Me & My MoneyGemma Gowan, MD Handmade Soap Company


Are you a saver or a spender?
Definitely a saver. I get that from my dad. He’s very frugal and very wise.

Do you shop around for better value?
That depends on time and what I’m buying. Sometimes you have to spend to get good quality, but other times I’ll absolutely go bargain hunting. I think I’m happy to spend more to ensure I get good quality food and bargain hunt for clothes.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Honestly, I’m the least extravagant person I know. That said, we did have Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club playing at our wedding!

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
My leather satchel. Everyone comments on how gorgeous it is and I paid €20 for it.

What ways do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Definitely local. I love supporting local business, especially other local craft workers, although I’m more likely to purchase books through the internet.

Do you haggle over prices?
I’m getting better at that. My husband is a wonderful haggler. I’m learning!

Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Not really. I was a careful spender before the recession hit, and I’m a careful spender now.

Do you invest in shares?

Cash or card?
Cash where possible.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I bought The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates for €3 – it’s a story about an Anglo-Saxon sorcerer written by a former chairman of psychology at the University of Sussex. I think €3 is excellent value.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I went to the States last year for a month-long trip and spent the six months prior to that saving for it. Saving for something gives me a great sense of achievement.

Have you ever lost money?
Maybe €50 on a big night out, but never anything serious.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I hate gambling. It just makes me nervous – and not in a good way.

Is money important to you?
It’s important only in that it can provide a level of security and independence. I don’t want to lead a hand-to-mouth existence, but I also know there are much more important things in life.

How much money do you have on you now?
I have exactly €1.50 in my wallet. But then I’m answering these questions on a Friday morning. Maybe I should have waited until this evening to answer this!

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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