‘We survived recession by doing the same simple things in life’
Me & My Money: Patrick Mulcahy, themindfulfarmer.ie
Patrick Mulcahy: ‘I am a regular saver, especially for items on the farm’
Are you a saver or a spender?
I am a regular saver, especially for items on the farm. I try to plan ahead at least a year in advance, and this gives me time to source the best value possible.
Do you shop around for better value?
Yes, always, but I will always buy locally if I can. I will always get three or four quotations, but I am also a loyal shopper so I know where I will get quality with good value.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I believe it would be my latest tractor. It is a Ford TS115. It is a big tractor, but will do all the work on the farm, which reduces hiring in contractors. The cost of this tractor was €40,000.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Ballinwillin House, Mitchelstown. It’s our home, where I live with my wife Miriam and where we reared three great children. I get tremendous enjoyment from renovating the house and garden. It gives me something to do every day.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
I always shop local. If it is not available locally, I will ask my wife Miriam or one of my children to source online.
Do you haggle over prices?
I will always try to get the best deal possible and will always sense when a deal is on – then you can really haggle.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Yes, of course. I was never living extravagantly, and always enjoyed the simpler things in life. I have seen many recessions since the 1950s, but I believe this was the worst. It had a big impact on the sales of our more upmarket products, thus reducing our income greatly. We survived by doing the same simple things in life.
Do you invest in shares?
No, I don’t. Most farmers, I believe, invest most of their profits back into their farms, and I am in that bracket.
Cash or card?
I use both depending on the situation – cards when I am getting diesel for the jeep or delivery vans, and cash for anything under €20. And I use cheques for big items on the farm.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I recently bought a new hay-turner. I got it at a great price, as it was brand new in this country. It covers four times the area in comparison to the old one, reduces a large labour cost and dries the hay more efficiently.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
That would have been for the purchase of the hay-turner. I saved for over three years, putting away a little every week.
Have you ever lost money?
Yes, of course, especially on property. In the early 2000s, our financial advice was to invest in rental property and so we did, a little. The property devalued hugely and the letting was also very difficult. We sold as soon as we could and from now on, we stay with our core business.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I am not a gambler and have never won anything significant. Maybe farming could be considered gambling, though, as you are always at risk from the many elements – climate, stock values, markets, and so on.
Is money important to you?
Money is relatively important, especially for living, keeping the farm going, paying wages, paying bills, but money is not important to me personally.
How much money do you have on you right now?
I have €45 in my wallet.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea