Orla Daly: I learned to only spend what you can afford after living on 30c noodles for weeks

Orla Daly, founder of luxury alpaca sweater brand Cayo, shared her spending habits with us, including how at a young age, she saw the benefit of buying and selling property at a good time
Orla Daly: I learned to only spend what you can afford after living on 30c noodles for weeks

Orla Daly, founder of luxury alpaca sweater brand Cayo

What is your relationship with money?

If you are comfortable everything else is just a bonus. It is important for me to be comfortable but money is not a main motivator for me in life or work. I set up my business because I was passionate about my product. Yes it has to be profitable to continue, but that is not my main motivation. I don't think a business will succeed if the right energy is not behind it and making money is the only goal.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I like to do both; I am a project manager by day, so can't help but plan. If I know I have a big expense coming up I will plan in advance so I will be able to reach my goal but also leave money aside to enjoy life. Life is short, if you are always planning for the future the present can pass you by.

Do you find it hard to splurge?

I don't, I like to save up and buy good quality pieces that I love and will really enjoy. I also like to wait for a milestone to buy things I want, not need. If I have a goal I want to reach and I get there I will treat myself to something I have wanted for a while. In recent years I have been working on consuming less and being a more mindful consumer.

What is the best money-related advice you were ever given?

It wasn't direct advice, but I got my interest in property from my Mum and Dad. They had a background in that industry so when I was growing up so I saw the benefit of buying and selling at a good time. This helped me to be more aware of the market when I was able to buy a property myself and stood to me when looking for our apartment in Dublin.

Do you follow a budget and what is your process?

I do follow a rough budget, yes, I know what is coming up in the next six to twelve months that I need to set money aside for. I then save that over a number of months but always make sure to leave enough for my monthly outgoings and spending money to enjoy life and pay for unplanned things that pop up.

What's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

There is nothing too exciting here- Our apartment, after that my car and after that probably a bag. I did spend all my savings on a bag and matching wallet when I arrived in America on my J1 and had to eat 30c noodles for a few weeks as a result, so I have definitely learned to only spend what you can afford since then.

What is the most important thing you have ever bought?

Our apartment as it gives us so much joy and we were so proud when we bought it. Money can't buy the feeling of working hard and finally achieving a goal, it's a great feeling.

What age did you start your pension and did you know it was important at the time?

I contributed to my superannuation (it is a mandatory pension) when I lived in Australia. I contributed to that for the four years I lived there and then used that lump sum towards our apartment. Then I was back to square one and only started contributing to my pension again this year. I probably should have started contributing again earlier but you can't do it all!

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made financially and what is the lesson you take from it?

I used to spend far too much on clothes, shoes and accessories that I didn't need. When I started my business and I started looking more into sustainable practices I learned so much about being a mindful consumer and am so happy to have decluttered my life of material things I don't need. If I have a special occasion now, I will look at restyling something I have or renting it as opposed to buying. Anything I buy now is considered, I will look at how much I will wear it, how long it will last and the origins of the product. These realisations also led me to create CAYO as a seasonless brand. We need to get back to a point where we appreciate and cherish our favourite clothes and not see them as disposable.


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