Me & My Money: Sinead McCann, car tester and video producer, CarsIreland.ie
‘I just booked a two-week honeymoon to Cuba in a five-star resort. That’s extravagant’
Sinead McCann: ‘I can save hard and fast when I really have to’
Are you a saver or a spender?
I am definitely more of a spender by nature. I can save hard and fast when I really have to, like when I had to come up with a deposit for a house or needed a new car. It seems there has to be a strong motivation.
Do you shop around for better value?
Sometimes. Other times I am a sucker for convenience. I keep an eye out for good fuel prices and try to avoid the most convenient stations that charge the most. It’s an easy way to save a few euro.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I was about to say I don’t really do extravagance, but then I remembered I just booked a two-week honeymoon to Cuba in a five-star resort. That’s pretty extravagant, as I was reminded by my parents last night. They went to Donegal for theirs. Most of my big spends have been on travel.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I had laser eye surgery a few years ago. It cost about €1,800 at the time and it’s the best money I’ve ever spent. It’s something I appreciate every day.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
You can do both at the same time. I love little handmade craft stores that sell their wares online. The likes of Facebook and Instagram pages can be great tools for a small business. I try to support Irish business where I can.
Do you haggle over prices?
It depends on the time and the place. Sometimes you have to, like when you’re buying a car. It’s expected. I don’t think Irish people have any qualms about haggling with a salesperson for their best price. It’s a big purchase, so there’s no shame in asking. There is usually a bit of room for manoeuvre.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
It has definitely made me more cautious about borrowing. I’m more aware now of how quickly circumstances can change. Everybody seems to want to give you credit now but I think it’s always important to keep in mind how affordable that ‘€100 a week’ would be if you found yourself out of work.
Do you invest in shares?
It has just never occurred to me. I’m not very financially minded. I get the impression it’s the kind of thing that requires a lot of money to make money, which rules me out. I didn’t buy any bitcoins in 2011 either, unfortunately.
Cash or card?
Card. I never have cash. The new contactless cards are so easy to use. Dangerously so! I have a friend who gives herself a weekly cash allowance to stop her from overspending. I think that’s a great idea.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
The last thing I bought was a new pair of trainers. I was so excited to wear them that I’ve made it to the gym more times than usual this week, which is a rare occurrence. So for that reason yes, I think they were good value for money.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, I bought my first home in 2016. It was tough going getting the deposit, and plenty of sacrifices were made, but it was so worth it. I still look back now and think, ‘How did we actually do that?’ We were just like that couple in the ad with the tinfoil sandwiches for lunch every day. A bit of determination goes a long way.
Have you ever lost money?
No, but I’ve wasted plenty. I’m terrible for waking up to receipts from ‘rounds of regret’ the night before.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I won £100 on a slot machine in an arcade when I was a child, and my mam made me put it straight in the Post Office. I think working and earning a living gives life a bit of meaning and structure. Especially when you enjoy what you do, which I really do.
Is money important to you?
It’s very easy to say no when it’s not a major worry, but it’s a massive privilege to be in that position. I’ve only ever wanted enough to be comfortable, and I wouldn’t say it motivates me. It’s not important at all compared to health or happiness, but having enough of it does make life easier. That’s just the way it is.
How much money do you have on you now?
Not one cent. Just my card and a purse full of receipts.