Me & My Money Carol Anne O’Neill, head of Ireland for Falcon Holidays and Thomson

I am more conscious of prices and value for money now


Are you a saver or a spender? Definitely a spender. I need structure like the SSIA scheme to be a saver.

Do you shop around for better value? For grocery items I don’t tend to shop around – I’m a bit of a creature of habit, but for any higher value items I would take the time to go from shop to shop.

What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost? Like many people my home has been and probably will always remain by far my most extravagant purchase – thankfully, though, it has been a good investment.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money? My iPad and iPhone; they travel everywhere with me and have become absolutely invaluable in such a short space of time. No longer needing to take presentation printouts, notebooks or even reading books has helped my baggage allowance significantly.

What ways do you prefer to shop – online or local? I would browse online and actually enjoy checking out different brands and shops, but when it comes to purchasing my preference is to buy in store and I particularly try and support my local shops.

Do you haggle over prices? On a normal basis I don’t haggle over prices, but if I was making a significant purchase I would tend to look for an incentive or a discount. I’m not always successful but I will try.

Has the recession changed your spending habits? Yes, it definitely has – and for the better. I am more conscious of prices and value for money now.

Do you invest in shares? I have done in the past, but have neither gained nor lost on them. It’s not something I would do on a regular basis.

Cash or card? Both, because you never know when you will need some euro or coins to cover essentials.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money? I bought a dress yesterday; it was reduced from €80 to €39. That’s a big bargain, especially when I know I’ll get loads of wear out of it.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase? I did when the SSIA scheme was in place; I found it gave me the structure I needed to save up for something big.

Have you ever lost money? I haven’t lost money from an investment perspective, but I was robbed on holidays once and all my cash was taken.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win? I dabble usually when it comes to the likes of the Grand National or sweep stakes in the office, but unfortunately I’ve never had a big win. Yet.

Is money important to you? I would be lying if I said it wasn’t important to me.

Being in business I see that without money and people spending money, both the business and the wider economy suffers.

How much money do you have on you now? At this very moment I have €8.30 in my bag. Looks like it’s a card day.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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