Me & My Money: designer Sonya Lennon

VHI Life Insurance ambassador aware ‘increasingly’ of providing for future

Are you a saver or a spender?

My dad worked in the bank, so the rule when I was growing up was always spend 50 per cent and save 50 per cent. For some reason, entrepreneurship seems to be the enemy of saving, although it’s not the best friend to spending either. This time next year, Rodney.

Do you shop around for better value?

I do. It’s important to make every penny go as far as it can. The odd time, though, a little luxury is required, and that’s okay.


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

I brought my partner David to Arzak in San Sebastián for his 40th birthday. It's consistently ranked in the top 20 restaurants in the world, but Irish Times readers already know that. It was a pretty expensive dinner, but it was worth it. The meal was extraordinary and we ended up drinking into the night and speaking kitchen French with the owners and Ricky Martin's producers.

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

Gosh, tricky one. On a cost-per-use basis, my 15-year-old yoga mat probably represents phenomenal value for money. Although it may be half the thickness it was when I bought it first, I’m running at about .015c per use to facilitate head space, me time and flexibility. Not a bad investment, eh?

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I love to support local shops, but I love the convenience of online shopping. That’s why we started, to support local boutiques and connect them with ecommerce to existing and new audiences. I hate the idea that a product would be available near me and I would choose to buy it in China to save a couple of quid.

Do you haggle over prices?

Hmm, do I? I do when it feels appropriate. I wouldn’t hustle a boutique or a pharmacy, but I’d hold my own with a builder or a lawyer.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Absolutely, it has redefined what wealth is for me. Also, as I’ve grown up a little bit, my sense of what’s important and valuable has changed.

Do you invest in shares?

In a small way as part of my pension.

Cash or card?

Normally, I’m a card girl.

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

I bought some summer clothes for the kids – and no, it wasn’t good value. They keep growing in spurts, and each round of purchases seems to last less and less time.

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

I saved for my 40th birthday party. I knew we were heading into recession and I didn’t want it to dent my celebrations. Probably foolish, but fantastic fun, and a night to remember. The guards called at about 4am and said: “That looks like a great party, it would be an awful shame to shut it down, just turn down the sounds a little, please.”

Have you ever lost money?

Not that I can remember, barring depreciation on my car, which is annoying.

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

I’m a rubbish gambler, so no interest.

Is money important to you?

Money is only important to me for the security it gives to my family and me. I’m increasingly aware of putting the building blocks in place to give me peace of mind for the future.

How much money do you have on you now?

I have €45 on me, which is about normal. I rarely carry more as I’m a card wielder in general.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea