Me & My Money: ‘You have to pick the right time to haggle’
Gearoid Collins, Regus Ireland country manager, regus.ie
Gearoid Collins: “I got burned in shares previously, and I haven’t jumped in again.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
I have a different answer for each decade of my life, moving from spender to saver. Dublin is an expensive place to live with a young family, so I try to plan for the future as much as I can.
Do you shop around for better value?
I like a deal, for sure, and will be able to sniff out if I’m being taken for a ride. Value is not always about the lowest price, so I’m as wary of the lowest price as I am of the highest one. If I were to buy a suit, for example, I would never pay list price – I always ask for discounts, and I get them.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
An apartment – the most expensive thing I bought and, relative to its market price now, it cost too much! I got caught in the frenzy, no question. There are many like me, though, and in the long term it will be okay.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I bought a luxury Rover 600 in 2003 for €5,000 (it was four years old at the time). It’s my favourite purchase ever. It never let me down. I had to let it go eventually, but for comfort, reliability and cost – what a purchase.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Local. We have to support our local economy because, if we don’t, we won’t have one. Imagine walking into town on a Saturday and there is no buzz of shoppers, no buskers, no shops even. I’ve no issue with online shopping – we can have both – but we must have local economies for society to flourish.
Do you haggle over prices?
Always. Not in a grocery store at checkout, obviously, with my full trolley – can you imagine? But absolutely for the likes big purchases, be it a suit, a fridge whatever. You have to pick the right time, though.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Recession, which recession? We are flying again, right? Have we learned any lessons, I wonder? Time will tell. The country crash in 09/10 coincided with us starting a family. I think it has changed some spending habits. God knows how much I spent on nappies, though. I don’t think those prices reduced in the recession!
Do you invest in shares?
I got burned there previously, and I haven’t jumped in again, at least not directly. I am indirectly, via my pension mix. I think that’s enough for now.
Cash or card?
Both. Card more often now. It’s easier and safer.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
A cup of coffee, and no. Way over-priced in Dublin.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, my apartment, engagement ring and, when I was younger, my first pair of Levi’s 501s!
Have you ever lost money?
Yes, on blue-chip shares. Wiped out in the crash.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I’m not a “gambler”. I have bet on horses, though, occasionally and years ago was involved in a greyhound syndicate. We had great fun, and won some money with that. I would say I’m down overall – small, though. No one wins in the long term. Have you seen how well Paddy Power is doing?!
Is money important to you?
Yes. I have to have money, but obviously it’s not as important as health and family. I am motivated by making money, but not solely. I like to be involved in building something great. There has to be a greater purpose.
How much money do you have on you now?
€17 – my change from the €20 I handed over for the coffee.
in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea