In the current issue of her newsletter GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow offers personal finance tips, ranging from how to beat inflation to how to stick to a budget. An article by fund manager Rod Rehnborg urges people to invest savings in vehicles that will earn more than the rate of inflation. Personal finance guru Lynnette Khalfani-Cox offers 10 tips on how to save more, including negotiating discounts, boosting your credit score, and taking a stopwatch on shopping trips. Khalfani-Cox writes:
People who are watching their wallets should always go shopping with three things: a budget, a buddy, and a stopwatch. The budget is your pre-determined amount of how much you can afford to spend in cash. If you do use credit, set a maximum that you can pay off in two or three month’s time maximum. Your buddy’s job is to keep you accountable. She’s the girlfriend who’s going to go with you—to that boutique you love, to the mall, or wherever—and remind you not to overspend and go into debt. It’s also her role to get you out of the stores once you’ve hit your limit. And here’s where the last “must take” shopping item comes into play.
You can do a lot of damage to your wallet and to your credit cards by spending hours upon hours in the mall or shopping all day long. Instead, try setting a time limit on your shopping excursions. A good way to do it is to use a ticking stop watch—or any kind of device with a bell, timer, beeper, or ring tone—that you can set for a fixed, brief period of time. A good time limit is 1 hour; 2 hours maximum. You can set your stop watch so that it “rings” in one hour, and then you have a verbal/auditory reminder that it’s time to put an end to the shopping for the day.
I wonder if Paltrow follows that advice? Or perhaps it's just for those of us with (relatively) small bank accounts. Even though Khalfani-Cox assures us that "even millionaires have budgets," it's hard to imagine Paltrow buying some of her designer clothing with a stopwatch in one hand.