Are you a saver or a spender?
I’m both. If I see something that I like, and it doesn’t break the bank, then I buy it. I’m told I’m a nightmare to buy for birthdays and Christmas. Generally, over my whole working life, I like to have savings for comfort more than anything. I always clear down my credit card and only really use it for the security and guarantees that it gives you.
Do you shop around for better value?
It depends on the purchase. I’m an impulse buyer and not really a “shop around” person – unless it’s a car, and then I’m looking for a better spec along with better value.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I own a coat that cost €1,800. It fits like a glove, is one of my favourite items in my wardrobe and it’s worn regularly, so the cost per wear justifies it.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I’m no different than anyone else. I like a bargain and recently I bought a smart TV with Apple Play, Netflix and so on as standard features.
How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
I do both. If feel that it’s really important to support local businesses. It has meant that, as consumers, we have access to a much broader range of Irish products now. I believe there’s a new trend in shopping Irish.
Do you haggle over prices?
Not really. If I think something is overpriced, I just won’t buy it.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
Because we’re all working from home right now, there’s no socialising, and at the moment there really is very little I need other than grocery shopping.
Do you invest in shares?
I tried it three times. I lost money twice, so I’m resigned to the fact that I’m not too good at it.
Cash or card?
Card. I keep €200 in my pocket as back-up and mainly for requests for sponsorship or small purchases. I hate carrying change, so I have a jar at home – my nephews get to grab a fistful when they come over and then they head to the shops. There’s more enjoyment in seeing them spend it.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I recently bought a new car and I was very pleased with the deal I got.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, we put IR£10,000 on our first house. It took us two years working two jobs to manage it. It was a third of the purchase price of the house and it stood us in great stead for future years. I think that money paid off 10 times over as we changed up and the house values rose accordingly.
Have you ever lost money?
Not a lot, but I have misplaced my wallet a couple of times and lost its contents.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
No. I have two bets a year: the Masters, for which my sons and I pick three golfers; and the Grand National. Both are family traditions.
Is money important to you?
I think, pre-Covid, we were all more money focused and we’ve all been forced to sit down and take stock over the last year. Money is important to me, but it’s not my main priority.
How much money do you have on you now?
I’ve €120 in my wallet for when I head out to my meetings today.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea