‘Money has never been the be all and end all of life for me’

Me and My Money: Sandra Oman, soprano

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

I am a very professional spender. Saving has never been one of my virtues. Most unfortunate.

Do you shop around for better value?

Occasionally I do, but not as a habit. I would shop around for hotel prices for holidays. I also like to shop around for books as I find it fascinating how book prices can vary so much from shop to shop.

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

I guess my most extravagant purchase would have to be our home, purchased in 1995 for €71,000.

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

The house. At the time of purchase, we thought we were spending so much money (and it was a lot of money for us). It was a push for us to secure finance but, over time, the value of our home has increased exponentially. We were very lucky to be purchasing in the mid-1990s.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

Every day and twice on Sundays I prefer going into a shop and making a purchase.I’m an extremely old-fashioned gal in many ways. There’s no comparison really to online shopping. The only things I purchase online are items that I cannot find any other way – airline flights and hotels, particularly. For my work, I purchase opera scores and sheet music online, simply because there is no other way I can acquire them now that all the old music shops are closing down. It’s heartbreaking, really.

Do you haggle over prices?

Not really. I’m kind of a coward. I have done so once or twice over a piece of antique jewellery, with no great aplomb. Also, I’ve minor-league haggled on Done Deal for little pieces of props that I required for concert presentations.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Very much so. There has been less work in the operatic domain in Ireland since the recession, and therefore I am earning a lot less than I was in 2008.

Do you invest in shares?

I would love to, but I’m afraid that’s a non-starter. For many performers, it’s a more hand-to-mouth situation.

Cash or card?

I tend to pay for everything these days with my debit card. It feels safer. I was mugged many years ago and have had my purse/bag snatched several times, so I’m not fond of carrying too much cash (not that that happens very often). The only thing about paying by card is that I find bank charges exorbitant.

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

I have just purchased seven Clark Gable black and white pre-Code (1930s) DVDS on ebay for £35.09 (€40). It is my personal belief that this is exceptional value – you simply cannot put a price on the King of Hollywood.

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

I saved very avidly for my wedding and the purchase of my home. I literally put away every single penny. I suspect it’s been downhill ever since. Thankfully, my husband is a very good money manager and is always thinking ahead, making provision for all manner of eventualities.

Have you ever lost money?

Nothing noteworthy that I can recall. Having had my purse/bag stolen several times, in Ireland and in Italy; they were not very nice experiences.

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

I like the odd flutter, I must say, but it’s been a long time now. I used to enjoy going to the Merrion Club on Merrion Square occasionally and playing a little Black Jack. I’m afraid the biggest win I’ve ever had was about €250. A long time ago.

Is money important to you?

It’s not hugely important to me. It has become more so since the birth of my daughter, Emily, as I want to provide her with the best possible opportunities. However, money has never been the be all and end all of life for me. If love is in the home and my daughter, husband, parents and my brother and his family are all happy, healthy and safe, I’m the wealthiest lady in Ireland.

How much money do you have on you now?

€14.40.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

Sandra Oman is performing in Prima Donna, NCH, Dublin, on Saturday April 21st.

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