‘We need to spend and buy Irish as much as possible’

Me and My Money: Anne Fanthom, managing director of Recruitment Plus

Anne Fanthom: “My daughter has repeatedly tried to introduce me to online shopping. She’s hooked, but I don’t believe I will ever move away from wanting that face to face contact.”

Anne Fanthom: “My daughter has repeatedly tried to introduce me to online shopping. She’s hooked, but I don’t believe I will ever move away from wanting that face to face contact.”

 

Are you a saver or a spender?
I’m a bit of both. It’s important to spend to keep the economy moving, and I play my part, yet I also try to keep focus on saving. I’ve contributed to a pension for many years to try and ensure I have money for a “rainy day”. My mother always insisted that a woman needs to have her own independence, so I’ve always kept a credit union account for that. I encourage my daughter to do the same!

Do you shop around for better value? 
I like to shop around and I generally know what I want. I think quality is very important. I’m price-sensitive, but I also want quality. Being in business, I’m very aware that all businesses need to provide quality, a good service and value for money, so I look for these when I shop.

What is your most extravagant purchase, and how much did it cost?
We went to the Pacific coast of Mexico in 2014 for a luxurious holiday. We built the holiday around the wedding of old family friends. The hotel was fabulous. We arrived a week before all the other guests and stayed longer. It was an expensive trip, but one of a lifetime. We couldn’t afford to do it, but couldn’t afford not to, either.

Which purchase do you consider the best value for money?   
The purchase of my 15-year-old shih tzu dog. Bart has given me exceptional value. He’s always happy and always excited to see me when I arrive home. His only requests are for food and walks, and he doesn’t change with fashion styles or trends!

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Local. I like to buy Irish and support local Irish business. My daughter has repeatedly tried to introduce me to online shopping. She’s hooked, but I don’t believe I will ever move away from wanting that face to face contact with the sales person, or being able to view/touch/feel, or try out the item first-hand.

Do you haggle over prices?
I’m a good negotiator, but appreciate as a small business owner that a good deal is one that benefits both parties.

Did the recession change your spending habits?
Like most people, it has taught me to be cautious. With the economy improving, however, I’m very conscious that we need to spend and buy Irish as much as possible. I exercise caution, too, ensuring I’m not overstretching my finances – but isn’t there always some excitement when you make a new purchase?

Do you invest in shares?
I did invest years ago in the Eircom scheme, but I haven’t invested since.

Cash or card?
Card all the way. I’ve never much cash on me, as my daughter will testify to. And if I do, it’s generally spent by her before too long! 

What was the last thing you bought, and was it good value for money? 
The Crackin’ Egg microwaveable cup. It’s a simple gizmo for cooking a variety of egg dishes, from super-quick scrambled to pancetta eggs. All done in less than a minute. Ideal for someone like me who is always rushing. It cost €7 and helps ensure I have a breakfast.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?  
Yes, I set aside money before I make a big purchase. I avoid borrowing. If I can’t afford it, I won’t buy it.

Have you ever lost money? 
Apart from those Eircom shares, I’ve been fortunate never to have lost money.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win? 
My only gamble is once a year on the Grand National. Growing up in Limerick, we used to do it as a family draw. We still do it where possible, and yes, I’ve had a few wins over the years. Probably winning as much as €35, tops.

Is money important to you? 
I’d like to think no, but realistically it’s important – in order to provide for my family, maintain a home, and to support my daughter Niamh, who is in her final year in college and is lucky enough not to have had to apply for a college loan, though she has worked part-time during college to support herself.

How much money do you have on you now?
€25 – and my cards, of course.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea