Star athletes Venus Williams, Adam Rippon and Gronk share the same favorite splurge

Even the most frugal of athletes treat themselves from time to time.

Take tennis star Venus Williams, who captured her first Grand Slam title at age 20 and has gone on to rake in a total of $40.8 million in prize money. She's played it safe with her money from day one — her first six-figure paycheck went straight into the bank — but she admits to spending big on one particular item, she tells CNBC Make It: "I love jewelry and so that's definitely my guilty pleasure. I go splurge on that occasionally."

Rob Gronkowski also plays it safe with his millions: The New England Patriots star hasn't even touched his NFL contract money. Instead, he's been living off of his endorsement money since his career started in 2010.

While his endorsement deals are lucrative, he's not a big spender, he told Maverick Carter on a new episode of UNINTERRUPTED's "Kneading Dough:" "I'm an easy kind of guy. I can live easy."

But after eight seasons of being careful, the Patriots tight end finally splurged on a big-ticket item: a fancy chain. "I love this puppy," he said as he pulled out the diamond necklace to show Carter. "Now I know why people got jewelry. Now I understand why."

Tom Szczerbowski | Getty Images
Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots

Then there's U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, who tells CNBC Make It that spending hard-earned cash on yourself can be self-care. One of his more recent splurges includes a $6,000 gold Cartier Love Bracelet helped him, he recalls: "A year ago, I broke my foot and I just needed a little pick me up, so I bought myself this bracelet."

Rippon hasn't always been able to treat himself to pricey jewelry. Just a few years ago, the Olympic medalist was struggling to make ends meet and resorted to swiping apples from his gym to save money.

Today, he's still frugal about "a little bit of everything," he tells CNBC Make It, but believes in rewarding yourself every once in a while. It all comes down to balancing responsibility with reward, he says: "You should be saving money, you should be doing everything you can to plan for the future, but I think that it's important to celebrate what you have now."

Don't miss: How Shaq, Venus and other star athletes spent their first big paychecks

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