‘If you are just looking for money it is meaningless’
Me and My Money: Happy Food at Home owner Ciara Brennan
Happy Food at Home owner Ciara Brennan: “Once you have a purpose and you work hard to make it a reality, the purpose becomes bigger than money.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
A bit of both. I like to reinvest in my business and am quicker to do that even if I am taking a risk than spending personally.
Do you shop around for better value?
Generally. I know the difference in most products in supermarkets. However, personally I like to save time so if items are a little more expensive I balance what I save on time.
What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost?
My car back in 2000. I bought a Golf cabriolet 2l, it cost £20,000. I was living in Jersey at the time, but I sold it on when I returned to Ireland to buy a house.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
My house. I bought just at peak of the boom, but I got a tracker mortgage. Also my car – it’s a 1.2l Seat that has taken a huge beating yet has never let me down. The cost of running it is great, and it does the job of a 2l car.
What ways do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Supporting local business is important to the economy and to our survival as a community, so as a small business owner I like to do this. The only thing I might buy online is clothes to save time – I hate shopping for clothes.
Do you haggle over prices?
All the time. I bought a dishwasher recently, and told them I would give them cash for a discount. I bought two paintings the other day – one cost €60 and the other €80. I offered €100 for the two, we haggled, and I got them for €110. Before I get into a taxi, I always ask and then agree a price.
Did the recession change your spending habits?
Yes, it ensured I don’t get into debt any more. Before, a holiday was always going to happen whether I had money or not – I would not think twice about taking out a small loan from a credit union. Now I go on holiday only if I have money. I used to take a loan out for Christmas, too. Now I start saving earlier in the year and only spend what I have. I have completely changed my way of thinking.
Do you invest in shares?
No, I don’t have a huge interest in it. Should I?
Cash or card?
Both, but only debit as I don’t have a Visa. I got rid of the cards years ago, and in fact I am still paying one back. I use only debit cards and cash now.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
A gazebo for my business, and it was brilliant value. I got it through another business that gets a 25 per cent discount because they buy in bulk.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
My house. I sold my car to pay the deposit of €8,000 to the auctioneers. I now save all the time for things instead of getting credit.
Have you ever lost money?
Yes, in business I have spent money and the projects did not materialise. I look at them more as lessons and trial and errors.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
It is not something I’m interested in. That said, I have and do play the Lotto. On the day I was moving into my new house I got five numbers and won €2,500, so I bought beds and a big dining-room table.
Is money important to you?
Yes, to survive and get to the next level, but it does not solely drive me. I find that if you are just looking for money it is meaningless. I have spent the majority of my life looking for a purpose and understanding why I am here. Once you have a purpose and you work hard to make it a reality, the purpose becomes bigger than money.
How much money do you have on you now?
I have €500 in my wallet.