Are you a saver or a spender?
I like to have a little rainy-day pot just in case, but equally I can be frivolous with money, yet in a somewhat controlled fashion.
Do you shop around for better value?
Generally, yes, unless convenience takes precedence. For the likes of groceries, not so much, but if it was a larger item, something with a warranty or car insurance, I would always make a few enquiries. Doing it this way gives me peace of mind that I've made the best decision and haven't gotten a raw deal.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Trying to answer this has made me realise I'm not an extravagant purchaser. Aside from my house, maybe my laptop, which cost about €800.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Probably my laptop. From running a business to completing my MSc, Zoom calls with friends or watching Netflix, it features heavily most days.
How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
A little of both. During lockdown any necessary items were purchased online but now that shops are mostly back open, I'm very conscious of supporting local as best I can. On reflection, however, for some items like electronics or specific things that I can't get locally, I'll buy online. Probably 70 per cent local 30 per cent online.
Do you haggle over prices?
Sometimes. Certainly not when purchasing standard items like cosmetics or groceries. However, for something larger or if I'm buying a few items from the same supplier, I might throw in my favourite haggle line of "what's the best you can do for me?"
This has worked a treat over the years. If I’m feeling a bit braver, or I have had a good rapport with the salesperson, I’ve been known to cheekily say “sure you probably want to throw this in for free, do you?” I’ll either get a laugh and maybe something knocked off the price or else told I’m a chancer and not a hope! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
PPE gear and hand sanitiser are a new addition. Not much else has changed. I live a fairly pared-back lifestyle at the best of times so there wasn't much to rein in.
Do you invest in shares?
No. I tried it once, based on a tip, but it didn't go anywhere. I wouldn't know where to start.
Cash or card?
Generally speaking, cash. I like physically seeing what I have (or don't have) and I also like the anonymity of cash and not relying on technology. Card is very convenient, of course, and I definitely use that a lot, but a part of me doesn't like having my spending trail logged. I bet now you are thinking 'what has she got to hide?', but I simply like the privacy of cash. Also, if I ever need to print a bank statement for a third party, I feel judged if my spending habits are there for someone to view.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
Car insurance – although sadly not value for money. However, I did ask "what's the best you can do for me" and I got €40 off. Always worth a shot!
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I saved up €10,000 to go travelling a few years ago. I needed to cover my mortgage while I was gone, together with flights, accommodation, insurance, spending money, and so on. I thought €10,000 was loads, but it turns out I burned through it fairly fast.
Have you ever lost money?
Yes – we were due to get married in Spain in June, but Covid-19 put a stop to that. We lost money on various aspects there. On the scale of things, it could have been a lot worse, but we still felt the pinch.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
Betting isn't my cup of tea, as the risk of losing doesn't appeal to me at all.
Is money important to you?
Overall, no, money is not important to me. It comes and goes. Accumulating possessions or a flashy lifestyle feels a bit vacuous to me. Being healthy, happy, and having enough money to cover my expenses is all I could ask for.
How much money do you have on you now?
About €40 cash.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea