Me & My Money


Niall Harbison, co-founder Simply Zesty

Are you a saver or a spender?

100 per cent a spender. Every penny I have goes into trying to do something exciting or gets invested to grow more businesses or value. I don’t believe in things like pensions: I’d rather shape my own future by placing my own bets on the future like property, etc.

Do you shop around for better value?

This is my biggest weak spot. I spend a lot of time working, so I grab things in local shops or restaurants when it would be cheaper to shop around.

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

Well, my house, which was over €500,000. I once came into a bit of money and spent €1,500 on a watch even though I never wore them in general. I got about three months out of it, and it taught me not to waste money on material stuff.

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

My dog. He was €125 from the DSPCA and has brought me endless joy.

Have you ever crossed the Border to shop?

I’m from the North originally so I do shop there, but I don’t go with the intention of shopping to save money. Having said that, spending time in London and the North shows me how much we get ripped off in this country.

Do you haggle over prices?

If it’s something big like a house or a car, of course. Not really for smaller stuff. I guess, owning a business, I know how most people are struggling so doing them out of more of their margin doesn’t feel like something I’d want to [do]. If the price is fair, just pay it.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I’ve always been a spender, and the economic outlook doesn’t influence me much. Everybody has tightened their belts; I prefer to keep things consistent.

Do you invest in shares?

Yes. Sometimes I do well (I bought Apple shares when they released the first iPod) and sometimes I do badly (like in the last six months when the markets have been choppy). It’s risky and I only look at long term stuff.

Cash or card?


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

Coffee, fresh orange juice and a bagel for €7.50 in Ranelagh. It was good value because I’m lazy and I could get work done instead of having to go to the shops.

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

Never. I’ve been lucky enough to make some lump sums in my life, but I spend/reinvest them immediately.

Have you ever lost money?

I lost £800 once on Christmas Eve, which was my week’s wages and a bonus for Christmas. I was heartbroken as I was very young. My family made sure I had a good holiday, though.

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

I have done in the past. The biggest was €880 when I put a €10 bet on a correct scorer/correct score in a Liverpool game. There was a party that night.

Is money important to you?

I need it to do cool things like travel and make sure my friends, family and dogs are happy, but I couldn’t care less if I only had €50 in the world. You can always make more, and people set it as their main goal in life way too much. It’s only bits of paper and coins.

How much money do you have on you now?

About £4 sterling – I was in the UK yesterday – and €60.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea