Me & My Money: ‘I make a greater effort to buy Irish and local’

Seamus Leahy, Director of Marketing, Fota Collection

Seamus Leahy: “I am partial to a bit of haggling. Ask any of my suppliers!”

Seamus Leahy: “I am partial to a bit of haggling. Ask any of my suppliers!”


Are you a saver or a spender?
Unfortunately, I am a marketing person so I tend to be influenced by commercialism. That said, I do prefer one good item rather than four or five more affordable.

Do you shop around for better value?
My main goal is to find a supplier who I can trust and I am willing to pay a little extra when I feel they truly care about me as a person and not see me as just a dollar sign. Then again, I can be partial to a two-for-one deal in the supermarket.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost? 
I suppose the most extravagant purchase would be my golf clubs. I could perhaps claim it as a work expense – but I do love my Titleist AP2s. They really are a precious commodity in my book.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I really should return to golf for this, It’s my Ping Anser Putter.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
I am a bit of a technophobe in my personal life. I avoid social media so, although I don’t mind buying flights, hotels and such online, I struggle to convince myself to purchase products. I really enjoy a farmer’s market or our own wonderful English Market in Cork city, so definitely ‘local’.

Do you haggle over prices?
I am partial to a bit of haggling. Ask any of my suppliers! That said, I think some of them have become wise to me and go up to come down, so I think I might need to get a little tougher!

Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I haven’t changed that much but, since the recession, I make a greater effort to buy Irish and local, if at all possible. I believe that we can all help a little in this manner

Do you invest in shares?
I would have a very modest portfolio and really only dabble. But, true to form my investments can be risky propositions. When they hit, they’re great, but a few have not been so good.

Cash or card?
I like cash. If you asked my bank, I am sure they would say I like my card, too, but I think that may be my 17-year-old daughter exercising the plastic for me.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
Well, apart from a large investment in Match Attack Cards for my soccer obsessed son, the last significant spend would have been a lawnmower. And, yes, it was good value for money as it has reduced my workload in the garden.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
We bought a new house last year – well, an old house but new to us – and we saved a significant portion of this. That required significant discipline, and we are delighted with our new home. It is a little disconcerting, however, that lots of the endearing features outlined when we were planning to buy now need to be replaced or updated. Who knew!

Have you ever lost money?
I do tend to be lucky so, apart from having money stolen from me twice in my life, I haven’t lost significantly over the years. Unless, of course, what could be described as an ‘annual subscription to Paddy Power’ is counted as lost money rather than an entertainment investment.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I am partial to a small wager now and again. I do particularly well on golf. Last year, I was fortunate enough to win five weeks out of six on my weekly €20 investment. My return? I’m not sure I should tell, but let’s just say I don’t bet on the 5/1 favourites. 

Is money important to you?
It’s important so I can provide well for those I care about, and that I can make sure they are well looked after, but it is not my driving force. My passion for doing my job is my driving force. Don’t get me wrong, however. I will happily take a raise.

How much money do you have on you now?
I am sitting at work now, and opening my wallet I discover I have €190 in cash on me. Not so bad!  

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea