“People say money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it makes things a lot easier along the way,” says celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch (and by celebrity, we mean he’s dressed basically everyone you’ve ever heard of). “I’ve had it and I haven’t and it’s better to have.”
Despite his star-studded rep, Bloch has written a book for the rest of us. “The Shopping Diet” explains how making thoughtful purchases can enhance your life and save you money. For example, he rages against people who overspend on gifts because they buy them at the last minute or shop under duress. Here are his tips for spending better and being happier.
SPEND TO FEEL GOOD
“Forget about ‘stuff’ for a second, because I could recommend a car but then one of your readers may not like to drive. You should treat yourself to something that’s a luxury, such as the nail salon or getting your hair colored or something that’s going to make you look better and feel good. A gym membership. A personal trainer. It makes you feel good physically, makes your appearance better. A service.”
SPEND TO LIVE?BETTER
“Think of necessities that you would use. Maybe it’s a cleaning lady. It’s a great gift, too. We have a friend and we chip in because she’s messy. We also have a chef prepare a gourmet meal. Someone who’s an expert in something that, again, is going to help your life.”
SPEND TO FIX THINGS
“Maybe it’s just taking your car to get fixed. It’s been making that jaggling little noise and you just don’t have the money to bring it in. Or the dentist. It costs a lot. But when you leave, your teeth are clean, it’s a load off your mind. ‘Buying’ is not always about the fur blanket. It’s really psychological.”
SPEND TO LOOK GOOD
“If you want to buy yourself something — clothing-wise or jewelry — find something that you can use in different ways. Get just one Michael Kors that will last forever, and you can wear it to the office or the weekends. Whether it’s a ring, sweater or a new boot, find something that’s a little more luxurious that you can wear in many different ways. Transformational clothing. I treated myself to a Burberry sweater a few months ago, and I love it, I wear it all the time — and this Hugo Boss coat with fur lining, I love it. Though you might want to wait till it’s on sale,” he says, with a laugh.