Self-made millionaire Tony Robbins shares the biggest and most memorable splurges of his life

Tony Robbins: My most memorable splurge made my mom cry

Tony Robbins didn't always have the cash to splurge.

"I grew up dirt poor," he tells CNBC Make It. "We were always broke and trying to get by." And so, "early in my life, I thought, 'I'm going to make enough money that my family will never have to worry about this. I'm going to find a way to succeed.'"

Robbins did just that: He has built a multimillion-dollar fortune as an entrepreneur, investor and business strategist.

Along with his success, "I've had a few" significant, memorable splurges, he says. Perhaps his biggest one was when he was in his 20s and first started making big money. "I was about 24, 25 years old," he recalls. "I'd built a company that had become pretty successful and I had a really amazing economic month where I made half a million dollars in a month, which was incredible at the time.

"And I always had wanted to go to Fiji. I always wanted to have an island but I couldn't afford it. And then I saw an opportunity at a place I loved" to invest in some property there, he says.

Tony Robbins
Source: Tony Robbins

"I wanted to just try and buy one little condo at this place and they wouldn't do it, so I put the money in as a small investor in this resort and then my partners went upside down and it was the middle of a recession — I was really young, just getting my business going and it was a tough time during that time, but I wasn't willing to let it go.

"I found a way, by hook or by crook, to figure out how to keep it together and make the payments."

His doggedness paid off: "Today, I have about 525 acres and three miles of ocean frontage in the top resort in the country," Robbins says. The Namale Resort and Spa in Fiji, which he bought at age 29 for $12.5 million, is now valued at $52 million.

He also splurged on a beach condo for his mom. "I'll never forget" the day he surprised her with the home, he says. "That moment of just shock at first … and then tears pouring down her face.

"My mom's been gone now for more than a decade and it's still one of the most treasured moments of my life."

The greatest splurges are the ones where you splurge on the people you love because that has infinite value.
Tony Robbins

He points out that "at different stages of your life, what feels like a splurge changes, and I think it's really important never to lose the awe that you felt when you suddenly had a privilege or an ability."

"I can remember when it was a big deal that I could go to all-you-could-eat smorgasbord," Robbins adds. "To be able to take three friends and pay for it was a huge splurge."

The most memorable splurges aren't always the ones for yourself, he says: "I've had the privilege to have a plane and do all kinds of things and they all have added value in my life in some way, but the greatest splurges are the ones where you splurge on the people you love because that has infinite value, infinite joy to you, and even when they're gone it will bring joy to your life."

That's why he encourages spending on others when you can. Sure, "certainly splurge on yourself," he says. "You deserve it. You work hard. But maybe find who else you would want to splurge on and find what that feels like."

Don't miss: Star athletes Venus Williams, Adam Rippon and Gronk share the same favorite splurge

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Tony Robbins: In 5-10 years, we may need to give people free cash