Are you a saver or a spender?
Definitely the latter. I’ve listened to every sage in my life – brothers, friends, ex-girlfriends, but I will always be someone who values money as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. I take after my mum in that regard. When her parents gave her the children’s allowance that they had saved for 18 years, she immediately bought a television for the family. In 1960.
Do you shop around for better value?
For work-related things, I’ll always get three quotes. But in my personal life, I never do. If I see something I like, it’s in DHL before I know it.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
A fabulous chestnut hunter gelding from a great friend at Brazil Stables in Swords. I paid €4,000. However, nine months later, I sold it for €6,000 to put the cash into my new prop-tech start-up!
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
My Microsoft Surface Laptop (€1,300) and Display Adapter (€80). Literally, the greatest things ever. I am forever making on-the-spot presentations and I can cast wirelessly to any large screen, anywhere, without having to plug in anything.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Online. Always. With the exception of pints in Gormley’s pub in Garristown, Co Meath.
Do you haggle over prices?
Never, although my dad was a demon for it. An Aer Lingus captain who flew all over the world, he would drive from Dublin to his home town of Westport if he could save a tenner buying bales of hay. Even though the diesel would cost him treble that.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
In theory, yes, but in practice, no. I had nothing to spend, of course, but I would still find a way of spending it.
Do you invest in shares?
No, but I’ve always been curious. I don’t know enough about the vagaries of the equity markets to do it seriously, but I think the explosion of online trading has made it much more accessible and less mysterious.
Cash or card?
Always card. I rarely have cash on me – a tenner at most. That is a problem when you try to buy a horse, as the sellers tend not to have a card machine on them.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I bought a set of Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils for €120. I love drawing and they are the best quality drawing materials on the market. They will last me a lifetime.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Despite being in the property game, thankfully I didn’t speculate on the property market during the boom, so now it’s all about saving for the dream home.
Have you ever lost money?
No, not that I am aware of.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I enjoy a punt at the races, but typically only on the course. I don’t have the time for off-course betting. I used to travel to the UK races a lot with a good friend of mine in the racing industry, but then he got married and I had to get used to watching it on the television.
Is money important to you?
Not for money’s sake. I don’t have a family of my own, so any money I earn is to make life easy for friends and extended family around me.
How much money do you have on you now?
One €5 note.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea