‘You can’t bring it with you and there’s always things to be paid for’

Me & My Money: Peter Brennan, general manager of North Star and Address hotels

Are you a saver or a spender?

I would love to be a saver, but you can’t bring it with you and there’s always things to be paid for.

Do you shop around for better value?

Of course. You have to, unless you have a preferred supplier with reciprocal loyalty deals. In most cases, I would stick to agreements based on quality and price for a least a year.


What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

My Leinster Rugby season ticket – €450 annually – but good value recently.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

We purchased a rundown chalet in the French Alps some 12 years ago, and we have invested in it to make it a great escape for family/friends for summer and particularly winter ski holidays. It’s funny, older children never want to join you on your holidays, but if you say “do you want to come skiing?”, they’re in! It’s also sellable occasionally on Airbnb, which helps us towards the costs. Overall, it has been good financial value but also great to get family time together.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

It depends on the product. I love shopping for food and drink, particularly wine. I have been really fortunate that I have been able to visit many vineyards in France, Italy and Spain, and you can’t get better shopping than that. Clothes shopping? I have not been clothes shopping since I married 31 years ago!

Do you haggle over prices?

Absolutely, certainly overseas where some cultures expect it. I’m told I’m a bit like the Rowan Atkinson advert for Barclaycard, where he buys an Asian carpet. I usually ask for best price and usually get it. I think.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Yes, it did. However, we have short memories!

Do you invest in shares?

Not as a rule. I bought Eircom shares and, believe it or not, did not lose. I got a tip once for the Nasdaq. I told my closest friends, and we all put a few bob on. It promptly lost 10 per cent of the value. I don’t have the shares anymore but, thankfully, I still have the friends.

Cash or card?

Both. However, from 60/40 in favour of cash a few years ago, it’s now more like 90/10 in favour of card – and online, particularly, what with new innovations like Revolut, which makes transferring funds almost too easy.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I upgraded my wife’s car in what I thought was great business. Because it was not a racing green MG midget, however, it turned out not to be a great decision.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Nope. I was fortunate, though, to have been given a project by my UK employer years ago, when he bet me the price of a car that I could not turn a profit out of a no-hope hotel. I won, and since then I have been fortunate enough to upgrade regularly by trading in.

Have you ever lost money?

All of us who have lived through 2008 to 2013 must have lost, and I’m no exception. I was badly advised and brought a prominent property in D2 in early 2007. Both the bank and I took a severe bath on that one, but I am pleased to see that that multi-use property is flying now.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?

I’m not a gambler, but in a weaker moment I bid for a bundle of concert tickets in a silent charity auction once. I did not like any of the performers and gave them to a younger family member who, allegedly, sold them separately and gave me the share of the profits, which almost covered my bid price.

Is money important to you?

Only when I don’t have it.

How much money do you have on you now?

I have €14.80.

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea