My dad’s a smart guy.

Graduating from the top 10% of his class in college to become the lead engineer for Oracle, he had earned a life most immigrants would dream of — a lavish house, a stable income, a loyal partner to support his every move. Any tech or house problems, whether that was termites, leaky toilets, slow internet connection, he fixed. To see how far he has achieved now, starting from his early days living in Hong Kong, still astonishes me today.

But one thing he can’t wrap his head around is spending money where it’d promise a better quality of life. To him, money is precious, so precious that he’d rather stick with a second rated item simply because it was “enough” to satisfy his basic needs.

A quick story of my dad’s usual self:

**As dad drives me to the airport**

Dad: I don’t understand. How can Jen* (my sister) use up all 5GB of her cellphone data in one month?

Me: Oh, usually she’s out of the house, photoshooting for her blog or hosting social media events in SF or LA. So most of her data goes into GPS.

Dad: She could use Garmin to navigate then. It’d save her data.
[Just fyi, Garmin is one of those old, shitty portable GPS you mount in your car, which may or may not lead you to the right destination]

Me: Dad, Garmin is really crappy. It won’t show you the grand opening stores and sometimes it leads you to an empty business that died months ago. Plus, it doesn’t tell you what’s the fastest route when there’s rush hour — it doesn’t show you the current traffic. That’s why I always stick with Google maps on my phone, because it’s reliable.

Dad: Well, she can use Garmin first to find the new store or maybe a place nearby it. If she still can’t find it then sure, she can use the GPS on her phone.

Dad, I know you want to use what we have and save every cent possible, but if it’s something we use everyday, why not spend a little more? $10 more for an extra 5 GB/month would not only make our lives stress-free, it’d accelerate our abilities to reach our long-term goals. If anything, the point of earning money is to live life easier and happier.

Let me tell you what I’d invest more of my money in and why.


If 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping, why not get a pillow that can put you to sleep instantly? More sleep means getting more shit done at work.


Again, sleep is important. Your body, your mind after a full day of work needs to rejuvenate and the best way is to lay down on a comfortable mattress — ideally one made out of memory foam to give your body the best cushioned support.

The Japanese toilet

I never believed wiping after pooping was sanitary. I mean, how can a tissue paper alone get rid of the bacteria (and stench)? It can’t. It’s better to just splash, wipe, and clean the junk and the trunk — the Japanese way.

Car wash

The average car wash takes one hour. Cost: $12.

Washing your car at home is $0. Cost: 1 hour.

If you think about this logically, is 1 hour of your time worth $12? If it’s not, take your car to the car wash. There’s much better things you could be doing in an hour — planting a tree, shopping for this week’s groceries, planning for your next vacation trip.


One of the best phones ever created. Compared to the Android, you can’t get better features than having:

  • a TouchID fingerprint sensor to bypass the lock screen
  • a better search system for apps, email, notes, calendar events and text
  • a physical switch to set your phone to silent or sound/vibrate
  • a better keyboard for texting
  • better user experience based on elegance and customization

Even though iPhones costs a bit more compared to other phones, it’s worth getting if you’re always checking your phone.


Sometimes, it gets boring or drives us insane listening to the same old songs on the radio or on our favorite playlist. But with Spotify, you can browse through and discover new songs and add them a dedicated playlist. It’ll be even better if you know buddies who use Spotify — that way you can even swap songs and playlists with each other.

High performance computer or laptop

Nowadays our faces are stuck to the screen, checking our emails, Facebook, videos, and the results of our doings. Makes sense to buy a computer or laptop with a higher resolution and faster performance, doesn’t it? Especially if you use more Internet than you do with TV, I’d suggest investing a couple hundred dollars to keep up with your online life.


Remember the last time you were drenched in sweat, struggling to focus on work? Or struggling to sleep? I get you’re trying to lower your electricity bill, but if this is going to cost you your attention and mental well-being, don’t settle for just a fan. I’d eat ramen for a few meals instead of take-out if that’s what it takes to get decent AC.

Value your money the same as you value your life

I’m not suggesting you should splurge on these items, but rather to think about what you value most in life and use on a daily basis. Because where you put your money is what determines how great your life could be.

What would you invest more in that’d make your life easier or happier?

Drop your comments below — I’d love to read them. 🙂