Spending habits: you’ve got to invest in yourself in order to look after your future self

President of Network Ireland Aisling O'Neill believes that you are your own best investment 
Spending habits: you’ve got to invest in yourself in order to look after your future self

Aisling O'Neill says occasional treats are a justified reward. Picture: Patrick Browne

What is your relationship with money?

I have a healthy relationship with money - I’m not hugely driven by it but we all have bills to pay. 

Are you a spender or a saver?

I’m a spender on things I love - creating experiences and making memories with people - so music, good food and wine, travel and yoga are all high on the list.

Do you find it hard to splurge?

I’m decisive about buying things that I want, and I don’t really see it as a ‘splurge’ in that case. I work really hard and believe occasional treats are a justified reward!

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

Someone once told me to "Buy well or buy twice", and it’s served me well. Often it’s worth spending a little more to get higher quality products/services you’re happy with.

Do you follow a budget and what is your process?

I like to know what I’m working with, so all of my direct debits come out of my account on payday. Obviously, groceries are a priority but I also invest in yoga and personal development. And subscriptions to entertainment and streaming services, books and audiobooks have certainly taken a bigger chunk of my spending in the past 12 months.

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

My house.

What is the most important thing you have ever bought?

The most important thing I have ever bought was my yoga teacher training with Michael Connolly in the Alphazone School of Yoga in Waterford. I only became a student of yoga in 2016 so when I pursued my teacher training in 2019, it was to gain a deeper understanding of myself and my practice. As part of our teacher training, we did community classes in the My Yoga studio and I just got hooked. 

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

Like many people, I knew a pension was important but I was in my thirties before my employment situation could support one. At Network Ireland we work to help raise awareness among women of these important issues and remind them that although pensions might not be a priority now - you’ve got to invest in yourself in order to look after your future self.

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

They may not have used the word ‘mistake’ but I know some of my friends thought I was mad to follow the long road towards a PhD in my 20’s! It meant the possibilities of homeownership and salary stability came later for me. It wasn’t the most lucrative path and there were times when it was tough going, but I have no regrets. 

  • Aisling O’Neill is the National President of Network Ireland and Manager of ArcLabs at WIT.

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