I nearly didn’t take the call telling me I’d won €25,000
3 MIN READ
Niamh nearly didn’t find out she’d won €25,000 in our Goalsaver competition
“When I had my mid-morning break from work, I saw I’d a missed call from a number I didn’t know and I wondered should I call it back or not. I thought, well if they want to get in touch with me they’ll call again.” Niamh put her phone back in her bag and went back to work at a cosmetics counter in a pharmacy. When she came out for lunch there were two more missed calls from the same number. “I thought, oh, this might be something important, you know, three missed calls! So I called them back.”
Saving for rainy days and holidays
Niamh entered our competition to win €25,000 when she opened her Goalsaver account which she was recommended to do during a review of her finances with Bank of Ireland over the phone. She decided to open a Goalsaver partly because she wanted to save enough to take her family on holidays and partly to build up a ‘rainy day’ fund. “I think that if you can just put away a bit every month and forget all about it then that’s the best thing to do,” she says. “You have something there to fall back on, something there if you ever really need it.”
‘I am and I’m not a saver’
When I ask her is she a saver, she admits that she is but only if she has something in mind. “I need to have a goal because if you’re not sure what you’re saving for you start dipping into it, a bit here and a bit there, and it’s gone. She saved up for her first car, a Renault Clio, which she only just changed a few months ago. She saves up for holidays and any of the bigger things she needs. “When you start working,” she says, “I think a direct debit is your best friend taking the money out of your account into savings when you get paid. You almost don’t notice it.”
‘Well,’ she said, ‘you won!’
When Niamh rang the number back, she spoke to Kathy from Bank of Ireland who first asked her a few questions then said ‘remember you entered a Goalsaver competition to win €25,000?’ Niamh is the second eldest of four children and has an older sister and a younger brother and sister. They all grew up in the family home on the farm in the countryside in County Meath where Niamh and her younger brother still live. Her dad is a farmer of beef cattle and my mother is a special needs assistant. “When Kathy said that,” Niamh admits, “I stopped and I put my hand out to grab a rail because I needed to hold onto something.” “Well,” said Kathy, “you won!”
‘I was going to go to Brown Thomas to blow it all’
“I had a million and one things I was initially going to spend it on,” says Niamh. Her first thought was to buy a designer handbag. “I was going to go to Brown Thomas to blow it all.” That was her early reaction to the shock of winning but, after the first couple of days, she says “I got sensible. I started thinking ‘I could buy this and I could buy that’ but then I thought ‘bring everyone on a family holiday and then just save the rest’. More than saving it, Niamh really just wanted to forget about it, to put it out of her mind so that she wasn’t tempted to spend the unexpected windfall.
‘You’re not to touch it!’
When Niamh was growing up her parents would always encourage her to be careful with money, to save and not to spend money that she didn’t have. So when Niamh told them that she’d won the Goalsaver competition their reaction wasn’t really a surprise. “My parents first reaction when I told them about the money and that I was taking them on a family holiday was ‘no you’re not, don’t be silly, you’re not to touch it!’” However, Niamh managed to talk them round in the end.
‘That’s a deposit for a house right there!’
When she told her friends she’d won €25,000 some of them were suspicious at first. But once Niamh managed to reassure them that, yes, she had spoken to the bank and yes it was all genuine, they soon began giving her their suggestions for how she might spend the money. “Lots of people said to me straight away ‘that’s a deposit for a house right there!’ Well, I’m not looking to get on the property ladder any time soon but it’s nice to think that the money is there when I need it as it would take me a long time to save it up otherwise.”
Getting the family holiday sorted
Because of the farm, Niamh’s family are limited to certain times of year when they can go away. “Summer time isn’t great, as it’s flat out so maybe we will go off season,” she says. One of Niamh sisters is living out in Dubai so one obvious destination for a family holiday might have been Dubai. This past Christmas, however, with no idea that she might end up winning the Goalsaver competition, Niamh helped pay for flights for her parents to go out to see the sister in Dubai at Easter. So Dubai is already ticked off the list and Niamh is thinking of the Canary islands instead.
‘There’s a shop right down the road!’
“We always used to holiday in Ireland when we were kids,” says Niamh. “Always Ireland but to different places. It’d be Kerry one year for a week or Westport for a week. We’d always get away for a week somewhere even if we had to rearrange it because Dad had some work on the farm to do.” Of course, while the family holidays were great they didn’t always see much sun. “We didn’t always get the weather but it was a holiday. We’d hire a house or a cottage and we’d think it was the coolest place ever. You know when you’re a kid and you think anything different is amazing.” Niamh admits that part of the attraction of the holidays was that they got to live in a town for a week. “We loved staying in a town because we lived in such a rural part of the country. We’d be like, ‘Oh my God, we’re in a town! There’s a shop right down the road!’”
A lucky charm
Since Niamh won the competition, her friends at work have been hoping that her good luck will rub off on them. “We do the Lotto at work and since my win I’ve been doing the Lotto on behalf of our little syndicate, rubbing the notes, everything. They’re all depending on me! But, so far, the luck isn’t spreading just yet.”
Find out more
GoalSaver helps you to save regularly for things like home improvements, a wedding, a car, a new baby, a holiday, like Niamh, or for whatever you feel will make a difference in your life. Find out how Goalsaver can help you, here.