‘Anyone who says money isn’t important is in denial’

Me & My Money: Suzanne Parker, Parker Law Solicitors

Are you a saver or a spender?
A bit of both, actually. I have always been quite good at saving. My nanny opened a credit union account for me when I was young and I used to sell my dad scrap change for notes. I always made a profit. However, I'm just as proficient at spending it – a quick glance at my Amazon account could tell you that.

Do you shop around for better value?
It depends on what I am buying. I don't rush into larger purchases. I usually check what I am looking for on a couple of websites to confirm what is the best value.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I'm not one to squander money on exorbitant handbags or shoes. My wedding has to be the most excessive amount of money I have ever spent. I wanted to have everyone special to me there and it all adds up. I can't divulge the total cost, simply because I still haven't told my husband and probably never will.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Everything I buy I consider the best value for money at the time but hindsight is 20/20. I bought sun-loungers during the summer, and for the two days of sunshine they saw I thought I had struck gold. Now my shed is bursting at the seams with my other great ideas for the garden – patio furniture, a barbecue, etc. All great purchases on the day. More recently, some black face masks from a local business are the best value.


How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
During the restrictions, it was difficult to find many things locally so there was no option but to buy online. The things I shopped for during Covid were a little different from my normal shopping.

I was spending more time in the house so I was buying paint and noticing every bulb that needed changing. I bought a lot of computer equipment and printers to set up everyone to work from home.

Do you haggle over prices?
I've never really been very comfortable arguing over money. Even when it comes to car insurance, I trust my broker to do the best he can for me, but I'm confident the price being offered is the best available.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
Cooking at home and arriving home from work earlier has changed a lot of my habits. I'm buying more local groceries and food. I have stopped spending money on nights out with friends, which I miss.

Do you invest in shares?
No. When I first began working in a solicitor's office, it was the beginning of the recession. Share prices had dropped substantially and in some cases were worthless. I remember completing so many CGT computations for losses on shares in probate cases. This has left a lasting effect on me, and I have never thought about investing in shares since.

Cash or card?
A little of both at the moment. I never like only using a card as it seems like fictional money and I end up spending more with a tap mentality. I have also been shopping and delivering groceries for my parents, my uncle, my grandmother in Dunmore East, and a few neighbours, and they are paying me in cash while I keep paying with a card. Every week I end up lodging the cash into my account.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
My last splurge was at the pet shop. My family's two Samoyeds passed away recently and we adopted a seven-year-old rescue dog named Sasha. We decided she needed all of her own toys, new bed and leads, and she loves them. She was the best value for money and has brought life to the family. It was good to support Cara Rescue Centre, too, and you can see the great work they are doing around the country.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Before returning to Waterford to open my business, I lived and worked in Dublin for eight years. During this time my husband and I saved up a considerable amount of money for the deposit on our home. Moving back to Waterford was one of the best decisions we made and having our own home is security for our future.

Have you ever lost money?
I don't think so. I'm still wrangling with airlines over cancelled flights, so hopefully those won't be lost. All the tickets I had for concerts and festivals this year have been transferred to next year, so touch wood those won't be lost, either.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
Apart from the odd flutter on the Grand National, I definitely couldn't be considered a gambler. That said, I did win a car through the credit union members' monthly car draw in 2015. That was a nice win.

Is money important to you?
Money is important to everyone, and anyone who says that it isn't important is in denial. At the moment, all income I am making is being reinvested into my business and I am currently living on the goodwill of my husband, who has been very supportive.

How much money do you have on you now?
In my purse at the moment is €392.86. Today was newspaper and shopping delivery day. I will be making a lodgment soon.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea