Me & my money


Maureen Ledwith, sales  director, Holiday World

Are you a saver or a spender?

I like to think I hit an even balance between the two. One of my sons, who is an economist by profession, tells me that I ought to be spending to help economic recovery. I can justify the occasional excess!

Do you shop around for better value?

I feel I ought to say “yes” but, in truth, I never have enough time. I am also committed to buying locally.

Sometimes that means paying a little bit extra, but what I lose at the till, I save on shoe leather or petrol. And I find that local retailers provide service that’s hard to match.

What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost?

In 1981, I fell in love with and bought an antique welsh dresser (circa 1735) for £1,200, but only on condition that the dealer would allow me to pay for it over 18 months!

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

My black Toyota Celica. No longer new – alas – but it still looks sporty and sleek, which is a good thing as it will be with me for some time to come.

Have you ever crossed the Border to shop?

No, although when we stage the annual Holiday World Belfast show, I often wish I could sneak off for an hour or two to look around the stores there.

Do you haggle over prices?

An unashamed yes! When I’m selling stand space for one of our exhibitions I’m used to people haggling with me, looking for the best package possible. As far as I’m concerned it’s all part of the rough and tumble of business, so I have no qualms about looking for a better deal when I’m the customer.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Yes. I think it’s impossible to ignore the general background “mood music” of austerity. I am a farmer’s daughter and I was raised to have a respect for the value of money and an understanding of how hard it can be to earn it. For me, waste has always gone against the grain.

Do you invest in shares?

Yes. I love to have a bit of a gamble and I have had some luck.

Cash or card?

When the cash is gone, I turn to the card. Spending “real” money gives you more of a sense of its value.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I bought a Black & Decker drill for € 99. Only time will tell if it was an investment or not. There’s always the risk that the drill stays in the box while the odd jobs around the house continue to mount up.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

I did save for an expensive dinner service to go with that welsh dresser and the gain was worth the pain. I’m not sure my husband and sons see it in quite the same light, but I felt it was something special.

Have you ever lost money?

Certainly not often – and it wouldn’t be something I’d take lightly! I’ve had people try on occasion to pull a clever deal on me but, so far at least, no one has succeeded with that one!

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

I enjoy a flutter on the horses, but that’s more about a day’s craic than it is about gambling. I’ve certainly never been tempted to risk more than I can afford to lose.

Is money important to you?

Yes. It’s that “farmer’s daughter” background again, mixed with the hardworking ethos that comes with being part of a family-owned and -run business. We place value on money because we work hard for it and we don’t take for granted the security and good things it brings. Money isn’t everything, however, and “your health is your wealth”. If the family is well, that’s the most important thing.

How much money do you have on you now?

€ 12. I think it may be time to get out the credit card, don’t you?

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