‘I saved enough to get the Trans Siberian railway to see my sister compete in the Beijing Olympics’
Me & My Money: Kieran Cuddihy, co-presenter on Newstalk Breakfast
Kieran Cuddihy: “ I often ask myself if everything went belly up tomorrow, how would we get by? I don’t think I ever wondered about that during the boom”
Are you a saver or a spender?
I’m a bit of both at the moment, but it wasn’t always that way. For a very long time, I wasn’t the best saver in the world. Looking back, I wish I had started saving much earlier, even a tiny amount each week. I have gotten much better since we started saving properly for a mortgage. Most of my spending is on my kids.
Do you shop around for better value?
When it comes to shopping on the high street or online, I’m quite good at it. I’ll go from shop to shop to get the best deal or I’ll take my time online to make sure to get the best value. Where I’m bad at shopping around is things like bills and health insurance. I tend to stick with a service once I sign up, even when deals expire.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Given that I’ve never bought a house, I suppose the most significant purchase I’ve ever made is a car, although I doubt too many people would call an Opel Insignia “extravagant”. So it probably has to be a pair of skis – I was living in Canada at the time, but it still counts!
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I do the occasional triathlon and, when I started getting into it about 12 years ago, I bought a bike. It wasn’t enormously expensive, but it was definitely more than I had ever spent on a bike before. It has a few scrapes and bumps (and a little bit of rust), but it’s still going strong. Plenty of people at events parade around their expensive bikes like prize peacocks, but I’m happy with my old reliable.
Shares are something I always dismissed as being for people with a lot more excess cash than I have
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
I definitely do more shopping online, certainly for significant purchases. It’s just so handy, especially around something like Christmas. Getting presents for our own kids and nieces and nephews can be done in one fell swoop on Amazon as opposed to traipsing from shop to shop.
Do you haggle over prices?
Never. Haggling makes my skin crawl. I’m sure some salespeople can spot me a mile away. They have a way of identifying the suckers who will always pay sticker price.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I was a trainee solicitor during the good times, so it wasn’t like I had a fortune in my bank account each month anyway, but I’m definitely more conscious of the need to have something set aside these days. I often ask myself if everything went belly up tomorrow, how would we get by? I don’t think I ever wondered about that during the boom.
Do you invest in shares?
I don’t. It’s something I always dismissed as being for people with a lot more excess cash than I have, although I’m sure there are ways to dip a toe in the water without breaking the bank.
Cash or card?
Card, always. In fact, I rarely have any money on me at all. All car park payment machines should be equipped for contactless payments these days.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
Shoe polish! I don’t think I had polished and shined a pair of shoes since I was in school but earlier this week I was inspired by a friend of mine to have a go. It gave my brogues a new lease of life – and it was strangely satisfying.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Saving for a mortgage deposit at the moment is easily the most significant thing we’ve done in this regard. Everything else pales in comparison. Discounting the deposit, I saved enough money back in 2008 to get the Trans Siberian railway across Russia and down into China to watch my sister compete in the Beijing Olympics. Worth every penny.
Have you ever lost money?
I’ve woken up after nights out with a load of shrapnel in my pockets and wondered where all my notes have gone, but I’m not sure if that counts. Luckily, I’ve never lost anything significant.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I’m an awful gambler. I don’t have the patience for it. I was in a betting syndicate with a few friends of mine and in the end, I had to buy myself out of it. I would wait until the last possible minute to make my selection and never put any thought into it. Needless to say, it didn’t lead to great results.
Is money important to you?
I love that Clare Boothe Luce quote: “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you’re being miserable.” It’s true that having more money won’t solve all your problems but anybody who says it doesn’t make a lot of things much easier is lying.
How much money do you have on you now?
Not a bean. Honestly. That’s not unusual, though. I could probably scrape together a few cents if I looked in the car.
Kieran Cuddihy co-presents Newstalk Breakfast, 7am to 9am, Monday to Friday
in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea