Belfast Telegraph

'I'm the annoying person who has to go to find a cash machine on a night out'

A businessperson confesses all about their personal finances to Business Telegraph — this week it’s Clare Vallely (28) of The Rug House.

She studied to be a chartered surveyor before setting up Newry-based retailer The Rug House with her brother.

Q. Are you a plastic or a cash person?

A. Definitely plastic.

Q. How much money do you usually carry around with you?

A. Never enough - I'm the annoying person who always has to go find a bank machine on a night out.

Q. Do you see personal debt as inevitable or best avoided?

A. Depends on the person. If you are in control of it then personal debt can be a good thing to help achieve your dreams but if you struggle to save or budget then it is best avoided. For most of us though it's inevitable.

Q. Apart from a house or car, what's the most expensive thing you've ever bought?

A. Probably a cross-trainer - it comes in very handy as a second wardrobe.

Q. Are you a saver or a spender?

A. Mostly a saver but from time to time I go on a bit of a spending spree … clothes, travelling and vinyl records.

Q. What are your best - and worst - spending habits? 

A. Best - I'm saving to build a house so I put 30% of my wage into a savings account every month. Worst - online shopping … I go online to buy one thing but then I start browsing and several hours later I've blown the budget.

Q. Did you get pocket money as a child and if so, what was the first sum you received in pocket money?

A. No pocket money as such. I would have been given small amounts here and there for doing extra around the house but not regularly and not much.

Q. Did you have a part-time job as a youngster?

A. Yes, I started working in a local chippy when I was 14 for £2.50 per hour, preparing food and serving customers. I learned a lot, mainly the fact that I am not cut out for the food industry.

Q. If you had a huge fortune, would you leave it to your children?

A. Definitely not. I would think there is much greater satisfaction in spending money you've earned rather than money you've inherited. When it comes to it you need to realise you have to make your own way in the world!

Q. Where do you do your food shopping?

AMostly from my local supermarkets (Fiveways in Newry or Hunters in Markethill) and the local bakery and butcher's shop.

Q. Did the recession teach you anything about personal finances that you're bringing with you into the recovery?

A. We were very lucky to have been a couple of years too young to be buying houses or property at the height of the boom but I can't guarantee we wouldn't have got sucked into it like so many other people.

The Rug House was a runner-up in the category of Excellence in Marketing in the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards while co-founder Paul Vallely was runner-up in Young Businessperson of the Year

Belfast Telegraph