The Guide to Guilt-Free Spending

By Jimmy Turner, MD
The Physician Philosopher

We gave away ~400 FREE books at our first (FREE) webinar The 3 Myths to Financial Freedom: How to build a Cash Flow Plan that achieves your financial goals without a detailed line-by-line budget or the guilty spending!  If you missed out, don’t worry!  There are two webinars left this week on June 2nd (Tuesday) and June 4th (Thursday).  But, you should hurry as there are a limited number of seats and it is likely to fill up completely.  Come learn, ask questions, and – of course – snag a free copy of The Physician Philosopher’s Guide to Personal Finance for you and your friends!

The memory is forever etched into my mind.  It was the first time that my Dad and I took my garnet and black 1989 Ford Mustang out for a spin. We turned out of our neighborhood, and my dad looked at me and said, “Jim, do you know how to tell how fast a car is?”  Before I could say “no” my dad punched it.  He put his foot to the floorboard and the pull of my 315-horsepower V-8 mustang snapped my head back and pushed me into the seat.

“By how hard it pushes you into the seat…”

I’ll never forget that feeling.  I was 16 at the time.

Since that time I’ve always been a “car” guy.  I financed a 2017 Chevy SS straight out of fellowship.  Initially, I felt bad about financing a car, but as I’ve matured in my financial understanding, I’ve come to realize one inescapable truth – you should NEVER feel guilty about spending money on things you love.  Even if it makes no sense to anyone else.

Guilt-Free Spending

In the span of 3 years since finishing fellowship, I have purchased two brand new cars.  If you read or listen to most personal finance blogs or podcasts, this is pure blasphemy!  What a waste of money, right?

I ended up selling that Chevy SS for a silver 2019 Ram 1500 because the truck was more practical for our family right now, but don’t let that fool you.  At some point in the next 5 years, I will likely have two vehicles.  My truck for every day driving and a two-seater car that I can throw around corners.  After all, I don’t live very far from the tail of the dragon.

You might think that I have some major financial guilt about purchasing my car and truck, but you would be wrong, my friend.

Ever since that moment with my dad at the age of 16, I’ve loved vehicles.  And, I am a big believer that you should never feel bad about spending money on things you love!  In fact, I think you should spend lavishly on your passions.

Yet, that’s me.  Your passions may be altogether different.  Maybe you love nice restaurants, travel, fitness, or your kids private school education.  Everyone is different.

Life Is About the Journey – Not the End!

Money is a means to an end.  It is not the end itself. We should use our money so that we can live the life we want to live every day – that is true financial freedom.  Yet, it would not be right for me to encourage you to spend money lavishly on things you love without pointing out that money is a double-edged sword.

Spend too much money and experience guilt.  Spend too little, and you’ll experience regret.  How do we solve this problem?

I teach my Medical Degree to Financially Free students about the ESB (Earn Save Build wealth) model where we focus on using the good paycheck every doctor earns to save money and then build wealth.  That’s where most financial talks stop, though, and I think that is a major disservice.

While building wealth is important to finding your financial freedom, we also have to enjoy today.  The way that we balance this is by taking care of business FIRST, and then enjoying what is left.

Pay Yourself First, Then Spend Lavishly 

Here is the process.  Earn a good paycheck.  Spend less than you earn so that you can save enough for your financial goals.  Then, build wealth.  Do this all by “paying yourself first” before you ever get to spend the money on other things.

For example, my family automatically takes care of the following items each month before any additional spending:

After we take care of all of our big picture financial goals, the fun begins.  Why?  Because after that money is all allocated, we get to spend the rest however we want each month.  Even if we draw down our spending account to zero dollars by months end, we know that we have paid our future self first.

Knowing that our future goals are taken care of allows us to spend money on anything else that we want without feeling guilty about the spending.

To date our guilt-free spending has included the following (and more):

  • Purchasing a 2017 Chevy SS (and later sold for) a 2019 Ram 1500.
  • A Peloton bike, which includes a monthly $40 membership fee.
  • Country Club Membership.
  • A custom-made dining room table.

Because we save north of $100,000 per year, attempt to accomplish our charitable giving goals, and we are meeting all of our other financial goals – we can spend lavishly on the things we want and love.

Tone Down Some; Turn It Up On Others

Of course, this all comes with one big caveat.  You must be accomplishing your big-picture financial goals first.

Yet, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too.  For most, it isn’t possible to save as much as you need while you spend money on ALL of the things you want.

For this reason, it is important to truly figure out what is important to you.

The tool I use to encourage people to do this is the Kinder Questions.  After going through that, I encourage you to tone down your spending on the things that aren’t important.  This will free up money towards your financial future.  If you tone down unnecessary spending on things that don’t matter, THEN you can turn it up on the things that you love.

That’s how you accomplish guilt-free spending.  Tone down on things that don’t matter so that you can build wealth.  Then, turn up the spending on the things that matter most to you.

Take Home

When I bought my 2017 Chevy SS straight out of fellowship, the first time I shifted lanes in preparation for merging onto the interstate… I dropped my Chevy SS’s manual transmission into 2nd gear.  With the pedal to the floor, the force sat me back in my seat.

All of a sudden, I was 16 again.  Guilt-free and loving life.

Do you want to have guilt-free spending?  Make sure to enroll in the FREE webinar – The 3 Myths to Finding Financial Freedom: Building a Cash Flow Plan without a Line-by-line Budget or the Guilty-Spending.



  1. M

    Hey! Baptist SRNA here, I really enjoyed this post. I like the point you made about “tone down some and turn it up” in others. Different things are deemed important by different people. I don’t care about clothes, shoes or cars but I heavily value traveling and outdoor activities. I spend money on my gear (with money left over after automating savings and investing) because I will use it all the time and it brings me happiness! It’s important to have a balance or else you’ll forget why you’re saving in the first place.

    • ThePhysicianPhilosopher

      Amen! Once you figure out your passion, spend relentlessly on it. Just don’t spend that way on all the other stuff you don’t care about!

      P.s. Go Deacs!! Glad to have an anesthesia family member visit the site ?

  2. S

    Love this. It definitely goes against the grain for a lot of financial blogs. I think there’s a lot of “spend only on experiences, not material items” out there – so much so it tends to feel a bit judgy after a while. Some of us actually do get improved life satisfaction from certain material items. As long as you have balance and you’re meeting your financial goals, nothing wrong with spending on material items that add to your happiness/QOL.

    I’m with you. Haven’t regretted buying the sports car 2 years out of residency, once I was debt-free. I went back and forth a lot before pulling the trigger – it’s been even better than I expected. Taking it on long weekend drives definitely adds to my happiness, the same way a trip to Italy might for someone else. And my WAR remains above 30%. So for anyone out there in a similar situation – as long as you stop to make sure your financial ducks are in a row – it’s worth it. Would do it 10 times out of 10.

  3. Jeff Bank

    It was challenging for my wife and I to have guilt-free spending previously. After going through your MD to Financially Free course, we now have our cash flow set up properly and are investing 30% of our income. The guilt I experienced before is now gone since we are meeting our financial goals.

    I look forward to hearing what two-seat sports car you decide to purchase! I would love to own a Honda S2000 or Mazda Miata in the future. The Tail of the Dragon is a legendary road. That’s really cool you live so close to it.


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