‘I’m so used to driving a jalopy that I now think it’s fancy to have electric windows’

Me & My Money: Kathriona Devereux, broadcaster and Pfizer Health & Science Index 2019 ambassador

Kathriona Devereux: ‘I try to be an ethical consumer and think environmentally by not buying unnecessary stuff’

Kathriona Devereux: ‘I try to be an ethical consumer and think environmentally by not buying unnecessary stuff’

 

Are you a saver or a spender?
I’m a saver. I used to be a spender in my 20s, but the responsibilities of mortgages and babies put a curb on my shoe-buying sprees! 

Do you shop around for better value?
I do, and I switch providers regularly when it comes to utilities and bills, but not so much when it comes to other things. I try to be an ethical consumer and think environmentally by not buying unnecessary “stuff”, so if I see something I need and it’s a reasonable price and good quality, I don’t agonise over the price.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Until last year, I was driving a 16-year-old VW Polo car that inexplicably kept passing the NCT. It rarely let us down despite looking like a wreck, but eventually we couldn’t fit car seats and all the child accoutrements so we bought a “new” estate car that cost €10,000. I’m so used to driving a jalopy that I now think it’s fancy to have electric windows.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I bought my wedding dress for about €250 from a vintage shop on Clarendon Street in Dublin called A Store Is Born, and I spent the same again getting a dressmaker to re-purpose it for me. I was pretty happy with my one-of-a-kind, and reasonable, dress on the day. 

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
I went through a phase of buying lots of things online – especially when my kids were babies and I didn’t have much time to escape the house. I found I spent as much time trying to return the online purchases, so now I try to buy local. 

Do you haggle over prices?
Not really. There aren’t many opportunities to haggle these days, and I’m useless at it on holidays. 

Has the recession changed your spending habits?
The recession taught me to tighten my belt and not fritter my money away. There is bound to be a recession sometime in the future, so I try to be sensible about spending and to have savings for the rainy day.  

Do you invest in shares?
I wouldn’t know where to start. I have savings in the State Savings scheme, and that’s about the nearest I’ve got to making an investment. 

Cash or card?
Both. I hate being caught out without cash, so I always have a little of it on me. 

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I bought a large Americano for €3.20 in a Cork café called Alchemy. It was very good value because it means I’ll be functional, productive and nice to other people for the day. 

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Our house was a big purchase, so saving for that was an achievement. My husband and I are both self-employed and are used to saving in case work dries up for a while, so it wasn’t a great change of mindset to save for a mortgage. 

I went to Las Vegas once and watched a wealthy old lady lose thousands of dollars on a roulette table at the Bellagio Hotel

Have you ever lost money?
I once lost a card and envelope of cash that was a wedding gift for friends. It just disappeared over a fun-filled wedding day. Very annoying. I learned a lesson and only ever write cheques as wedding gifts now.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I’m the opposite of a gambler. I hate losing money and don’t think the buzz of winning outweighs the disappointment of losing. I went to Las Vegas once and watched a wealthy old lady lose thousands of dollars on a roulette table at the Bellagio Hotel. I was mesmerised by her, but losing like that just doesn’t look like fun to me. 

Is money important to you?
It’s important in that you need some to be able to do things, but I’m not driven to have lots of it. You can’t take it with you in the end.

How much money do you have on you now?

€11.57 and a Leap card – the world’s my oyster! 

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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