■ The actress could never give up going to the theatre and dreams of a round-the-world trip
What was your first job?
I was a receptionist at the Jaguar showroom in Park Lane when I was 18. I got the job through a temping agency. I had to sit there and do very little apart from say ‘Oh, hello, I’ll just go and get a sales agent.’ It was minimum wage — enough to cover travel and my lunch, and since it was the 1990s, I spent anything left over on a pair of Buffalo trainers.
What has been your best investment?
The flat in north London I bought with my partner. We bought it five years ago. My partner’s an actor as well, and as we’re both self-employed, we had to show three years of accounts. But from a life point of view my best investment has been travelling. Some of those trips have opened my eyes to the world, such as going to Japan. It’s altered my aesthetic outlook.
What would be your money-no-object purchase?
A round-the-world trip for the family. I’ve never been to South America. I’ve only been to Australia once and that was for a day for a film — some scenes that had to look like Trinidad and they decided to do those in Australia. I only had one day’s filming but had to come back for another job and it was one of those situations you spend more time on the plane than at the destination. So I’d want to go back.
What luxury wouldn’t you give up?
Going to the theatre. It can be expensive. Lots of theatres offer cheap nights or deals but they tend to be for people under 25. At the National, some seats can be £60 and then you have to pay for a babysitter so you think: ‘I’m spending x amount of pounds per minute on this,’ and if the play’s very short you then think you want some bells and whistles to get your money’s worth. You can stand in the pit at Shakespeare’s Globe (pictured) and that’s always a bargain.
What’s your biggest financial regret?
I’m sure I’ve misspent in the past, but I don’t let it niggle me. I just move on and make sure I don’t do it again. There’s no point holding on to regrets.
Are you a spender or a saver?
A spender. An actor’s life is feast or famine, I tighten my belt when I need to, but I also enjoy spending money when I have it. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
Are you savvy with your personal finances?
Not especially. I’m not an idiot, but I find it hard to sustain an interest in investments or moving money around. I do enough not to get fined. You need time in your day and space in your brain to remember to look around for the best prices on utilities and things, but I can never be bothered.
What was your last impulse purchase?
I spend money on books even though I don’t have time to read them. I went into a local bookshop once looking for a book of poetry I heard about on a podcast, and ended up leaving with three different things I wasn’t planning to buy. I ended up chatting to the sales person and he kept recommending things. It’s the fantasy version of your life, where you think you’re the type of person who has time to sit around in an armchair reading books — but I have a small child, and don’t. And I don’t have space to keep books, so I pass them on to the charity shop.
Cash or card?
Card because it’s convenient. A bit of me does think we’re getting increasingly removed from what a transaction is and what it costs us. But contactless is so easy, isn’t it?
■ Hattie, 40, stars in conspiracy thriller drama Tracks: Chimera, Thursdays, 2.15pm, Radio 4; and on the BBC Sounds app