Me & My Money
Shirley Lanigan, Author
Are you a saver or a spender?
I have always liked the idea of putting something away and trying to forget that it’s there. I find it an easy to thing to do if there is spare cash. However, I never do it with the idea of pure saving. There is usually something lurking in the distance I would like to spend it on. So I am both a saver and a spender.
Do you shop around for better value?
I have always shopped around for better value. It gives me a ridiculous amount of pleasure to bag a bargain. TK Maxx, Lidl, Aldi and the bargain bench in the garden centre are among my favourite places. Give me a sale serving up something that I have an interest in and I will go a long way to justify a little spree. The sense of achievement on bagging a bargain is great indeed.
What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost?
It was a painting. It felt too expensive the day before buying it but I have never had a regret since the day we brought it home – and that was two decades ago. Every time I look at it, it gives me pleasure. It owes me nothing.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
It was a painting bought with a loan taken out to do up the bathroom. It was pre-Celtic tiger era and the bank manager would have had a fit if I had asked for money for a painting. He had no objection to a loan to do up the bathroom.
Have you ever crossed the border to shop?
I never crossed the border to shop, but I have shopped across the border when up north visiting gardens. As someone who thoroughly dislikes the supermarket shop every week, I could never get enthusiastic about travelling all those miles to do a bigger version of the hated weekly shop.
Do you haggle over prices?
I have friends whose ability to haggle leaves me in awe. But any time I have ever tried to haggle I just get a blank stare accompanied by a rather frosty, “That is the price madam”. Crushed and cowed, I dare not try again.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I don’t think the recession has had much of an effect on the way I shop as I started out in the 1980s when we were all broke. My innate pessimism insisted that depression was Ireland’s default mode and that the good times couldn’t last. As a result, I have always been a bit thrifty/stingy.
Do you invest in shares?
No way. I wouldn’t know where to start.
Cash or card?
Using cash I always buy more sensibly and would often think twice and maybe even three times and then not buy it. With the card, I can be a bit too free and easy for my own good. But even then I can only bring myself to use it if I know I can pay it by the time the bill comes in.
What was the last thing you bought something and was it good value for money?
It was a wedding present picked up recently in Gorgeous, a funky gift shop in Kilkenny. It was a pair of candlesticks and exotic handmade candles. To me it was great value, as I have already bought a similar pair for someone else and they loved them. Good value in a wedding present is a satisfied couple.
Is money Important to you?
Money is important as a means to an end, but not as something in itself.
How much money do you have on you now?
I have €25.40 in my purse, and a wash of dirty copper rolling about the bottom of my handbag.
The 100 Best Gardens in Ireland, by Shirley Lanigan, is published by Liberties Press