Me & My Money: ‘Sheet music is probably my biggest expense’

Clarinetist and composer Christopher Moriarty

Clarinetist and composer Christopher Moriarty: “As long as I have money coming in and no one is chasing me for it, I couldn’t care less if I had a minus figure in the bank account”

Clarinetist and composer Christopher Moriarty: “As long as I have money coming in and no one is chasing me for it, I couldn’t care less if I had a minus figure in the bank account”

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

I think of myself as a saver and a cautious spender. When I was about five or six years old, my mother brought me to the local credit union to open my savings account. I think that first day I was given 50p to put into my account, and I’m still using it to this day. Saving was always a habit for me, and it’s something I’ve relied on heavily as an adult making a career as a freelancing musician.

Do you shop around for better value?

I do mostly, but I would rather buy once than buy cheap and twice. Sheet music is probably my biggest expense – good editions are expensive, but a completely justifiable expenditure as a musician. For travel, though, Skyscanner is my best friend; I have no problem with layovers and things if I know I can get to where I need to go on the cheap.

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

Aside from my two clarinets, I think the most extravagant purchase would be my MacBook. At the time, I spent about €1,800 on it and it was a push, but I knew that I would be using it every single day between composition, teaching, and freelancing. I’m glad I did, as five years on it’s still going strong.

No bank would want to touch me, or indeed anyone in my position

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

My Fiat Punto Grande. Learning to drive and owning my own car has opened up a world of work for me. Without it, a lot of what I do would be impossible, unfortunately. Second hand, but doing me grand.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

Online mostly. I find it’s far more convenient (and cheaper). I simply don’t have time to take a day off during the week and get what I need. That being said, nowadays I do my best to shop in charity shops for clothes. I feel there is a huge waste when it comes to buying clothes, mostly stuff we simply don’t need. This would be the only time I would shop locally.

Do you haggle over prices?

I have only once or twice while travelling. If I’m honest, I’m not very good at it, as I usually end up paying close to the asking price.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Like many people my age, 24, I’m still living at home. With the current rent in and around Dublin, I’m unable to afford to move out and rent. Not for lack of trying: I’m currently working four jobs, and keeping a career as a performing musician and composer afloat. It is simply a different world than 20 or even 10 years ago. The idea of working towards owning my own home is an impossibility at this stage. No bank would want to touch me, or indeed anyone in my position.

Do you invest in shares?

I would love to, but I’m thinking smaller scale for now; maybe move out of home and get some savings together.

Cash or card?

Card.

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

Probably a subscription to Scribd. It’s an online library of thousands of scores and sheet music, and is very handy to have as a musician when you’re looking for something last minute.

I don’t think of myself as a gambler. Can’t say I’m into it

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

Yes, my Bb clarinet, which I bought last September. I had just graduated college and was in dire need of a new instrument, moving into the world of freelancing. It was expensive but a completely necessary purchase.

Have you ever lost money?

Thankfully not. Nor (not to jinx it) have I lost my wallet on holidays or a night out.

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

I don’t think of myself as a gambler. Can’t say I’m into it.

Is money important to you?

Not at all. In fact, I wish I didn’t have to think about it. As long as I have money coming in and no one is chasing me for it, I couldn’t care less if I had a minus figure in the bank account.

How much money do you have on you now?

€23.43 – in change!

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea