‘I’ve always found it easier to convince the bank to lend me money than to save’

Me & My Money: Paul Foley, The Corkscrew Wine Merchants

Paul Foley, The Corkscrew Wine Merchants

Paul Foley, The Corkscrew Wine Merchants

 

Are you a saver or a spender?
Definitely a spender – the banks can vouch for this. I have attempted to save but have never been very successful. As a wine merchant, I would rely on my customers being the same way inclined. After all, wine is not a necessity.  

Do you shop around for better value?
The most important factor to me is service. I’m more likely to shop with the same people again and again if they look after me. Value matters, but it’s only value when it’s reflected in the quality of the product.
  

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
It may not be extravagant in the way you mean, but recently I promised my little girl I’d build her a playhouse in the garden. DIY is not my strong suit. I gave in and told her I’d buy one. I didn’t exactly come home with a small plastic thing. My wife says it’s like a small shed. I can’t recall off-hand what I said it cost at the time.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Our family home. We’d been renting it for 10 years and were given the opportunity to buy. We’ve a pretty big family and, if we’d had to find somewhere else in the area for all of us to rent, it would have been astronomical. So yes, it was one purchase we really consider to have been the best value for money.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Both, but I make a conscious effort to support independent retailers. It’s nice to feel you’re helping someone put food on the table as opposed to lining some very wealthy person’s pocket.

Do you haggle over prices?
It would depend on the circumstances, but yes, it’s the businessman in me. I’ve found that most places will give you a better price if you ask. There’s no harm in asking and being nice.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Yes, prior to the recession I viewed credit cards and overdrafts as “free money”, which I’d spend haphazardly, but unfortunately it all had to be paid back. I avoid credit cards and overdrafts now, but I still have no problem spending what I do have.

Do you invest in shares?
I did a very long time ago. I had shares in Anglo that I managed to sell near the top. It was down to luck, really, as we’d wanted to buy our first house at the time and needed capital. I wouldn’t have the balls to do it again. I prefer to invest in wine as that’s my area of expertise.

Cash or card?
Phone! One day a month it’s cash (pay day), the rest of the month it’s the reliable card in my wallet app on my phone. My card is too battered to use.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I’ve just returned from Beaune and purchased a barrel of wine at the Hospice auction – only time will tell. I’ve also spent a lot of money upgrading our website, and online sales are improving, so yes, it was good value for money.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
No, I’ve always found it easier to convince the bank to lend me the money. I find it easier to repay a loan than to save. I’d consider myself to be quite spontaneous and resourceful. If I really want something, I’ll get it without having to save.

Have you ever lost money?
We lost a lot of money back in 2009 when we sold our house to move back to Dublin. We’d bought in the boom and sold in the recession. Around the same time, I suffered a couple of bad debts in business, but I got paid, in the end.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
No, and after some of the stories my wife told me from her time in the business, I’d never go to bookies; there are no winners. I occasionally play cards with friends and we’d throw a few euro in to make it interesting, but that’s about it.

Is money important to you?
It pays the bills, keeps us warm and full, and allows us to do things, but that’s about it. I think we’d all like a little more, though.

How much money do you have on you now? 
My visa debit card and €43.

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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