‘With online groceries, you have no control over things like expiry dates’

Are you a saver or a spender?

It depends on what I’m spending the money on. My wife and I love to go out and we love to travel, so we never scrimp on experiencing the world especially for warmer locations and unique experiences. I am not into material things like gadgets or fancy cars, so am pretty frugal otherwise.

Do you shop around for better value?

I do, but I also value service and I like to reward companies that have treated me well in the past and that I find reliable. For larger purchases from big firms, I would certainly look around. If I feel I have been treated badly I won’t be back, regardless of the price.

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

I had said all of my life I would never buy a new car, but when I was living in Australia I broke the rule once and paid 20,000 Australian dollars for a new Toyota Yaris. Six months later I was offered a three-year assignment in Europe by my company. I had to sell it and lost about 30 per cent of the value. I won’t be doing that again.

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

I have been mostly lucky with property in the past and managed to buy and sell at the right time.

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

I find myself shopping online more now, I find with online groceries, however, that you have no control over things like expiry dates, so you never quite know what they will put into your order. I also find that physical shopping is less enjoyable with everyone wearing masks and not wanting to engage in casual conversation.

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Do you haggle over prices?

Where appropriate I do. I spent quite a few years in the Middle East and haggling is expected, but I would always look to agree on a fair price as people still need to make money.

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

As mentioned, I like to travel and I certainly wouldn’t be looking to book anything until things get back to some sort of normal. I am also not very keen on buying clothes and shoes online so I will need a completely new wardrobe when the shops reopen!

Do you invest in shares?

A friend of mine sold his house some years ago and played the stock market just before a major crash. However, with cash being useless in the banks, I am starting to consider my options and will most likely start to invest in the future.

Cash or card?

Card. One of the key outcomes of Covid is that acceptance of cards is very much ubiquitous now. But I always carry a €20 note just in case they don’t take card, or “the machine is broken”, as there are still businesses in Ireland that prefer cash.

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

I haven’t bought anything significant since Covid hit, but before then I bought a hybrid car. I haven’t had one before but I find it very impressive and it certainly saves me money on petrol.

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

Like most people the most difficult thing to save for is for your first home. It takes such a long time to do and seems so far away when you start, but there is immense satisfaction when you make it. It is a great discipline to learn.

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Have you ever lost money?

Thankfully I don’t take uncalculated risks so can’t say I have lost anything significant.

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

I don’t bet on horses or go to casinos. I do an annual flutter on the Grand National or the Melbourne Cup, but I rarely win! My mother-in-law Kathleen is almost 80 and is still an avid poker player. Since Covid arrived we play a game where we all put in €5 and the winner takes their €5 back and the rest goes into a kitty to spend on meals or a take-away. I am the most significant contributor to the kitty by a long way.

Is money important to you?

Not money for the sake of money. Money is an enabler – a way to transfer value between two parties. I love to experience and enjoy life, and money makes this possible.

How much money do you have on you now?

The €20 I have as a backup to using my card, and a stack of €5 notes to contribute to the kitty. I’ll have to get my mother-in-law to start to accept card!


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