‘Cash has almost been relegated to a memory at this point’
Me and My Money: Aaron Hannon, national director, F1 in Schools Ireland
Aaron Hannon: “I’m a little embarrassed to say that I rarely make a big purchase without an Excel sheet comparing prices and features.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
A saver for the most part but a known spender when it comes to Christmas presents. When it comes to monthly income I try to put away as much as I can while I can.
Do you shop around for better value?
Always – that’s the fun of it. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I rarely make a big purchase without an Excel sheet comparing prices and features. It wouldn’t feel right for me to make a purchase without reading reviews, comparing with similar products and looking at the delivery times and return conditions.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
In the midst of lockdown, my housemates and I switched house as our lease expired and we left our beloved smart TV behind. For our new home, I decided to splash out on a 49” JVC smart TV with Amazon Alexa voice control for €373.99, which is probably my most extravagant purchase to date.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I bought a second-hand, refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad T440s laptop two years ago for €650 to act as my work computer. Two years on, it continues to perform excellently and shows no signs of slowing down, despite installing heavy graphics, design and programming packages.
How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
I dabble in a bit of both. I try to use online shopping as a way of comparing all of my options, but enjoy collecting items in person for those purchase satisfaction endorphins.
Do you haggle over prices?
Out of all possible interactions with other people, haggling is the one I cannot bear and mostly refuse to do.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
I’ve started to put more value on buying quality ingredients and cooking well-rounded meals as I’m now eating at home for every meal. This is balanced out by not spending on coffees and vending machines at work. That’s a habit I’m very glad I’ve broken.
Do you invest in shares?
A minuscule amount. Although it’s an area I’m super interested in, it’s not something I can say I’m comfortable diving into. I’ve really enjoyed playing with the monthly commission-free trades on Revolut’s trading platform, however, making stock investments of less than €10 across some of the top US technology companies. It has been a great learning experience, with some extraordinary relative gains (hat-tip to Tesla and Beyond Meat) and similarly extraordinary relative losses (looking at you, Alibaba). The disadvantage of sticking within the free-trade limit is not being able to offload losing stocks in freefall, but it’s a small price to pay for a meaningful trading experience.
Cash or card?
Neither. I think I speak for a lot of people in their early 20s when I say that Google and Apple Pay has been a revolution. Cash has almost been relegated to a memory at this point and, for better or worse, I see physical cards being entirely replaced in the very near future.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I picked up an on-sale Amazon Echo Auto. I’m a big fan of the Echo Dot and really liked the idea of being able to ask for directions or request a song while on the move. Without having much reason to drive given the new lockdown restrictions, I’m hoping it proves worthwhile for the commutes home to Mayo when things restart again.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
My first car was a 1.0 litre Nissan Pixo that I bought for €3,100 on my 20th birthday. Including VRT and my first main driver car insurance policy, I parted with about €4,900. Despite being a car that nobody I subsequently met had ever heard of, I was really proud of my little Pixo.
Have you ever lost money?
I’m lucky to be able to say that I haven’t but I’ve definitely been close.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I make one bet per year and it’s always on the US Masters at Augusta. I’m not a huge golf fan but I’m completely fascinated by the Masters. Every year I make a €20 punt, usually spread across five each-way bets. I’ve picked up a bit of an eye for calling the contenders – Adam Scott and Bubba Watson were winners I backed, and Sergio Garcia’s first Major denied my 33/1 contender Justin Rose in 2016.
Is money important to you?
In my line of work, my ambition isn’t to make mountains of money. For me, it’s about doing everything I can to make an impact. I would much rather build something that reaches a thousand people than make €1,000 from one person.
How much money do you have on you now?
It’s usually zero but, as it was my birthday recently, I have €150. I’ve moved to a wallet without a coin pocket, so I rarely carry even a fiver these days. Cash is no longer king.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea