Me & My Money: ‘I tend to have a value-focused approach to purchasing’
Sara Cosgrove, managing director of Sara Cosgrove Design, saracosgrove.com
Sara Cosgrove: “I prefer cash for sure, but always end up using my card out of convenience.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
I love to save, but I love to spend, too. I don’t tend to buy a lot. I look at everything from kettles, to clothes to furniture as a long-term investment. Throwaway items don’t interest me, I like things to stand the test of time.
Do you shop around for better value?
If there is something that I must have, or I need something quickly and I feel the price is right, I will just pay for it. If I feel the pricing is wrong or I have more time to decide, I will shop around for comparable quotes.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Probably my dog, Buckley. We bought him for €400 from a kennel club registered breeder. He has, however, during the past few years managed to chew through hundreds of euros worth of our clothes, toys, and furniture, etc. He is a nightmare, but we love him.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I tend to have a value-focused approach to purchasing, so feel lots of things I have purchased have stood the test of time and owe me nothing. But if I had to pick one, it would be our house. Once we managed to get on “the ladder”, it made so much more sense to be paying off an asset rather than spending that money on rent.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
I am a local shopper for sure, I like to touch and feel things. As I said, I don’t buy a lot, but when I do I like to be immersed in the experience. Working at Harrods gave me an incredible respect for the physical retail experience and how it can make people feel. I have never really got into online shopping. I try to do our household shopping every so often online, but I always am annoyed when we get food with perishable dates that I could have ferreted out longer life items if I had been in the store. Either that or they deliver the wrong items. It is convenient, but it can also be a hassle.
Do you haggle over prices?
If I feel a price is fair, I will pay it. However, if I feel there is an edge, or I can get a better deal, I will, especially in a work environment when we are placing large orders. I will always push for the best price for our clients but try to make sure it is a win for the supplier, too. At the end of the day, we are all trying to make a living and get on.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I was in London for the recession and rarely travelled home during that period. Through my close family and friends, however, I saw the impact and, often, devastation the recession brought to people and families. It made me appreciate how fortunes can change almost overnight. By nature, I can be impulsive, but my overarching characteristic would be prudence. I like to have savings and plan when I can. Although with a new business and young family, it can be tougher to save than I would like.
Do you invest in shares?
I have a pension that is invested in a range of shares.
Cash or card?
I prefer cash for sure, but always end up using my card out of convenience. I think using cash makes you much more mindful as to how you spend.
What was the last thing you bought and was it excellent value for money?
I haven’t bought much in the last year, but we recently had to redo all the drainage in our house. It was an unexpected project and was painful from a financial point to do, but I know in the long term the work was well done and well-priced. Excellent value as a result.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
For sure, my car, my house deposit, the building works at the house, and to set up my business. As much as it can be frustrating, delayed gratification when it comes to purchases or lifestyle gives you a real sense of achievement and value when you do get there.
Have you ever lost money?
Yes, when I haven’t read the fine print or haven’t got into sufficient detail when making an initial purchase. I bought my first car on hire purchase. It was a mistake, but I am glad I learned the lesson.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I have had the odd flutter and day out to the races, but have no interest in gambling. Playing the lotto the odd time is as far as I go.
Is money important to you?
Yes, I believe money is energy and enables you to live a full life. Creating financial security for my family is something I focus on. In saying this, I don’t let it rule all my decisions. I try to look at every opportunity from a 360-degree point of view.
How much money do you have on you now?
About €5 in coins and £22 sterling.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea