Me & My Money: Aonghus McAnally, performer and RTÉ presenter

‘Getting on the property ladder at a young age was a great achievement’

Aonghus McAnally: “I don’t tend to spend much on myself and only really shop when I need something.”

Aonghus McAnally: “I don’t tend to spend much on myself and only really shop when I need something.”


Are you a saver or a spender?

A healthy mixture of both. I grew up in a freelance household where there was great respect for money. My grandfather was a bank manager in Moville in Donegal so I had the best of both approaches.

Do you shop around for better value?

I don’t tend to spend much on myself and only really shop when I need something. I will check the general price of an item so that I am well informed, but can’t imagine driving 20 miles to save €5.

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

If it is something to do with work, I find it easier to justify. I recently purchased the best effects unit ever made for guitar – the Helix by Line 6. It is simply stunning. Including a flight case, it cost me €1,500, but worth every cent.

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

Looking back on it now, our first house – even though the interest rate reached 17 per cent at one stage. It was tough on occasions, but getting on the property ladder at a young age was a great achievement that gave us great security over the years.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I do a mixture of both depending on what I am buying. I like to support the local businesses – restaurants, etc, – but for some major items I have used online companies.

Do you haggle over prices?

I absolutely hate the idea of haggling and cannot engage in the practice! Firstly I don’t enjoy it, and secondly, I feel that you would never know when you had reached the best value. I know a friend who would spend an hour walking away and coming back to argue over €20 on the price of a car. He loves the buzz of seeing how far he can push it.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I think it has changed everyone’s spending habits. It does make you prioritise your spending and ensure that important bills are always paid. I find that I am much more aware now of what everything costs and whether something is good value or not.

Do you invest in shares?

I think it is a mug’s game unless you are either very well informed or have a natural aptitude for playing the markets. I would be terrified to have a portfolio of shares.

Cash or card?

Mostly card now for a variety of reasons. Better security, better accounting records and with the advent of good internet banking, I find it so much easier to be paperless where possible.

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

The Helix pedal board for the guitar was the last thing I bought and it is exceptionally good value for what it does. I actually hate shopping – so much so that my wife will occasionally arrive home with shoes or a pair of trousers for me lamenting the fact I won’t go out and get them!

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

I did save for several years to get a deposit on our first house and I was very focused on the task. I had begun saving when I was single and didn’t even know at the time that I would meet my wife to be. She was very impressed that I was already making provisions to get on the property ladder. She had been doing the same thing.

Have you ever lost money?

Not really as I don’t have shares or investments that might fluctuate in the market.

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

The most I would get involved in would be an occasionally flutter on the Lottery. That said, I won €1,000 in the RTÉ Credit Union draw about 18 months ago.

Is money important to you?

Not really. I work hard and don’t drink or smoke, and I have always tried to ensure that as I got older the financial stresses would diminish by virtue of keeping a good eye on the balance of income versus expenditure. Having said that, I have certainly, on occasions, given hunger a bust and worried about paying for it afterwards.

How much money do you have on you now?

Very little as I prefer to use the ATM when needed. What is the point in carrying a security risk around in your back pocket?

Aonghus McAnally’s Celebrating Christie Hennessy – The Platinum Collection takes place at Dublin’s National Concert Hall on January 24th.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea