Me My Money: ‘I always had the habit of saving’

Noel Ebb, CEO Lynk Taxis


Are you a saver or a spender?  

I know a lot of people say this, but I’m both. I enjoy spending money on some things – old vinyl records, good coffee, eating out, scuba diving – but I always save as well, and I’d never dip into my savings. Savings are for investment. An old family value.

  Do you shop around for better value?

I wish I could say that I do, but I don’t. I am definitely a convenience shopper. Even online, I would choose a seller’s reputation for keeping their promise and quality over price. As enjoyable as I’m sure it is, I wouldn’t have the time or head space for shopping around to save a few quid.

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

‘Ever’ is a long time, but definitely the most extravagant personal purchase I have made in the last 10 years or so has been my hi-fi system. Honestly, I would be embarrassed to say how much it cost, but let’s just say it was a healthy five figures.

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

Definitely my 1992 Yamaha 850 TDM. I bought it in 1997 for a couple of grand and it owes me nothing! It had one previous owner who loved it as much as I do and it’s a beauty. Still good as new – like it’s straight out of the box.

  How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I much prefer to shop local. I shop online for some things but generally I enjoy the social aspect of shopping with family. It’s a “thing” I guess. Clothes stores for the women and books and technology stores for me. Pretty boring, some would say, but so long as it’s followed by good coffee and conversation I’m happy. 

Do you haggle over prices?

Actually, I do. Everywhere. Not for the savings. I’ve seldom gotten a discount worth writing home about, but for those satisfying moments when you get that little bonus – something that you want, for less.

  Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Not really, except for that strange period of deflation post-Celtic Tiger when I became conscious of the cost of simple things like bread rolls, an Indian takeaway, shirt cleaning. But I would say that not a lot has changed in the end. Take a snapshot of my spending habits in 2007 and take another one now and you would see a similar picture. 

  Do you invest in shares?

For fun. I don’t know a lot about stocks and shares, and generally I haven’t done all that well with them. But I like the game and that’s how I think about it. I don’t invest heavily and certainly I don’t take it seriously. But that’s just me – a lot of my colleagues and friends do take it seriously and some do very well.  

Cash or card?

It’s probably a generational thing, but I always carry pocket money for daily groceries and the like. I prefer cash, but for casual purchases I would use the card. 

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

My last significant purchase was an electric record cleaning machine. They can restore an old record to an amazing extent. So for me, yes, it was excellent value for money.

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

I always had the habit of saving, but the rule was that my savings were for investment not spending. Saving up for a purchase put quite a strain on your resolve as it meant creating a new saving fund while maintaining the old. The first time I achieved this was at the age of 16 when I saved up for my first motor bike, a Honda CB125N. A beautiful silver machine, and a very satisfying moment for me. 

Have you ever lost money?

I have made and lost fortunes! That’s a whole other story.

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

When I was in the racing game, the most memorable win I had – apart from trading wins – was on the Barry McGuigan v Steve Cruz fight in Las Vegas in 1986. To make it simple, Cruz was, say, five-to-one against McGuigan in Ireland and McGuigan was five-to-one against Cruz in Vegas. You didn’t have to be Einstein to figure that five-to-one each of two is equal to a certain five-to-two winner, provided you covered the draw. So that’s what I did. Not so easy nowadays with the globalisation of the betting industry.

  Is money important to you?

I think if you feel that ‘it’s all about the money’, then you’re missing out. There’s so much going on in business apart from the money. Money couldn’t possibly hold your interest for as long as it takes to build a business. There has to be more.

  How much money do you have on you now?

€120. Pocket money. I don’t need to carry a lot of money but it’s handy to have a little on you for who knows what.

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea