Tuesday 27 September 2016

'Save for those down times, so you don't stress waiting for the up times'

Money talks: Alison Curtis

John Cradden

Published 07/08/2016 | 02:30

Today FM's Alison Curtis. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Today FM's Alison Curtis. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Alison Curtis presents a breakfast show on Today FM every Saturday (8-11am) and Sunday (7am-9am). We caught up with her to find out her thoughts on money.

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What is the most important lesson about money that your career in radio has taught you?

I suppose what I've learned is that it's a mostly steady ship but there are some ups and downs. So save for those down times, so you don't stress waiting for the up times again. Also, I have been lucky enough to have had a good number of guests on my shows over the years who have provided really great advice when it comes to managing your finances. So free advice!

What's the most expensive thing about raising children?

In my case, it is the little things that add up. I can't seem to go for a weekly shop without buying her a new book or a little toy or some treat. I am sure if I tallied those 'little' things up across the year, I would get a shock.

Are you better off than your parents?

I don't think I am better off - I don't think many people of my generation are. But it is hard to compare because they lived a totally different time and in a very different market. Growing up in Canada, we had a big house in a smallish town with seven bedrooms, which wouldn't have been uncommon. My father, in particular, was very, very good with his money.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

A car. My husband and I perhaps got swept away when we were buying our current car. I was seven months pregnant and safety for our expected child was the priority. We went away with a few more bells and whistles than we went in intending to buy.

What was your worst job?

One year I worked as a tour guide in a historic Georgian house and had to dress as a maid - not the sexy kind! It was a proper costume, with loads of layers, and in the heat of Canadian summer was very uncomfortable. We also had to cook over an open fire and one day the edge of my skirt caught on fire and I thought, 'I have to do better than this.'

What was your biggest financial mistake?

I have never been extravagant but I could have learned to save my pennies better throughout my 20s. I think when my daughter arrived, I started to think more about the future, even planning a bit more on monthly bills because it wasn't just about me any more.

Android or iPhone?

iPhone. Apple has this way of sucking you in and then you can never leave them. I know a lot of friends are very happy with their Android phones, but I am an Apple person now.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

Yes, since becoming self-employed, I have become much better with my money and planning ahead, although more out of necessity than want. So I monitor my account a lot more closely than I did before.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

This is going to sound horrible, but that's a question for my hubby.

iTunes or Spotify?

Both. I recently got a trial for Spotify and am enjoying it. I wouldn't be on it every day but it is a great resource. The kids are all talking about it.

What was the last thing you bought online?

I went through a phase before my daughter was born of doing a lot of online shopping for clothes. That has all stopped now, but I did acquire a few nice things during that time.

Do you have a mortgage? Is it fixed, variable or tracker?

Yes, we bought our house in late 2004 at a time before house prices went crazy. So we have owned through the outrageous boom, the bust and are seeing growth again.

Cash or card?

Mostly card. With contactless payment, things are so easy now. There are times, however, when a purchase is so small that I wish I could just remember to carry a tenner or five euro with me.

Do you ever haggle?

No, I'm not very good at it. I did try it once at a famous shopping centre in Shanghai, China, where stall owners expect you to haggle. I was horrible at it and was a dream come true for them.

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