My money matters, with TV's Sarah Beeny

Published by Rob Goodman on 13 November 2014.
Last updated on 14 November 2014

Sarah Beeny

What was your inspiration for getting into the property business?

I had always wanted to be financially independent when I was growing up and I still feel that way now.You want to stand on your own two feet - and I wasn't very good at being told what to do – so being self-employed was the best road for me.

I was really interested in the concept of home, friends and family, so when I was 23 I started a property development company with my brother and my boyfriend, Graham Swift, who is now my husband.

How did you end up on television?

After working with my brother and Graham for about 10 years, I was invited to do a screen test for Channel 4. I had met the lady at a hen party funnily enough and I am the type of person that says yes to pretty much everything, so I went to the audition - that was 13 years ago.

What was your first job and what did you buy with your first month's wages? My first job was selling ice cream when I was about 15. I did it for around 10 months and saved the money to go inter-railing for a month around Italy, Spain, and France. I didn't earn a lot and my dad actually matched what I had saved, too.

What has been the most expensive indulgence you've ever bought? And was it worth it?

That would have to be my Thermomix food processor. It cost £885, which I know seems outrageous for a food processor but it is amazing and does everything including cooking. I bought it last year and it is already well worth its price.

It does everything you want it to do, which is great. I am very short of time but when I am home I want to be able to have homemade food, so this is perfect.

What has been your biggest waste of money?

Years ago, I paid around £6,000 for a TVR SI. I had been involved in a car accident and my face had been smashed, with part of my lip badly injured.

Anyway, I had planned to use the insurance money to get some plastic surgery done but when it came through I thought, “It doesn't look that bad,” and that is how I bought the car. I thought it would be really cool but it didn't always work and was such a waste of money.

What have you been up to recently, businesswise?

When it comes to selling a house and making such a big decision, people want to be able to pick up a phone. Earlier this year I released a book called Sarah Beeny's DIY Jobs and at Christmas I relaunched

It is a paid service that gives people a manager to help them through their marketing and selling process, much like a high street agent has done for years but with the benefit of online, up-to-date info and at a fraction of the cost. I am very proud of it.

And appropriately, my new show is about people taking the plunge and selling online, too.

Can money make you happy?

I would say that having no money makes you very unhappy but I don't believe that the more money you have, the more happy you are.

Having sufficient money is the key. I do think you can reach a point where having too much can make you unhappy, as does the endless pursuit of it.

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