‘I wouldn’t be a big saver. I tend to buy now and repent at leisure!’

Eunice Power, executive head chef at the private members clubs at 3Arena

Executive head chef at the private members clubs at 3Arena Eunice Power: ‘I am an eternal optimist, so I do the lotto frequently with a work colleague.’ Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Executive head chef at the private members clubs at 3Arena Eunice Power: ‘I am an eternal optimist, so I do the lotto frequently with a work colleague.’ Photograph: Naoise Culhane

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

I was definitely born a spender. However, I have become more of a saver of late: there is always room for improvement, though.

Do you shop around for better value?

I shop around for better value when it comes to my work, though I never compromise on quality. For personal shopping, I am generally last-minute, so I don’t really get an opportunity to shop around and compare prices or what’s on offer. That’s one of the sacrifices of being time-poor.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

My Aga, which I bought five years ago. I had grown up in a house where an Aga was part of daily life and it was almost a family member. It was always something I dreamt of having in my own home and, in 2015, I finally splurged €10,000 on a reconditioned one. I have never regretted it: it is the centre of our home. Apart from cooking, baking and drying clothes, it brings such warmth and comfort to the kitchen.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

I bought a pair of fur-lined Birkenstocks, which I absolutely love. I wear them all the time, much to my children’s embarrassment. They cost me €120 and were worth every cent as I feel like I am walking on air – this out of the mouth of a 50-year-old chef whose feet take a bit of a battering!

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I really like to keep as much of my spending as possible local. I will always try to source locally before looking elsewhere. I am privileged living in Co Waterford where I have access to beautiful ingredients – be it vegetables from Ballinacourty and Ardmore, sourdough from Seagull Bakery in Tramore, Comeragh Mountail lamb, Keily’s eggs in Modeligo, and blaas from Barrons, to name but a few.

Do you haggle over prices?

When it comes to haggling, I choose my battles, especially when buying big-ticket items like a car or a van. I acquired the subtle skill of negotiating prices from my father, from whom I learned that if you enter into negotiations, you must always be prepared to walk away. I had great fun recently haggling in Marrakech, where the traders have made haggling a good-humoured art form.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Not really, as my spending is, generally, relatively intelligent. I try to cut my cloth according to measure. The recession certainly made me more conscious of getting value for money. To be fair, I didn’t really experience the dizzy heights of the Celtic Tiger years. I had a young family, was setting up my own business, and I was just getting on my feet when the recession hit.

Do you invest in shares?

No, I don’t.

Cash or card?

Card. I hardly ever have cash on me.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I just bought a Mass card. I’ll report back when I’m on the other side to see if it made any difference.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

No, I haven’t. I wouldn’t be a big saver. I tend to buy now and repent at leisure!

Have you ever lost money?

Of course, I have. Let’s just say if something seems too good to be true then it generally is.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

I am an eternal optimist, so I do the lotto frequently with a work colleague. We won €1,008 each before Christmas – that was a lovely surprise.

Is money important to you?

Money is a means to an end for me. I would like to have the security of money in a bank account, but that’s not always the case.

How much money do you have on you now?

As I’ve said, I hardly ever carry cash, but I see that I have €32.50 in my purse. I’ll have to find a way to get rid of it quickly!

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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