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‘A coffee in the sun by the sea with a friend will always be my top purchase’

Me & My Money: Cherie White, costume designer and maker

Galway-based Cherie White has worked extensively in Ireland and Britain on film, television, theatre and dance projects. Her design work includes large-scale outdoor theatre and spectacle with Macnas.

Are you a saver or spender?

When I was younger, I was most definitely a spender. When I had it, I very much had a make-hay-while-the-sun-shines sensibility around money. After working in the arts for several years and slowly growing an independent design practice, however, I’ve learned to take a breath before a splurge so I would like to say I lean more on the saving end of the scale now.

Do you shop around for better value?

Shopping around is part of my job, so I tend to know where to go for good value. Let’s face it: who doesn’t love a bargain?

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

It was a bed frame. A bit of a boring answer, I know, but I totally fell for a Laura Ashley bed frame years ago. As I remember, it cost €1,600. That was extravagant for me at that point in my life – it was in the devil-may-care years.


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

The enjoyment you get from something doesn’t always equate to the price tag. A coffee in the sun by the sea with a friend will always be my top purchase. In terms of things such as art, life, holidays and so on, I recently purchased two beautiful pieces of art at an exhibition here in Galway – a painting by Siobhán Moore and a photograph by Anita Murphy. I know they will make me smile for a very long time. Oh, and dog toys, they are always good value for money.

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

I tried to shop as local as I could for everyday needs. Fabric was my main online purchase to keep myself sane. In general, I’m not a big online shopper – all that plastic gets my goat – so I keep the online purchases to something I’m certain I want.

Do you haggle over prices?

I’m too polite to relish the challenge, but I shop around so I guess that balances it out.

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

I don’t think it changed much for me, as I’m really not a big consumer outside of work. I’ll always buy the best quality I can afford and tend to look after things. I’m not frivolous in that way. My lockdown splurges were plants – the garden never looked better.

Do you invest in shares?

I don’t and I’m not sure that will change but, hey, who knows?

Cash or card?

That is the main habit that changed over Covid. I hardly ever have cash on me these days. I predominantly use the card.

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

Apart from coffee and groceries? I treated myself to a Coach Crossbody bag, and yes, it was good value for money. It’s had a couple of nights out already.

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

I love making as well as designing and I’m in the process of developing a small business so my savings are focused on that. I’ve been making a wearable hot water bottle for a couple of years now, and demand is growing.

Have you ever lost money?

No, luckily I haven’t – outside of chewed-up shoes from overzealous dogs (hence dog toys, which are always good purchases).

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

The occasional flutter at the Galway races – a bit of craic once a year. If I manage to place, I’m delighted, but it’s a rare thing so I don’t take it too seriously.

Is money important to you?

Yes, it is. When my children were young, I spent too many very stressed years trying to juggle everything on my own.

How much money do you have on you now?

Just my card and a handful of loose change. To be exact, €3.82.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea