‘I have a talent for justifying purchases’

Me & My Money: Louise Duffy, consultant, The Communications Clinic

Louise Duffy, consultant at The Communications Clinic: ‘Covid-19 has really awakened a love of local for me.’

Louise Duffy, consultant at The Communications Clinic: ‘Covid-19 has really awakened a love of local for me.’

 

Are you a saver or a spender? 
Adulthood and motherhood have knocked some degree of sense into me, but inherently, I am a spender. I also have a talent for justifying purchases – “they were on sale”, “I’ll wear it until I’m 90”, and now, “I’ll pass it on to my daughter”. My little girl stands to inherit all sorts of tat she will never want.

Do you shop around for better value? 
I always shop around. It forms part of that justification process. I can be quite thrifty in this way. More often than not, there will be someone somewhere offering a first-time discount or free delivery for an online purchase. For non-seasonal items, I’ll wait for a sale.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost? 
I recently bought a chest of drawers for our bedroom. They cost a little more than I’d like to admit, but – and here comes the justification – they have a beautiful bone inlay, which is so pretty the room doesn’t need another thing. And we’ll have them forever in any house we live in.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money? 
Our house was very good value when we bought it; we were quite lucky. Year by year we’ve made improvements and created a place we love.

How do you prefer to shop during the coronavirus restrictions – online or local? 
Although I try to buy local as much as possible, there has been a need for both local and online purchases during lockdown. So many shops are closed, so I’ve had to resort to Amazon for little things we’ve needed here and there. But Covid-19 has really awakened a love of local for me, and those necessary visits to my local shops have invoked a sense of community when we’ve been shut off from everyone else. I have definitely become more conscious of my shopping and I will maintain this after the restrictions are lifted.

Do you haggle over prices? 
I’ve been known to haggle, but it depends on the place or the purchase. I won’t pop into a High Street chain and start bartering with a part-time employee but, if I’m buying something big for my home, or booking a holiday, I’ll ask for the best price. It never hurts to ask.

How has the coronavirus crisis changed your spending habits
Covid-19 has definitely changed my spending habits. We’re not planning a summer holiday now or eating out, so I want to make our time at home a little more special. I’ve bought new furniture and playthings for the back garden, and I’m probably spending more money on food to make mealtimes a little more enjoyable.

Do you invest in shares? 
No.

Cash or card? 
Always card. I rarely carry cash, and certainly not now that so few places are accepting it.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money? 
The last thing I bought was a little playhouse and a couple of puzzles for my daughter from an online shop in Ennis. In total I spent about €70. We’re on lockdown, and I’m aware she would normally be playing with her little friends, so anything that brings her some fun is good value for money in my book.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase? 
Yes, our home.

Have you ever lost money? 
Not in any significant way that I can recall.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win? 
I’m not a gambler. A trip to Las Vegas many years ago taught me the hard way. I lost and it still hurts. The house always wins, and that’s a life lesson.

Is money important to you? 
In terms of things that really matter to me, money is a long way down the list. Money is only important in so far as it can provide comfort and security for my family. It also allows for charity, which is important to my husband and me.

How much money do you have on you now? 
Quite unusually, I have €176 in my wallet at the moment. I never have cash, as I said, but on the day lockdown restrictions were announced I ran to the bank and withdrew money just to be on the safe side.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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