We all make room–be it time, energy or money–

for people & things which matter to us.

Many readers & acquaintances think I’m crazy for putting $23,500 into my Roth 403b & Roth IRA in 2015. In 2016, I will continue to do the same along with the new goal of maxing out Mini’s 529 at $14,000, all on a projected income of $60-75,000 (PGY2 base salary+ tutoring+ blog).

Quick math, that doesn’t leave much room for splurging, does it?

So I am selective with my splurges, like I’m selective with every other aspect of my life 🙂

To quote one of new hero/mentor Dr. Diego Martin, Chairman of BUMC medical imaging, “Possibilities are infinite; time’s limited.”

Here are share 6 things I plurge on:

  • Mini’s Learning
    • Mini knows too well what Dr. Wise Money repeats over & over, “The only thing that matters in life are stored in two places: your brain & your heart.” I put my money where my mouth is. Anything Mini wants to learn or explore, all of us are fully supportive of Mini (grandparents, Mini’s dad and myself).
    • Mini has dabbled in: (and remains actively involved in)
      • Equestrian 
      • Acting/Theater
      • Painting 
      • Sculpture
      • Gymnastics
      • Vocal lessons
      • Ballet
      • Swimming
      • Martial Arts
      • Robotics
      • Circus Arts
      • Cheer leading
      • Yoga
    • Life lessons are just as important as any single discipline/hobby one can pick up.
      •  We live in an affluent part of Tucson (ours being easily the cheapest home in our neighborhood), so we are surrounded by expensive temptations. One Sunday, after a free yoga class at Lululemon, Mini was drooling over the beautiful fashionable windows in those high end shops (I’d never voluntarily set foot in) at the mall. I want Mini to be happy in life and learn to spend her money on things that matter to her (as much as I want her to spend/save the way I do).  So I told her she had a $100 budget and can buy any item(s) her heart desires. She came home sporting a pair of $72 silver flip flops from Ann Taylor, again something I’d never buy because it can support my sponsor child in El Salvodor for nearly 2 months. Nonetheless, I was happy to see Mini learn about herself & money.

An important life lesson for $72; I’d say that’s a bargain. 

IMG_0896Happy Mother's Day miniIMG_0745

  • Mini’s Creative Projects
    • While I abhor buying $30 toys that cost 50 cents and is most likely made by a child in a sweatshop, I spare no expense in supporting Mini’s creativity in all ways possible. I buy pretty much anything Mini asks for in arts & crafts supplies. During our recent bi-weekly trip to the craft store, Mini picked up $100 of art supplies. But guess what, summer just started, and Mini has been engrossed in making beautiful jewelry, accessories (including a set of birthday gift that looks like it’s worth $100 from the mall). I always tell Mini, “God has given you many talents, most of which lie in creating beauty to share with the world. Now, be a faithful servant & apply yourself and use your gifts to the fullest potentials.”


  • Real estate
    • I’ve bought 2 homes in my life so far. I cannot afford and am not interested in bells and whistles, but I care about location. Sure I can buy a cheaper house in a cheaper location & save even more cash. But no, buying houses in the right location is a higher priority than saving upwards of $37,000 a year.
  •  Food
    • We are and definitely will be what we eat.
    • This started with my mom, aka the Wise Money Gourmet. WMG has written > 20 recipe books. Wherever she is, the stove, slow cooker, ovens are always on around the clock. Even in difficult times, mom’s door was always open to a friend or colleague who could use a delicious and nutritious meal.
    • So even though we do have a budget for food, we pretty much get what we want/need. All things organic, non-GMO whenever possible.
    • Plus since we got the great deal of $1,200 cash back on $4,000 in gift cards from Sprouts. We feel pretty relaxed when buying food at Sprouts, as it’s always 30% off to start.
While some people spend money on ambiance & service while eating out, DWM tend to spare no expense in getting the best quality ingredient possible: organic, non GMO, seasonal, fresh produce and protein sources. DWM makes simple and quick dishes in the oven and slow cooker that would knock your socks off! This is Chile Verde, ready to serve in 10 hours. Prep time 10 minutes.

  • Sponsoring Mariella
    • One sure way to realize how blessed we are is to pass on the blessing by giving. We started sponsoring Mariella, then a 5 year old in El Salvador who shared the same birthday as Mini’s dad, and had the first profile on Compassion International’s website Thanksgiving 2014. We decided to give a mere $38/mo to support all of Mariella’s needs (education, food, medical care, access to church) as we were feeling grateful for all the blessings we received in 2014 (including buying our first home, paying down student loans).
    • Sometimes I find Mini & I use Mariella’s monthly stipend as a conversion factor.
      • I wanted a pair of lululemon’s workout pants until I learned that a basic pair cost nearly 3 months of Mariella’s stipend… So I decided against it.
      • Mini feels very blessed to be gifted with art supplies equivalent to Mariella’s 2 month stipend.

  • Health
    • I’d rather spend money on the model than the clothes 🙂 In college, instead of buying cute clothes, I hired a personal trainer. I figure if my curves were kicking, I can wear rags & still look good.
    • Instead of buying Mini a wholesale lot of desserts for her sweet tooth, I’m committed to treating her the healthiest, highest quality indulgence her heart desires. Every time Mini ask for a cheap or free piece of congealed sugar water colored and shaped like a treat, I remind her of the $8 desert from our favorite Mexican restaurant or the $13 piece of cheesecake from our favorite American chain restaurant. In Mini’s own words: “sugar is bad for us and it gives diabetes, which makes people get their feet cut off and go on dialysis”. (Mini use to go to dialysis center with her Dad to fix dialysis machines when I was on the residency interview trail.) Since sugar is going cost Mini money and her health down the road, she embraces the idea of getting the sugar that’s worth what it costs.
As DWM cares much more about financial fitness than monetary ostenatiousness, she cares very much about physical, mental, and spiritual health. While DMW’s perfectly fine wearing rags, she doesn’t skimp on classes, activities, & again food which makes her family and her healthier.

I splurge on what I care about, that’s why I don’t feel deprived the least bit and can save nearly 63% of my income.

But enough about me, what do you splurge on? What brings you the greatest amount of and most lasting happiness when you turn over your hard earned dollars?

Top 6 Things Dr. Wise Money Splurges on
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4 thoughts on “Top 6 Things Dr. Wise Money Splurges on

  • May 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I like how your “splurges” are basically all investments… A good farmer knows to splurge on the good seeds. Good job! I wish I was as disciplined myself. I definitely splurge sometimes in the traditional sense of the word.

    Also want to mirror what PoF says – splurge on experiences – seems to be a common thread among people who can afford to splurge on things but don’t 😉

    • May 27, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks a lot, Bo! I was on a podcast interview this morning with Josh and realized that it’s true that the main reason i still work for money is because i want to support Mini’s interests and expand her horizon. i personally don’t have much desire for anything material, other than good food and access to beautiful nature and a yoga mat 🙂

  • May 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

    You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into your splurges. Nice work.

    We’ve bought into the idea that money is best spent on experiences rather than things. Travel is our biggest splurge, and it’s worth every penny. There are ways to travel well without blowing the budget, too.

    • May 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      first off, thanks for leaving comment. you are my #1 hero on physician personal finance, same as WCI. I feel super honored to have your words on my blog! yes, i totally agree with travel. no better way to learn, to expand one’s mind, & to embrace life 🙂 btw, thx for the typo alert, will fix ASAP!

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