‘It’s not about beating the life out of a price for the sake of it’

Me & My Money: Paul Jacob, managing director and chief executive, Smart Storage

Paul Jacob of Smart Storage

Paul Jacob of Smart Storage

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

I think I am reasonably balanced on spending and savings. I have always had my rainy day fund, but it’s probably only enough for a light summer shower at this stage.

Do you shop around for better value?

I shop around for value, but not for the cheapest. I think sometimes value and cheap are mistaken and mixed up. If I think something is reasonable and of value, I will purchase it.

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

I suppose if extravagant is something your wife looks at you and asks, “Why did you buy that?”, then my most extravagant purchase would be a painting, Hollywood Hitman, by the artist Rasher. I bought it in 2011 for €2,500 and it hangs proudly in our kitchen. It still makes me smile when I look at it.

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

I have two: firstly, my family home. We still live in the first family home we purchased in 1997. The second answer is education, for both my kids and also for myself. Last year I went back to Trinity College as a mature student to study contract law. I absolutely loved the challenge, the mix of people and the buzz of being out of your comfort zone again.

How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

I use both. We live in Greystones and are lucky that we have some beautiful local businesses we always try and support. I also love the ease of online shopping. I think it is interesting how the pandemic has forced businesses to adapt and come up with new ways of supplying their services, particularly restaurants and cafes. Some of these new services will stay with businesses long after Covid-19 is gone.

Do you haggle over prices?

I haggle in the markets in Marrakesh, but very, very badly. I don’t really haggle when shopping local. If it’s a fair price and if I need it, then I am happy to pay the price. I feel all transactions should be a win-win situation. That way everyone is happy, it’s not about beating the life out of a price for the sake of it.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?

I bought a lot of hand sanitiser in the early days – probably a bit too much. I also realised how much I spent on eating out and how much I missed it. I am looking forward to having a social life again.

Do you invest in shares?

In the past I have invested in shares from time to time. Probably not some of my better ideas, so now I tend to stick to what I’m good at and leave that to the professionals.

Cash or card?

I have always been a card person and rarely carry cash. I love the freedom of tap and go.

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

The last thing I bought was a takeaway coffee from Fat Fox in Delgany for €3, and yes, I think it was value for money. It’s my early morning ritual on the way to work.

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

Yes, when we purchased our first house in 1997. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to afford the mortgage on it that I saved the mortgage every month for the year before we got the keys to make sure I could actually afford to do it, while still paying rent on my apartment in Dublin.

It turned out we could afford it and the year of saving before getting the keys helped furnish the house for us.

Have you ever lost money?

Oh God, yes. But it’s one of those things you have to move on from as quickly as possible and not dwell on. Learn from your mistakes and focus on the positives. It helps to ease the pain.

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

I am not a big gambler. When I was a student over 30 years ago, I worked as a barman for the De Bromhead family in Waterford, so whenever trainer Henry De Bromhead has a horse running I will put €10 on him just for old time’s sake. He always does well for me, but that’s the extent of my gambling.

Is money important to you?

I don’t rate it. I run my own business out of a love of being involved in the business. I am not frightened of hard work or sacrifices when required, so I know I have the ability to earn money when I need it.

How much money do you have on you now?

Right now, I have nothing except cards on me – I’m a card man all the way.

In conversation with tony Clayton-Lea

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