‘Money is vitally important, especially if it’s in short supply’

Me & My Money: Susan Hunter, Susan Hunter Lingerie

Are you a saver or a spender?

I am a saver. I saw a proverb years ago that rang true for me. It was that, in life, you either have time to spend or to save, but not both. I took that to heart. I do spend when I need to, but I don’t feel I have to.

Do you shop around for better value?

It is not whether something is expensive or cheap, but I do like to get the best value for my spend. I don’t tend to shop around. I’m a great one for asking others, trusting that they have already done the research. Or that the shop I am buying in is watching the prices of their competitors for me.

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

I suppose my own home. But that hardly counts as extravagant, as it’s a necessity. The price seemed huge at the time, but now seems a pittance. I don’t want to get into the “guess what I paid for this house?” scenario. House prices are only relevant at time of purchase.

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

My wedding dress. What I mean is that by being lucky enough to find a life partner and entering into a relationship, and then having a family, all my subsequent spending has been the best value for money.


How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

As much as I can, I shop local. I only revert to online if all local bricks and mortar options have failed. If you want local shops to exist, you must use them. I’m a believer in having a relationship with your suppliers, both in a domestic situation and in business.

Do you haggle over prices?

Not really, unless I’m in a situation where it is expected. You don’t haggle in the supermarket, why would you do it elsewhere?

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I’m a lot more careful now. The recession took the wind out of my sails. It frightened me. I invested in some property and it ended up in serious negative equity. I found myself in a situation where I was a landlord and responsible for others.

Do you invest in shares?

Don’t make me laugh! I bought some shares once, just a few. One of those government promotions. I don’t know where they are, how much they are worth, or how to sell them.

Cash or card?

I use cash when buying something for myself – clothes, shoes, and so on. I don’t like to have any debt when it comes to personal things. I think it’s because, when you are in business, you always owe money to someone – suppliers, banks, landlord, until the end of the month, that is. And then it all winds up again until the end of the following month. For anything else, petrol, groceries and the like, it’s card all the way. I’m in love with the tap-tap. It’s magic.

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

The last big thing I bought was a car. But that was in 2017. What can I say – a car is a car.

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

Depends what is regarded as a big purchase. Small big things I can probably buy. For really big things such as a car or house, then I borrow, of course. The luxury of being a saver is not that you can afford to buy stuff, but that you have a choice not to buy stuff.

Have you ever lost money?

Oh yes, big time! On property purchases, opening (and closing) another outlet. But that’s business. I don’t take it personally. You can’t make on every transaction. When I was a student in the 1970s, I lost a fiver. I still think wistfully about it from time to time. It was a big deal to me then.

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

No, not at all. Nor do I know anything about sport. But I did bet €5 that Germany would win against Ireland in the World Cup. I felt that, either way, I was a winner, although I lost the money.

Is money important to you?

Money is vitally important, especially if it’s in short supply. Ask me again when Covid-19 has passed when we can all get back to work. I might have a different opinion.

How much money do you have on you now?

I have €80.67. I always try to keep a few fivers about my person in case I meet friends with small children. I like to distribute €5 to my friend’s children. It’s what old ladies are meant to do.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea