‘Owning a small business teaches you to shop around’

Me & My Money: Mark Loftus, The Paddy Box

Mark Loftus: ‘Aside from the engagement ring, my Mac laptop is basically an extension of my arm.’

Mark Loftus: ‘Aside from the engagement ring, my Mac laptop is basically an extension of my arm.’

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

I’ve always been a pretty good saver. I always remember saving up for things when I was younger. Also, being self-employed has encouraged me to save a certain amount for contingency purposes. But I try to keep a balance.

Do you shop around for better value?

Owning a small business teaches you to shop around. I’ve learned a lot over the years in terms of searching domestically and overseas for the best possible value without compromising quality. Naturally, this has transferred into my personal life, too. I’m a huge fan of cost comparison sites, especially for the likes of travel and utilities.

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

Myself and my fiancee are finalising the purchase of our first house. It’s been an experience, to say the least. Saturday mornings have never been as busy with house viewings and auctioneer meetings. As for the price, it gives me nightmares.

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

Aside from the engagement ring, my Mac laptop is basically an extension of my arm. It goes everywhere with me and is vital for a lot of my work. It owes me nothing.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I have become accustomed to doing a good bit of shopping online. I try and support Irish businesses as much as I can, be it online or in physical stores.

Do you haggle over prices?

Of course. Owning a business, you learn to negotiate for the best possible price. Starting out in business, I used to shy away from it but now it’s part and parcel of my everyday work. My dad is an absolute pro in negotiation, so he thought me a lot around how to identify room for price movement and respectful bargaining. Although, unlike my dad, I wouldn’t try it in a high street shop!

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I don’t think it has, to be honest, as I’ve never been a massive spendthrift. I had just come out of college when the recession really hit Ireland so I didn’t have much money. I was lucky enough to be able to stay in Ireland through the recession. I started a business with a friend and we started making money.

Do you invest in shares?

Not at the moment but in the future I’ll definitely consider investing to make my money work harder for me – there isn’t much incentive given by the banks at present.

Cash or card?

Card. It’s amazing. A few years ago I always had cash in my pocket but now with contactless, the card is just becoming handier. That said, I try to keep a small amount of cash in my pocket.

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

I bought an Away suitcase recently that I’m getting great use out of and know it’ll last me years. I travel a decent bit and it’s been making airport travel that little bit easier. I don’t need to check in a bag as it fits absolutely loads in it, it has a phone charger built in and a front pocket for my laptop, which is very handy.

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

The new house is a culmination of years of saving hard. It has meant a lot of sacrifice but fingers crossed it all comes together.

Have you ever lost money?

I was robbed recently, which wasn’t a nice experience. I was coming out of a bank. For the most part I haven’t lost any significant amount of money.

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

I’d do the lotto, I tend to have a small bit of luck on that every now and then. I’d also have a bit of a flutter the odd time but I haven’t had any major wins.

Is money important to you?

I think it’s a little too important to me at times. I need to step back and realise there’s more to life than worrying about money. Don’t get me wrong, money is very important for quality of life but the family and friends around you are more important. Life is for living, not worrying.

How much money do you have on you now?

Digging in my pocket here, I have €32.70.

  • In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea
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