‘The robot vacuum cleaner is the best money I’ve spent in a long time’
Me & My Money: Ger Toher, chief operating officer, CarsIreland.ie
Ger Toher: ‘No one expects or will even accept cash anymore, and this is one pandemic silver lining for me.’
Are you a saver or a spender?
I would class myself as a saver but I have my moments. When the opportunity arrives I am not afraid to spend and treat myself and my family to something nice, particularly when it comes to holidays and travel. At least that was the case before Covid-19 arrived.
Do you shop around for better value?
It depends what I’m shopping for. I am not price sensitive at all for smaller everyday items. I am also not price sensitive on items I really want, such as a new TV, the latest golf clubs and so on. I will go for what’s best, irrespective of price. But everything in the middle, I will shop around for better value. In particular, I will shop around when it comes to utilities like broadband, insurance, mortgages.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
A new, top-spec Alfa Romeo that cost somewhere close to €60,000. There were cheaper, more sensible options available that I ignored at the time, but I haven’t regretted it a single day since.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
This might sound ridiculous but I bought an expensive pair of Ecco dress shoes about 10 years ago and it was an extravagant purchase at the time. I’ve worn them to every wedding, funeral, business event, fancy night out I can think of ever since and they are timeless. Not ever having to think about it or buy new shoes every year for different things has brought genuine value.
How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
For groceries and household items, we definitely are shopping more local since the restrictions kicked in. But our percentage of online shopping has also dramatically increased as well. I can’t imagine us going back to the old way.
Do you haggle over prices?
No, the process of haggling is old school in my eyes. Instead, I do my research in advance about what I’m going to purchase and I make sure that I’m either buying something that is the best value or the highest-quality option available.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
It has never been easier to save; you really need to go out of your way to spend money. Eating out is gone, holidays and weekend breaks have been postponed, you’re not even leaving the house to justify buying new clothes. The only thing I could say it has generated is that we are spending more money on household items. A personal favourite has been the addition of a robot vacuum cleaner.
Do you invest in shares?
I’ve always viewed stocks and shares as a bit of a gamble and I’m no gambler, in particular when it comes to an area I’m not an expert in. As a result of that, I have focused on the more tried and tested, such as pensions and savings bonds.
Cash or card?
Card, all of the time. No one expects or will even accept cash any more, and this is one pandemic silver lining for me.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
The robot hoover earlier this year. It was about €400 and it’s the best money I’ve spent in a long time. I’m disappointed with myself that I didn’t get one a lot sooner. It’s definite value for money in a busy house with a big hairy dog running around and a new baby.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I’ve always been relatively disciplined when it comes to setting a target on something and saving money till I get there. An obvious example was saving for the deposit on my house and my wedding at the time, but I’ve also saved up to go on luxury holidays and to make significant home renovations. If I want something badly, it’s no problem saving, I’ll stick to my guns until I get it.
Have you ever lost money?
To date, I haven’t physically lost money or had my wallet or cards stolen. I also haven’t stuck my neck out on the line with risky investments or purchases that have backfired.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I would describe myself as a conservative gambler. I don’t seem to have strength in my convictions enough to risk big amounts. The thought of a big loss and waste of money would hurt me far more than the prospect of a win.
Is money important to you?
The money itself, no, but what the money gives me, yes. If money gives you and your family security and peace of mind then that’s worth a lot. And if you have enough money to allow you to do the things you enjoy when they come up then I’m happy, but it’s certainly not what I judge my success on.
How much money do you have on you now?
Cash? Almost nothing. If all my cards disappeared right now, at a stretch I could muster maybe about €5 in loose change.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea