Me & My Money: ‘I can’t stand the thought that I’m overpaying’
Laura Pollard, managing director of Perfect Property
Perfect Property MD Laura Pollard: “I fell into the trap of wanting a “nicer” car and ended up buying a BMW.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
At the core, I’m a saver but when there’s a good reason I can happily spend what I’ve saved, such as on a holiday or life experience.
Do you shop around for better value?
Absolutely! Anyone who knows me well knows that I will find the best value on anything from groceries to energy providers. I can’t stand the thought that I’m overpaying and will put in the time to make sure it’s the best value.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I fell into the trap of wanting a “nicer” car and ended up buying a BMW. It wasn’t too expensive because it was almost 10 years old. After never spending more than €1,500 on a car, however, it seemed extravagant and was not a great purchase!
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Anything I buy that lasts a lot longer than expected always makes me feel like I got excellent value for money. Growing up, my mum had a 17-year-old vacuum cleaner that worked like a charm, so she taught me well.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
It depends on what I’m buying. For fresh produce, I shop local in order to support community businesses, particularly farmers. For a bigger purchase, I will always price hunt online and go with the store that offers the best value.
Do you haggle over prices?
I have been known to push my luck on larger purchases, and often it pays off. If you don’t ask then you’ll never know.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I’ve always been quite frugal, but recessions certainly put that into perspective and make you even more conscious of every cent you’re spending.
Do you invest in shares?
Yes, I do. I find that, as a lower cost investment, they can be quite good. It’s just finding those companies about to take off that’s the challenge. I’ve also been burned by shares where they dropped off overnight, so I only ever test the water on companies that I’ve researched extensively.
Cash or card?
Card always, I never carry cash.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I bought a cordless vacuum (there’s a vacuum theme going on here unintentionally!), and it is fantastic. I’m not a natural cleaner by any means, but not dragging a big thing around and needing to find a new plug every two metres is liberating. Worth every cent.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
That would be purchasing my first property. It took blood, sweat, and tears to have enough of a deposit, but picking up the keys and opening the front door for the first time made it all worthwhile.
Have you ever lost money?
Unfortunately, not all investments are good investments. I learned this the hard way with my BMW and shares. The big loss was property investments, where area prices bottomed out, and you couldn’t give the house away.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
For all my frugality, I don’t mind the odd game of poker, although sadly there is no big win story to be told. I suppose I’ll have to keep practising!
Is money important to you?
Money is important, but it’s not everything. You want to be comfortable and not worry about paying the next bill or buying the next meal, but it shouldn’t become a senseless path to wealth accumulation at the expense of relationships and your happiness.
How much money do you have on you now?
It’s out with the old, and in with the new, so I pay via phone, watch or card. Cash currently on me? Zero.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea