By Ruthie Friedlander
Updated Nov 26, 2019 @ 3:45 pm
Credit: Getty Images

I’m a firm believer in the self-purchase. While I have a lengthy list of people I’ll be gifting this holiday season, I also will not forget about ... myself. Setting aside a handful of money to buy myself something that will remind me of the year (and what a year it’s been) is something that’s become somewhat of a tradition.

To know me is to know my love for jewelry—the ideal self-purchase, if you were to ask me. Jewelry, fine or costume, is extremely personal. Why wait for someone to buy me the necklace of my dreams if I could spring to buy it for myself?

But a true gift to yourself sets itself apart from an impulse buy in that it requires thought, just like a gift to others does. Here are my rules for when it’s advisable to make that expensive self-purchase:

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It Has To Have a Story

Whether it’s a lucky number or your birthstone, your self-purchase should have some sort of meaning to you. Throughout my entire life, my grandmother has worn a secret watch. The beautiful “trick” of the watch—that the face is hidden—has fascinated me since I was a child. So this year’s self-purchase, I decided, would embody the same sentiment.

This year, I have my eyes on a specific piece: the Santo by Zani orb, a necklace fashioned after Victorian-era orbs and pendant jewelry, which typically contained hidden messages.

"In a time when watches, mobile phones, and other gadgets are used to record every aspect of our lives, there is something entrancingly romantic and magical about wearing a piece of jewelry that can hold secrets," designer Zani Gugelmann said.

It Has To Be Unique

One question I always ask before my annual self-purchase: Would anyone else know to buy this for me? The answer must be "no." The beauty of the purchase is that you alone know it's for you. Your purchase should not be something typical, trendy, or obvious to someone close to you but rather something that you personally covet.

It Should Give You An Emotional Response

My mother always told me you should never love "things" that don’t have the ability to love you back. I’ve tried to employ that philosophy when shopping. Do I need it? No. But does it make me feel happy? Yes.

Your purchase, no matter the price, should make you feel something: excited, nostalgic, spoiled…

Credit: Santo by Zani Gugelmann

It Shouldn't Break You, Financially

The necklace in question is handcrafted in 18K yellow gold with high-grade diamonds, precious stones, and enamel/ceramic. It takes four-to-six weeks for one of these babies to be born. Swoon. It's not cheap. But I've been saving up so that I can buy it guilt-free. The last thing you want to feel after making a self-purchase is that pang of regret for spending too much money. Be sure to budget ahead of time to ensure that you know what your SPB (that's shorthand for "self-purchase budget") is.