‘Working from home has changed how I spend but not how much I spend’

Me & My Money: Stacey McDermott, head of people and culture at Leveris

Are you a saver or a spender?
I don't think I could be classed as either. I don't spend excessively or pay for products based purely on labels; I save what I can when I can. I will have a budget and stick to it as much as possible and be proactive with monitoring day-to-day spending.

Do you shop around for better value?
Yes, definitely. Price isn't the most important thing, though, as I always try to balance cost with how long something will last. I don't mind spending a bit extra to get a bit more use or if I avail of additional service.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
My largest purchase was my car. That was about €8,000 second-hand and I still have it 120,000km later! In recent years, there have been a few purchases that some people may consider extravagant. For example, I bought an air hockey table and a pool table (about €250 each) because I love going to arcades/barcades, and I felt this year could do with a little more fun in the house!

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
This year I splurged on a robot vacuum cleaner that can also mop. Again, it's not top of the range but it was about €250, which seemed like a lot at the time. To have the ability to go around cleaning/mopping while I'm working means some of my previous time spent cleaning is now free.


How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
I live in Cavan and I will always try to support local businesses where I can, as much as I can. For online purchases, I'll try to buy from local and Irish businesses as much as possible but sometimes the items I'm looking for are specialised and aren't carried here.

Do you haggle over prices?
I don't. I believe in paying a fair price and, if I feel the item is way overpriced, I won't purchase it. If I'm looking at a particular service, I will get a number of quotes and evaluate them.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
I think being able to work from home has changed how I spend but not really how much I spend. I have saved a lot on general wear and tear, fuel for my car and the toll bridge, but I've spent more on food and items that make the house more comfortable to be in.

Do you invest in shares?
I've never had the time to really dive into how to make them work best for me. I would err on the side of caution with things like that at the moment until I understand them more.

Cash or card?
Card as much as possible. I tend to carry only small amounts of cash for parking meters or tips (definitely a habit I learned from travelling).

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
A new laptop. When I bought it, it had a higher spec than I needed but instead of buying a new one every two years or so I decided to future-proof as much as I could. For any big purchases like this, I really try to look for a return on investment.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I don't often spend on large single items but rather on travel and experiences. My common larger spends are generally on flights and hotels. As I like to plan travel a long time in advance to get a good price, I will tend to put extra money onto my credit card as a kind of savings pot and use a combination of this and the credit line to pay for expensive parts of the trip. I then use the next few months to pay off the credit card on time and by the time the trip comes, I still have the credit card in case of emergencies and for when hotels need to swipe a card and put a hold on the funds.

Have you ever lost money?
Yes, I was working in a bar in my hometown of Skerries many years ago and lost my wages for that week. The people I worked with at the time heard about it and had a whip round for me and gave it to me the next day. I will never forget that act of kindness.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
Apart from a lottery ticket here and there, I've never really gambled. I don't feel any buzz or excitement from it.

Is money important to you?
Only from a practical sense. I don't see money as a status symbol or something that I need excess amounts of. I don't think that having more money brings more happiness but the ability not to have to worry about paying rent or bills is not to be underestimated. I count myself lucky I have been able to afford the things I can and have a level of comfort that isn't attainable for everyone.

How much money do you have on you now?
About €5 in change and a token for the shopping trolley!

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea