Me my money
Neil O'Brien, owner, KeepFit.ie
Are you a saver or a spender?
I believe life is for living and that usually means spending some money! When it comes to business, I spend as I need to, as you have to keep investing in your own product. I have also learned to save money for the business, as I believe it’s important to invest in future growth.
Do you shop around for better value?
When it comes to business purchases, I would tend to shop around, but in my personal life I would have to say less so. I am not a huge shopper so when it comes to buying clothes or other items, I don’t mind paying a little extra so long as it is exactly what I want. I am particularly likely to avoid sales, as that frenzy is all a little too much. I find that a lot of retailers tend to put out the items they are trying to get rid of.
What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost?
Probably the VW Touareg I bought for the business this year. It is the second Touareg I bought and I wanted a higher spec, more powerful model (I am a bit of a petrol head!). It was second-hand and cost €22,000. Great car, though – I have had some fun off-road days in it.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I recently visited my brother in San Francisco for Thanksgiving and got a return flight for just over €500, which I thought was a steal. We bought that one through American Holidays and flew with Aer Lingus/Virgin Atlantic.
Have you ever crossed the Border to shop?
I have purchased some signage for the business from Northern Ireland, but I didn’t physically cross the Border as I bought it from the website and phone calls. My reason for doing it was that they were cheaper than anyone I spoke to in the Republic and they were easier to deal with.
Do you haggle over prices?
It depends on the situation. On a big purchase like a car I always will, particularly in this market. On smaller purchases, I am less likely to do so.
As someone who is self-employed, margins are constantly being eroded so I am aware of that when dealing with suppliers. If I feel I am getting value, I won’t haggle for the sake of it.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
It most definitely has. During the boom times, I was very unlikely to save or consider items for the future. In this economy, you work hard for every euro you earn, so it is important to have something to fall back on should you require it.