No matter where you are, March 17 is a day of celebration all around the world. From Australia to Jordan, to the US and Ireland itself, many thousands of people will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day – Irish or not. Even if no one you knows celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a pretty big deal, with people spending $4.7 billion celebrating the holiday.
If you’d like to celebrate the lucky holiday but save a little green in the process, here are some savvy tips. Take it from me: my family is Irish and goes all out for the holiday. I’ve learned some tricks to save a little bit over the years!
Set Your Strategy
The best way to plan for a frugal St. Patrick’s Day celebration is to plan ahead of time. Decide now if you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at all, but be realistic. Do you have a spouse or friend who “is totally Irish” and will want you to celebrate with them? If so, determine when you want to go out – weekend before, after, or day of the holiday? Look up bars online, or check out your local weekly newspaper to see if any bars are offering St. Patrick’s Day specials. By figuring out where to go ahead of time, and scoping out the deals, you’ll save yourself money by not getting dragged into spending more than you planned.
Speaking of planning, pay with cash. Determine how much you want to spend ahead of time so that, after a few pints of Guinness, you don’t feel like chasing the rainbow into debt-town. This will also let you have a little more fun, because by planning out your allotted St. Patrick’s entertainment budget, you won’t feel guilty for spending money you don’t have.
Finally, you might want to wear green, but don’t buy anything just because you feel you should. If you don’t own any green, see if you can find a green pin, hat, or bracelet (yes, even the guys). You may even have a friend who owns a green shirt you can borrow. Or you can use my favorite response when someone asks why you’re not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day: your underwear is green. Just be careful who you say it to – they might want to see (or you might gross them out), so use that answer cautiously.
Save Money on Drinks
The easiest way to save money on St. Patrick’s Day (other than not celebrating it at all) is celebrating it the weekend before the actual day. However, many bars have gotten used to that, and use the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day as a way to continue (or begin) the celebration. One bar near me is actually calling all of March “St. Patrick’s Day Month” as an excuse to offer green beer all month.
If that’s what you’re up against, you have a couple of options. If you checked out all the best St. Patrick’s drink deals near you and not found anything worthwhile, you can still save money on alcohol. Drink beer instead of wine or cocktails. While the cocktails are sure to be some concoction of Jameson, they’re also likely to cost you more. If you must have your Jameson, that’s fine, but stick to your budget and move to beer once you’ve started exhausting your cash reserve.
Not into drinking on a Tuesday night? Understandable! If you still want to go out with friends and not be accosted with “you’re not drinking?!” questions all night, order a seltzer or club soda. Even a regular soda will work. Non-alcoholic drinks are more affordable than alcoholic drinks, and no one will be able to tell if you’re not drinking.
Speaking of drinking, if you don’t have a designated driver chosen, choose cheap(er) transit. If you’re lucky enough to live near a city with a decent metro system, you’re in luck! For everyone else, you’ll want to have a system in place before you go out drinking. Set up Uber or Lyft on your phone, if you don’t have it already. St. Patrick’s night might be a “surge” night (where prices increase because there are more riders than drivers), so keep an eye on the pricing or have a few friends you can split the cost with.
Of course, one way you can save the most money is by staying in and doing something at home. Make your own Irish shooters, or warm yourself up with a toasty Irish coffee. Sing Irish songs and pretend you can Riverdance with your friends. Personally, I’m a fan of dressing in all green, visiting the bar with some friends for an hour or so, then going home and eating some (store-bought) soda bread. It may not be really exciting, but it does save money!
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How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? How do you save money on the holiday – not celebrating at all, or celebrating at home?