Me & My Money: ‘It’s scary how much I’ve spent on my biggest indulgence’

Donnacha Neary, MD Sonica

Are you a saver or a spender?

As I’ve gained more financial stability in recent years, I have hands down become a spender, both on myself, but more so on others. My wife and I love entertaining family at home, so that’s become a source of great happiness for us – the ability to host and treat other people in our home or when out for special occasions. My round!

Do you shop around for better value?

I appreciate quality more so than value, so I’m happy to pay more for something when I know I’m getting a really good product or service.


What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?  

I’m a huge music fan and, since I was 13 years old, have accumulated a collection of electric and bass guitars, amplifiers and effects units that would rival U2! I know that’s not a single purchase, but collectively it’s scary how much I’ve spent on what is and continues to be my biggest indulgence.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

I bought a property in Portugal in 2018 that I absolutely adore and hopefully will never have to sell. Two years into owning it and I already feel like it owes me nothing – it will be the gift that keeps giving for years to come.

How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

My decision to open our new HQ in my home town of Skerries this year would absolutely speak to my belief in supporting local, from the sports teams, schools and organisations that do such amazing work with our kids to the local businesses that are the invisible glue that holds a town together.

Do you haggle over prices?

Although they love me, I’m afraid to admit that my wife and kids would regularly disown me when it comes time to me paying for anything if there’s a deal to be done!

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?

Working from home and having the kids at home meant there was no end to the amount of food that was being prepared and consumed daily. We’ve been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner together a lot over lockdown and the SuperValu home delivery team got to know us quite well over that period – it felt they were there almost every other day!

Do you invest in shares?

I stay well away from things I don’t know much about, and shares are top of that list. I have a really good circle of people in my network who regularly bring me investment opportunities, so that’s where my sweet spot is – new businesses start-ups being a favourite.

Cash or card?

Although I pay for mostly everything by contactless or Apple Pay, I hate not having cash on me. Not coins, always paper money and always folded.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

It’s the time of year when we’re refreshing all the kids extra-curricular activities before they go back to school, and ours are literally at everything. From music and dance to all the team sports they’re involved with – you cannot put a price on the value kids get from participating. Money well spent.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

My first car, my first house, my first (and only) engagement ring.

Have you ever lost money?

I’ve taken calculated risks on deals that have cost me in the short term, but have then gone on to recoup and make money for me down the line. I’m a big believer in building relationships, but sometimes you have to buy your way in to get a fruitful relationship kick started.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

The only thing I ever put money on are the Golf majors and the Ryder Cup. I paid for my first ever baby buggy when Team USA beat Team Europe in Valhalla in 2008. It was always going to be one sided, so I lumped early on the Yanks and got a nice pay day, and an even nicer Bugaboo.

Is money important to you?

The ability to help others around me because of it is not wasted on me. So yes, it’s very important to me.

How much money do you have on you now?

€260 in notes, folded.