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My Top Purchases Under $20

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

I pride myself on not being an easily influenced person. I am someone who does extensive research before purchasing anything, checking reviews and thinking about practicality before jumping to buy.

However, I am a sucker for a good list of recommendations. I love watching hauls and seeing what kinds of things people buy.

If you’re just as nosy as me, here are some of my top purchases from last year, all of which are under $20.

A Sewing Kit

I have never seen a sewing kit on a list of essentials for college, but it’s more useful than you might think.

Within the first month of college, my junky comforter had a tear in it. I went down to McLanahan’s and bought a cheap sewing kit for $5. The little plastic box it came in already had a crack in it, but it did the job.

I used this kit more times than I could count, from trying to salvage my comforter to small tears in clothes. While it had been a while since I learned to sew back in seventh grade, my patch jobs hold up well enough.

This year, I decided to upgrade my kit and I found one on Amazon. While it came with things that I don’t know how to use (seriously, what does a thimble do?), it has become an essential in my life.

The one I bought is currently unavailable, but this one is very similar.

Milani Fruit Fetish Lip Oil

I am not an expert when it comes to makeup. But I knew as soon as I saw the Dior lip oil on TikTok that there was no way that tiny little bottle could be worth $40.

Lip oils tend to be more hydrating and less sticky than lip gloss, which is perfect for the winter months since my lips always seem to be chapped. I knew I wanted to find an alternative, and that’s when I came across the Milani Fruit Fetish Lip Oil.

It is one of the most hydrating products I’ve ever put on my lips and it has the faintest bit of color that is perfect for daily use. Each of the four colors have a different scent, and the three that I’ve tried have all been amazing.

If you are looking for something to save your lips in the winter (or just a grown-up Lipsmacker), this is the product for you.

While you can get it at nearly any drugstore, I found mine at Ulta.

EVA NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask

Eva NYC is one of my new favorite brands, and while the Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer also has my heart, I truly believe that this hair mask saved my hair.

I’m not sure if it was because I was living in the dorms but my hair was so dry at the beginning of last year. I saw this on TikTok, but I was initially unwilling to buy into the hype and spend money on another hair product.

But obviously, I did buy in. And I’m so glad I did.

While I may not understand the science of this product, I know that it has hydrated and strengthened my hair so much. The container is also huge, meaning one tub can last me at least six months.

Eva NYC is sold at Target and Ulta, but you can also find it on Amazon.

Microwave PopCorn Maker

Last year, I was a microwave popcorn fiend. I would get the big boxes of Pop Secret Homestyle and make a bag almost every day.

This year, my roommate showed me how to make homemade microwave popcorn using kernels and olive oil. She bought a silicon bowl that goes in the microwave and now we make homemade popcorn almost every day.

Ignoring the fact that this is a much healthier alternative, it’s also much cheaper than buying the individual bags. And while I don’t think you need anything other than salt for this popcorn, you can easily customize the popcorn, making it sweet or savory.

By the time I got home for winter break, I was hooked and I didn’t want to wait a whole month before making popcorn again. I bought this one from Amazon and I got to make my new favorite snack at home. If you love popcorn just as much as I do, you totally should give this a try.

Being Frenshe

I’m almost tempted to keep this one to myself since their latest restock sold out in hours, but this brand is one of the best new releases of 2022.

This is Ashley Tisdale’s personal care line that’s exclusively at Target, and it has taken the world by storm. It’s a miracle to find these products in-store, and there’s a good reason why.

The Cashmere Vanilla scent is now my everyday perfume. I spray the Lavender Cloud mist on my bed every night. Even the scents I don’t own smell amazing (I have spent an embarrassing amount of time in the aisle at Target smelling all the products).

While some of the products are currently out of stock, here is the full list of available products on Target’s website.

Influencing culture can tend to break the bank, but I’m always interested in seeing what people spend their money on. And if those products are also cheap, I consider it a win-win.

Emma is a junior from Randolph, New Jersey, double majoring in journalism and human development and family studies with a minor in addictions and recovery. When she's not writing you can find her watching "Big Brother," drinking Diet Coke or trying to explain internet drama to her dad.