‘Money is necessary but it’s not important’

Me & My Money: Orlaith McBride, director, National Archives

Orlaith McBride: ‘Quality often dictates that I go with the more expensive item’

Orlaith McBride: ‘Quality often dictates that I go with the more expensive item’

 

Are you a saver or a spender?
While my love of shopping and, therefore, spending dates back over decades, I come from a generation that likes to save for a rainy day as well as keeping enough money just in case everything goes belly-up! Having a mortgage and being in contract jobs over many years has also instilled in me a saving discipline.

Do you shop around for better value?
Yes and no. Quality often dictates that I go with the more expensive item. I’ve learned from bitter experience that value doesn’t always mean you get an item that will last over many years. So it’s being aware of the false economy that can often be hidden in the value-for-money item.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I once flew first class to South America. It cost a fortune, but it was for a special occasion and definitely worth it. Not turning left when I went on a plane after that was pretty annoying.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
A new kitchen, particularly as cooking and being at home became such a central part of our lives during the pandemic.

How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local? 
Shopping online has transformed my life, and I will continue with it into the future. It takes the stress out of shopping and saves so much time. I am committed, however, where possible to buy Irish-owned or operated brands.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
I’ve spent nothing on a social life since the crisis and focused more on buying for my home. I wasn’t spending on dining out two or three times a week or going abroad every few months. I wonder, though, as things open up how quickly we will return to our old spending habits. I am going to reassess the balance in my life, particularly in terms of cooking at home and dining out. I have loved cooking and experimenting over the past year and a half and am committed to continuing this.

Do you haggle over prices?
Never. I worked in retail as a student and know how hard it is as a business to make ends meet.

Do you invest in shares?
No. It’s not for me. I’m too cautious.

Cash or card?
Since Covid, it’s card all the way.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I like to buy visual art from time to time. Given the difficult time artists have had during the pandemic in terms of not having exhibitions, I bought a lovely piece from a new and emerging artist. Art is always value for money to me.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, my apartment. The mortgage deposit was as a result of the SSIA scheme many years ago.

Have you ever lost money?
I’ve neither lost nor won money.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
No. I occasionally do the Lotto when the jackpot is high, and foolishly live in hope.

Is money important to you?
It’s necessary but not important.

How much money do you have on you now?
None.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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