Your MoneyMe & My Money

‘I’m a bit lazy when it comes to utility direct debits but that needs to change’

Me & My Money: Elizabeth Nicholson, managing director, Private HomeCare

A former director of Age Action Ireland and currently a board member of a voluntary organisation involved in sheltered accommodation, Elizabeth Nicholson started Private HomeCare in 1989. Today the company is Ireland’s longest-established home care provider. Elizabeth Nicholson is also a founding director of the Professional Institute of Care Providers.

Are you a saver or a spender?

Both – I save to spend, although I have always tried to keep a separate “rainy day” account. When it comes to family, however, my heart can rule more than it should on what I spend.

Do you shop around for better value?

Yes, I look out for the best deal going for single purchases, whether it is a big or small item. I am a bit lazy when it comes to direct debit items like electricity, gas, and so on, but that habit needs to change, for sure, in today’s climate.

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

A piece of jewellery. The price? I dare not say.


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

My first home at the age of 21. It got me on to the housing ladder and taught me the value of a clear aim and goal. I can still remember the absolute thrill and delight when my husband and I got the key to the front door.

How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

My first choice is always local, and it is so important to support local businesses. For our mental health, it is essential to have face-to-face communication with people as long as everyone is following health guidelines. Online is great, too, but I have to be strict with myself – I could be browsing all night!

Do you haggle over prices?

Definitely. I am a farmer’s daughter.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?

Covid hasn’t really changed my spending habits. It has, however, made me consider a bit longer whether I really need what might be considered a non-essential item.

Do you invest in shares?

Yes, through a broker. I’m a great believer in working with people who are experts in their fields – whatever the field is – to achieve the best outcomes. The trick is to find the experts you are comfortable working with, which applies to investments as well as all other areas of business.

Cash or card?

Card most of the time.

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

Shoes are my big weakness. I’ll know if they are good value when the winter weather arrives.

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

My first car, a red Ford Fiesta. I saved up, and my brother did the deal. It was an import car and had extras. That car brought me great pleasure and amazing freedom.

Have you ever lost money?

Yes, on a Section 23 property. I like to think positively. Arguably, it could be construed, with the rental income and tax breaks, that it was a break-even investment, but I’m probably kidding myself.

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

An occasional flutter, but I’ve never had a big win. I’m more of a calculated risk-taker.

Read more:

Me & My Money: ‘My biggest extravagance is my children. It’s never-ending’

Me & My Money: ‘I bought my first pharmacy, Meaghers, at the tender age of 28′

‘I tend to place much more value on my time than on money’

Is money important to you?

Growing account balances for the sake of balances are not really important to me. What is important to me is to have enough income to maintain a comfortable home and lifestyle for myself and my family.

How much money do you have on you now?

I’ll have to check. Around €10.

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture