Me & My Money: ‘I’ve always been reasonably careful with my money’
Chris Paul, CEO Avantcard
Chris Paul: “We’ve owned a number of homes over the years, and the money we’ve made buying and selling has been incredible.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
A bit of both. I wish I could save more, but with four children it feels like I’ve been haemorrhaging money for the last 18 years or so. The only thing that’s really changed over the years is what the money gets spent on. Unfortunately, I don’t see this situation changing anytime soon.
Do you shop around for better value?
Absolutely. I’m a bargain hunter at heart. I use price comparison websites and cashback sites on a regular basis, as it’s amazing how much you can save or earn with next to no effort.
What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost?
I collected high-end watches for a number of years. As a rule of thumb, I told my wife they cost 50 per cent of what I paid for them and, even then, she thought I was mad and was wasting our money. As it turns out, they’ve proven to be fantastic investments. Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of wearing them.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Property. We’ve owned a number of homes over the years, and the money we’ve made buying and selling has been incredible. We lived abroad for a number of years and rented out our home whilst we were away. We used the rental income to overpay on our mortgage meaning we’ll be mortgage-free a lot sooner than we’d originally contemplated.
What ways do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Predominantly online. That said, I hate to see the impact on our high streets so I try to support local businesses as much as possible.
Do you haggle over prices?
It depends. Never in a high street shop – that’s way too awkward and potentially embarrassing – but always in a market, fair, or car boot sale. It’s almost expected and negotiating a great deal is half the fun.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Not really. I’ve been incredibly lucky not to have been directly impacted by the recession in the form of losing my job. Also, I’ve always been reasonably careful with my money, so didn’t really have to make too many changes.
Do you invest in shares?
Not directly. I’ve benefited from a number of share schemes at various companies I’ve worked for in the past. I’ve made sure to hold onto these even when I’ve left the business in question, and also to always take dividends in the form of shares rather than cash. It’s amazing how these various portfolios can grow over time.
Cash or card?
Card of course! Particularly contactless, which I’m a massive fan of. That said, I always have a bit of cash on me just in case.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
Another load of overpriced gym gear, none of which I really needed, so not good value for money at all.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
No. I just don’t have the patience or self-control to save over a period of time. Any large ticket item I’ve ever purchased has inevitably been bought on finance, either by card, loan or overdraft. That said, I’ve always been good at paying back whatever I’ve borrowed as quickly as possible to reduce any interest cost.
Have you ever lost money?
It depends what you mean! I’ve never lost my wallet or anything like that, but I did have a property in London that I sold, thinking it couldn’t possibly go up in price any more. How wrong I was about that. I didn’t lose money and still made a nice profit, but nothing like I’d have made if I’d held onto it for a while longer.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
No, I’m not. I work way too hard for my money to fritter it away with, in any likelihood, nothing to show at the end of it.
Is money important to you?
Yes, but only as the means to an end. In other words, only to the extent it can make you happy and improve your quality of life.
How much money do you have on you now?
About €80 and £50.