‘As an actor, I’m highly unlikely to ever be flush’

Me and My Money: Aoibheann McCaul, Fair City actor


Are you a saver or a spender?
I like to think a healthy mix of both. I choose to spend on holidays, concerts and experiences, things people regard as expensive. But for me they are memories that last a lifetime.

Do you shop around for better value?
Yes, absolutely, I don’t just spend on a whim. If I think something will decrease in price in a sale, I will wait it out. Also, I will wear items over and over. Last year, I wore the same dress to four weddings and one hen - I’m not into this wearing things once nonsense!

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
My car. It’s my pride and joy, my second home and it cost a few quid.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
A holiday to Tanzania and Zanzibar. I went on safari with my boyfriend a few years ago, and we were both apprehensive about spending the money. It was the best experience anyone could ever have, and it reaffirmed for me that it is all about investing in those life experiences.

How do you prefer to shop –online or local?
I love shopping in craft fairs and markets, where you are actually supporting the creator of the products. Whether it’s crafts or food, I like supporting entrepreneurs. I’m also fond of shopping online, especially when it comes to sales, because I don’t have the patience for rooting and queues.

Do you haggle over prices?
I would haggle online, but face-to-face is another story. I don’t have the courage. I usually leave it to people who are with me to haggle for me at markets, and watch on like a child.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?
The recession happened when I was just coming out of college, so I never had money as a result of the boom, nor a lack of it with the recession. As an actor, I’m highly unlikely to ever be flush. I may get paid well for a day’s work, but there is a chance I may not work again for months, so I have to be careful with my spending habits.

 Do you invest in shares?
No, I don’t know enough about them. My partner is an accountant, who is fond of an investment or two, so if there was a low-risk investment out there that could potentially return profitable, he would tell me about it and I would go for it.

Cash or card?
Debit card. However, with my bank I get hammered with charges if I go under a certain balance even for one day, which is easily done. For that quarter, I’d rather use cash and avoid those charges.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
Tickets to Say nothin’ to no one in Theatre Upstairs, Dublin – and yes, it was great value for money. I loved the show, I was entertained for the hour. That’s why I can’t wait for Dublin Fringe: there are so many really affordable great shows to see.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I had been working a fair amount and saving earnings when my car died. I bought a gorgeous used car, which I love, but it is also being treated as an investment. I got a good price on it, I know it will retain its value, and I will trade it in.

Have you ever lost money? Yes. When I was moving out of an apartment in America, I had hidden cash I had got for selling furniture etc but getting an early morning flight, I forgot to take it. 

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
No! The odd time I’ve placed a sports bet if I have a good tip from a reliable source, but I’ve never had a big win. To win big, you’ve to spend big and, realistically, at that point you’ve probably spent a lot, so really you’re just breaking even.

Is money important to you?
Unfortunately, yes, money is important to me. You need money for rent, bills, to be comfortable, and to be able to attend the millions of weddings I’m being invited to these days. I hate worrying about not being able to pay a bill, or meet a friend for lunch.

How much money do you have on you now?

Aoibheann McCaul’s new play, ‘From All Sides’, premiers at Smock Alley Theatre, September 12th-17th, and at Axis Ballymun, September 20th-22nd as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2017. fringefest.com