Me & My Money

Margot Slattery, country president, Sodexo Ireland


Are you a saver or a spender?

When I was younger, I saved a lot to buy my first house. Now I am at a stage in life that I don’t believe in taking it with me, so I enjoy spending.

Do you shop around for better value?

Absolutely, it’s in my DNA.  My mother was wonderful for haggling, so much so that she bought very little at the asking price. So it’s an inherited skill.   

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

I bought a watch for my 40th birthday. It was a “To Me from Me” gift and it cost a couple of thousand euro from my savings. It felt wonderful to be able to buy something very luxurious and special for myself and I have had years of joy from it.

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

A painting I bought several years ago by Patrick Redmond. It’s appreciated in value and I love it and enjoy it every day. I believe art has a special value that goes far beyond the price tag. I believe in really loving the painting and feeling its joy and that’s all that matters.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

Local wherever possible. We spend our weekends in Carrick-on-Shannon, and so I try to shop local there a lot. For sheer convenience, I also shop online so it’s probably 60 per cent in the shops and the remainder online.

Do you haggle over prices?

A bit. I inherited this from my mum, as I said, and she haggled over everything. I am a milder version, but yes I will, especially if it’s a big-ticket item and I feel I am not getting value. I also recognise that in some cultures this is expected. I enjoy it.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Yes, it did, and I now consider things from a value-for-money perspective. I am more careful and I consider the need for things more. I know what’s important and that helps me make reasonable judgments. However, I spend lot of time in airports and that can be dangerous because of the very enticing range of duty-free shopping available.

Do you invest in shares?

Yes, a few. Like many others, my parents had a small number of shares before the recession and seeing them lose their money on these has made me very cautious.

Cash or card?

Card mostly. I find I am increasingly using the cashless facility and I could go days without using cash.

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

A lovely outfit in Kildare Village during the sale. It had at least 50 per cent off. It offers great value, so I get an extra sparkle when I wear it.  

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

Yes, I saved for my home, items for my home and my first car. In actual fact, I saved for most of the big purchases in my life. I was brought up that way .

Have you ever lost money?

Not really. I would not be reckless generally, just an annual flutter on the horses, and Lotto.

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

No, and I’ve never had a big win – no more than a few euro on the Lotto and the odd race bet a couple of times a year.  

Is money important to you?

Yes, as a means to an end. I believe that it’s vital to manage it well and to be able to make it work for you and to facilitate a comfortable lifestyle. However, seeing both my parents get ill has made me realise that when it comes down to it, it’s people, security and love that matters the most.

How much money do you have on you now?


in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea