The Five-Item Splurge Rule Everyone Should Live By

“Jennifer! Money does not grow on trees!”

My parents always said it, but it never exactly rang true until I was off to college. It wasn’t up until I got my own PNC debit card and watched it get declined at McClanahans for the first time, that I truly realized that my parents would no longer be funding my needy lifestyle and I was on the verge of being broke.

Fortunately I semi-okay with my lack of cash because another cliché I’ve had drilled inmy head over the years is that “money does not buy happiness.” However, after coming up with my own college budget plan and deciding where to save money and when to spend, I’ve found this cliché to be less true. This is because I’ve learned that my happiness can be bought with $10.25, the exact price of a The Republic of Tea 36 bag tin of Peppermint Chocolate flavored tea.

For me, having a good cup of my favorite tea can completely change the mood of my day. When I was trying to save money on absolutely everything, I would come home with cheap tea bags that had less flavor and just weren’t enjoyable and I thought, what’s the point? The only reason I bought this crap was to save money, and I don’t even like it.

That continued to happen with a few other things that I really enjoyed because buying cheaper versions of things meant that the quality wasn’t as great, leaving me less satisfied with my purchases. And at first, I was proud of myself for maintaining a steady balance of cash in the bank, but then I took a step back and realized that I was sacrificing my happiness just to save a few more dollars and it got old really fast.

I knew there had to be a way that I could buy the things that I love and still save some money. This is when I came up with my Five-Item Splurge Rule.

It is very simple. What my Five- Item Splurge Rule consists of is picking five of my absolute favorite things to buy and buying them at the full price and best quality no matter what. The items that I choose, however, aren’t things that need to be purchased week-to-week, but rather every month or every other month, which is where I save money. I splurge on a huge container of my favorite tea no matter the ridiculous price, because it tastes amazing, brightens my mornings and a huge box of tea bags can last me longer than a month.

This rule can work with any purchase. Another example is your buying favorite expensive makeup, or getting a massage once a month or buying your favorite bulk containers of food or supplements that are more costly than others. This approach to a college budget is about looking for the best way to save money, but it is also about maintaining your happiness. Because sometimes all you need is a cup of tea to feel more a little bit more at home.

This Five-Item Splurge Rule is great for anyone and for any product. You might not even realize it, but some of you probably have your own version of this rule and already splurge on certain items no matter the price. Check out what some of the Valley girls always pay the full price for.


Jillian Selzer: Clinique moisturizer: $38

Kim Hutchison: Purity face wash: $11 and Anastasia Beverly Hills eyebrow products: $20-40

Emily Keifline: Matrix Biolage shampoo and conditioner: $40

Vanessa Ann: Highlights: $100 +

Andrea Navarro: Proactive + skincare products: $200 for a set

Katie Seibert: Running sneakers: $80-100

Corinne Fierro: Massages: $90 and Sephora or Chanel makeup: $40-70

Rachael Kline: Neutrogena Makeup remover wipes: $4.97 per pack

Sami Allen: Personalized stationery: $50-100

Abby Kelly: Skincare products: $40-50

Emily Keifline: Biologe shampoo and conditioner: $65

Kellie Elle: Benefit Erase Paste Concealer: $26


So think about five of your favorite things that you absolutely cannot live without. When you have solidified your list, go buy them and be happy. Every few months, feel free to switch up the items on your list if you have more than five. Life is too short to restrict yourself and yes we are being materialistic and falling into all the traps of advertising, but hey, we are only human. If a $20 tin of tea is going to make me happy, you better believe I’m going to buy it.