Me & My Money: Orla Walsh, artist
‘I absolutely love slot machines, but only in Las Vegas’
Are you a saver or a spender? I am a saver, and I try not to ever use credit cards for a purchase that’s not planned. I do have ‘blow-outs’ at Christmas and on holidays, when I spend a small fortune, but the rest of the year it is in the bank.
Do you shop around for better value? I shop around a lot for work materials, as paints, canvas and brushes vary hugely in price. You can save a fortune online. When you purchase locally for convenience it can cost more.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost? Business-class tickets to Abu Dhabi! My husband and I were taking a break on our own, while our three daughters were staying with their grandparents.
When we arrived at the check-in desk, we were told that business class was not full, and that the remaining seats were being sold at a substantial discount. It was a real indulgence.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money? The best value for money for me is when I buy in bulk. I need frames for my prints, and I buy them in batches of 40, which brings the price down a lot.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local? Definitely online for my painting supplies, but when grocery shopping I would shop in my local SuperValu, Lidl and Aldi.
Do you haggle over prices? I am appalling at haggling; I leave that to my mother, who is the queen of the haggle! When it comes to selling one of my paintings, though, the buyer will always look for a few quid off, and I will always happily discuss that with them. Has the recession changed your spending habits? Before the recession I would have done one big supermarket shop a week, and not really thought about the price. Now, I will specifically shop in certain supermarkets to get the best value. I am also not as quick to throw a product into my trolley, and I always check the shelves above and below to see if I have got the best deal.
Cash or card? Always card, I never have any cash on me. I find that I can track my business account better when I have a statement that accounts for every penny.
What was the last thing you bought that was good value for money? My daughter loves to bake so I bought her some great moulds for sweets and lollipops. The value was her face when I brought them home, she was so delighted! Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase? Yes, my first car. A red VW Golf, two door. The colour was more important than the car. It was £1,800 in 1995.
Have you ever lost money? I sold my living room sofa online for €800. That night we were burgled. They stole the cash, and anything else they could shove in their bags. The next day, the guards fingerprinted the kids, which made them laugh and think it was not so scary, after all. Do you invest in shares? No, because I do not know enough about investing money. I would leave that up to my husband.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win? I absolutely love slot machines, but only in Las Vegas. On my honeymoon in 1998 I was playing a five-cent slot machine and alarms started going off around me. I had won $600 and a night’s stay in a suite at the Hotel New York New York. More recently, I was back in Las Vegas and continued my winning spree on a ‘wheel of fortune’ slot that won me $400.
Is money important to you? Money does not make you happy, but a lack of it can make you sad.
How much money do you have on you right now? I never have money on me. I use my card only.
Oh, hold on, I have €1.22 in my back pocket that I picked up cleaning the house this morning!
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea