Are you a saver or a spender?
I save money each month, but I also spend quite a lot in the upkeep of a family home with two young kids. I like to have savings for larger required purchases and also to have a buffer for those many surprise costs that may come along.
Do you shop around for better value?
As best I can. There are, admittedly, occasions where a lack of time does not allow for the full shop around, so I go for the best price that I have in that time. It depends on the size of the purchase of course – for larger purchases, I am more likely to shop around.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I don’t tend to have extravagant purchases, but I spend a bit on good running shoes, which cost about €150 every three-to-four months.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I think when you are buying gear for running or hiking, the investment pays dividends. Good quality and well-made gear not only gives you better performance and comfort, it always lasts longer, too. Generally, footwear or jackets that come with a cost prove to be good value for money.
How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
Local. Apart from discovering a new appreciation of the local shops that stayed open during the restrictions, it is good to support local businesses. The quality is often better from your local fruit and veg shop, for example.
Do you haggle over prices?
I am not a great haggler. Some family members have made this an art form and enjoy haggling at markets, and so on. I tend to just pay the price. I like to support local businesses and people selling at markets. This is their livelihood, after all.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
The main change is the appreciation of local businesses, which stayed open to support the community during lockdown restrictions. Also, with the quality often better, I am making a conscious decision to continue supporting local as restrictions lift. Thankfully, I did not get drawn into the convenience of increased online shopping.
Do you invest in shares?
Yes, I do, and I see it very much as part of my pension plan. Good investments and putting away what I can afford can prove a high performing way of saving.
Cash or card?
A definite change during Covid-19 was switching almost every transaction that I made to card instead of cash. The increased tap limit also made the card more convenient, in some cases dangerously convenient! For a long time during the restrictions, I carried no cash.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I bought a new pair of running shoes yesterday. Again, I see spending on good quality footwear as an investment. This pair cost €170, but I will get good use from them and consider them good value for money.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I don’t tend to have particularly large purchases, but when I invest in running gear, for example, it always comes from money saved. I would also pay for any flights or trips abroad from saved money. I try to not use my credit card as best I can.
Have you ever lost money?
Yes, I was on my way to a wedding and lost my wallet with €200 in it. The wallet also had my driving licence and all of my bank cards, so that was a major inconvenience. Outside of that, I have been lucky not to have lost money.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I am not a gambler. I might spend €20 on Cheltenham, but these would be small bets and just for a bit of fun. The biggest win that I can recall was when the horse Oscar Time won a race and I won €40 on a €4 bet!
Is money important to you?
Money is important to me insofar as it is required to allow me to try to have a life that is healthy, comfortable, and that I can provide for a household with two young boys. Money itself is the vehicle to provide this. I do not consider myself extravagant, however, or needing to have a large bank balance just for the sake of it.
How much money do you have on you now?
In my wallet, I have €25 and 65 cent.
Declan Colfer, Managing Director, Wellington IT which specialises in software and IT support for the credit union sector, in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea