Me & My Money: ‘I wouldn’t know where to start with online shopping’
Michael Lyster, Irish Heart Foundation ambassador
Michael Lyster says that given the health challenges he has had in recent years – being diagnosed with heart failure in 2012 and a cardiac arrest in 2015 – has put his life in perspective. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan
Are you a saver or a spender?
I’m neither one nor the other. When it comes to money, balance is important, and we have always tried to live that way.
Do you shop around for better value?
I am not a fan of shopping, so the fewer shops I have to visit, the better. If I think something is reasonable, I’ll go for it.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I don’t count our house or a car as extravagances, as those are things you need. I’d have to go back to my early 20s, really, to think of an extravagance. I remember that I bought myself a really high-quality hi-fi system. I was always really into music, so my early pay cheques would have gone towards that.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Probably our house. It was very good value at the time. We were quite lucky – I think we were in the right place at the right time. We could see the potential in it for an extension and so on, and we have made the most of it down through the years. So we really hit the right note with that purchase.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Local, for sure. I have no interest in online shopping – I wouldn’t know where to start.
Do you haggle over prices?
Generally, no, I don’t. I look at something and I evaluate whether it is worth buying, and do I want or need it? If I can say yes to those questions and my gut tells me it’s a good purchase, then I will go for it. The less time in a shop, the happier I am!
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Of course it did. Everyone had to make changes and adapt.
Do you invest in shares?
I have zero interest in that whole world. And if you don’t know that world, you are better off staying out of it.
Cash or card?
I am definitely a cash person. Card is obviously very important these days and it’s really handy, but I prefer to have cash on me. I think it makes it easier to keep track of spending that way.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
A torch to keep in the glove compartment of my car. It was €6, so yes, good value. It’s a handy thing to have in the car if I break down in the wilds of Connemara coming home from a match some evening.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Apart from the obvious examples of a house or a car, I have never really had the ambition to save up for a crazy expensive purchase. I don’t have a yacht or Ferrari in the driveway.
Have you ever lost money?
No, apart from the odd €20 note falling out of my pocket. I have a clean record in that regard.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I don’t see the appeal of gambling. I go to the Galway Races and Punchestown annually but I am there to have the craic and the chats with my friends, not to gamble.
Is money important to you?
As a society, we need money to function, and all you ever want for your family is to be comfortable, but the ambition to have crazy amounts of money? That has never been for me. Given the health challenges I have had in recent years [being diagnosed with heart failure in 2012 and a cardiac arrest in 2015], that really puts your life in perspective. That’s why I am so proud and motivated to work with the Irish Heart Foundation to raise awareness of heart failure. Your health is your wealth – a cliche, I know, but it’s true.
How much money do you have on you now?
I have €330. I told you, I am a cash over card person!
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea
As part of IHF’s Don’t Ignore the Signs of Heart Failure campaign, a series of free information evenings will take place across Ireland. For more details, visit KnowYourHeart.ie