I spent about €1,100 on a mattress


ME AND MY MONEY:Nina Byrnes, medical consultant, Hidden Hearing

Are you a saver or a spender? I’m probably more of a spender. I believe in living each day. In my line of work I’ve seen so many people work really hard, save all their lives and then not live to enjoy it.

Do you shop around for better value?I am very aware of value for money and would always try and search for value whether it’s in groceries or lifestyle.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?My house is clearly the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought but I wouldn’t call it extravagant. For pure luxury I spent about €1,100 on a really nice mattress a few years ago but I love a good night’s sleep.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?I think probably my bed. I have such a busy schedule I really need a good night’s sleep. If I broke it down per hour spent there, it’s great value.

Have you ever crossed the border to shop?I made a trip to Ikea when it first opened in Belfast, but since it has a branch closer to home now there is no longer the need. I think it’s important in the times we’re in to buy local and support local businesses as much as possible.

Do you haggle over prices?I would haggle over the price of large electrical devices, such as a television, and have found many sales assistants willing to offer good discounts. I also haggle when I’m abroad at markets, but rarely in other shops.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?No. I don’t think I ever went mad during the boom years, over-extending myself buying stuff I didn’t really need. I’ve always been sensible in my purchases. I am trying to buy Irish more often, though.

Do you invest in shares?I received a gift of Eircom shares a few years ago and we all know what happened there. I haven’t bought any others. In the current climate that’s probably a smart move.

Cash or card?I prefer to pay using a debit card or cash and avoid credit bills. I used to have several credit cards but now only carry one and try to use it as little as possible.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?I’ve just spent some money on furniture for my house. I had considered moving but now the house feels transformed and I’m happy to stay. So I guess it was good value because moving would have been far more expensive.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?My husband and I saved for the deposit on our first house. We ended up living with my parents for a year but it was worth it.

Have you ever lost money?Yes, I bought a house at the peak of the property bubble and sold it at a big loss a year later. It hurt at the time but it was the right decision to make.

Are you a gambler and if so, have you ever had a big win?No, I don’t gamble. I won $50 (€34) at a roulette table once on a $2 bet. The croupier tried to get me to play again but I went to the restaurant instead.

Is money important to you?People are far more important to me than money. It’s important to have enough but it’s not what drives me.

How much money do you have on you now?I have €105. That’s a lot for me, as I don’t usually carry cash.