personal attack!). Pleasantly surprised to read this post, not because you need to justify, but because it sends a positive and needed message.

Enjoy your bag. You deserve it.

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Kate

I love this! What a well thought out article and a thoughtful purchase. I am 27 and saving up to buy my Chanel bag before I turn 30. I just celebrated becoming debt free last month and could not agree more with the importance of budgeting for practical purposes but also for some fun! Congrats on a gorgeous bag, I can’t wait to see it tons!!

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Michelle

Thank you for sharing! Money can be a complicated topic and it is very personal. I enjoy reading your blog and I share it with my girls. We talk about finances a lot, your post will add to that conversation.

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Marlow

As an accountant – I loved this post! And to be specific, I am an auditor! So if you ever do get audited I got ya covered! Thank you for sharing your perspective on finances, this was so helpful and I am definitely going to try to incorporate a lot of things you said in my life! I am a firm believer in TREAT YO SELF and I actually need to learn to treat myself less often and treat my savings account more! I am OBSESSED with your purse and it is exactly what I want to treat myself with one day. You cannot go wrong with a quilted Chanel bag. They are timeless!!!

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Kristen

You definitely don’t need to justify your spending habits to us, but can I just say I really, really appreciated this post! It’s so honest and refreshing and exactly what this 24 year-old needed to hear as I’m currently trying to figure out personal finances in the “real world”. Definitely one of your best – thank you for your perspective!

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Emily

It’s great to hear your authentic take on money, we need more open discussion about it!

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emily

This was a great post. Thank. you for sharing about finances – not too many bloggers share those details. It makes you much more relatable to your readers (in my opinion!)

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Stephanie Becker

I really admire your honesty in this post. I also admire your hard work and dedication to yourself and your values. Do you ever find yourself tempted to blow the budget on a whim? Or not even blow the budget, but “treat yo self” a little too much? How do you stick to such self discipline without coming from a place of fear? Thank you so much, again, for a wonderful, educating post.

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Elbeegee2013

I had the giggles while reading this. As I am 65, I felt like you were speaking to your mom in explaining your purchase. 😊

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Vienna

I think I’ve just bought the same blue flap. I thought it’s from 2019 SS but from the time of your purchase, I’m wondering if it’s from the pre-collection instead. Fun fact: I only realised that the hardware of my bag appeared to be silver two days after purchase. After some research, I think my bag is of light gold hardware but it’s really hard to differentiate. Your photo looks silver to me as well. Haha. This bag is gorgeous!

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Marin

Went back and read this post as a morning pick me up because I remembered how much I loved it the first time. My mom and I were having a discussions recently about ‘things my mom taught me’. My mom always taught me not to judge others on how they spend their money, and this post sums it all up so nicely. Thanks for this!

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Michelle

Loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing. It was so interesting to read about your financial perspective and there were lots of points that resonated. I would love to hear more about how you and your counselor tackled this if you’re ever comfortable with that. Cheers!

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Emma

OMG, you are going to have the BEST time ever! This packing list is so chic, I love what you have put together. Also that navy dress is so cute, I can just see so many ways to style her up, and can’t wait to see how you do it!! Happy Travels, kate 🙂

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Gina Nygren

Much ado about nothing! You bought a bag you wanted. You don’t have to justify it to a anyone but yourself. Congratulations on that beautiful purse and enjoy it!

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