‘When I have a goal for something I want, I am very focused to reach the target’
Me & My Money: Vivienne Nyhan, international development director, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
Vivienne Nyhan: ‘I find if I have cash, I tend to lose it’
Are you a saver or a spender?
I am a spender. I try to budget, but each month I look at the almost-empty bank account and wonder where the money went. When I have a look around my house, I find out where.
Do you shop around for better value?
If I like something, I buy it. I’m not much for shopping around.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I had always wanted to visit Vietnam and recently I was able to fulfil that dream. The hustle and bustle and traffic chaos of Hanoi and Saigon, Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Mekong Delta, the country, the scenery and people were amazing. It exceeded all expectations, so the trip was worth every cent of almost €5,000.
Holidays are my most extravagant purchases, but it’s great to get to experience the world. Up next are the Galapagos islands!
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I have recently taken up golf. I bought a Cobra King driver, which makes my driving look very impressive, almost professional! Golf has been great for making new friends, getting regular and enjoyable exercise, and I aim to get my handicap down soon.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
I prefer to shop local which, in turn, supports the local community. I like to be able to see the items I am buying and enjoy the interaction with shopkeepers and shop assistants. Online feels so impersonal. Often you receive your purchases and they’re not what you thought they would be.
Do you haggle over prices?
In business I will always try to get the best deal. I learned that from my father, who really enjoyed a good haggle. On a personal level, I tend to accept the full price.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I am a bit more cautious with my money now; having gone through some rough times, I tend to think twice before I purchase. I look more at the price of things and think ‘is this value for money?’ before I whip out my credit card.
Do you invest in shares?
I did invest more so before the recession, but the shares I bought were the ones that were worth nothing in the end. I have started to invest again, more cautiously. My investments this time are based around bricks and mortar, as I feel they are more tangible.
Cash or card?
Card, as I find if I have cash, I tend to lose it. I also have Apple Pay, just in case. There are too many ways to spend!
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
Now that the weather is getting better, I invested in a hover mower. I had been using a push one (for the exercise), but the hover is the best value for money. I should have done it much sooner – my garden is all the better for it.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
When I have a goal for something I want, I am very focused to reach the target. For example, my bucket list trips, furniture for the house, and so on.
Have you ever lost money?
Following the 2008 crisis, the net effect was a loss and one that I have learned from. That experience has made me more considered in my approach to spending and investing.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I wouldn’t be a gambler. Like most people, I’ll buy the odd EuroMillions ticket when the amount reaches obscene numbers. I sometimes imagine what it would be like if my numbers came up. I would possibly have a heart attack!
Is money important to you?
At the moment, it’s not the be-all and end-all of everything, but yes, it is important. Not long ago, when money was very tight, it was all I focused on, as I was driven by making sure I had enough to cover the essentials.
How much money do you have on you now?
I have cards and Apple Pay. No cash on me today.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea