Photo (cc) by Magic Robot
Hang out in my favorite Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans and you’ll hear this popular toast more than a few times:
May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!
While we can’t keep your shirt clean for you, we can make sure you get through this St. Patrick’s Day with a clear conscience and a stack of coins left in your pocket, even after a pint or two. Follow these tips and you can dress up, go out, and get green without blowing green this year!
1. Wearing green
When I was in school, you had to wear something green on St. Patrick’s Day or you were fair game for pinching, but the tradition goes beyond grade school. The Huffington Post says the color symbolizes a few things – the green in the Irish flag, the country’s nickname “The Emerald Isle,” and the clovers St. Patrick used in his teachings.
If you don’t have anything green in your closet, (a problem I seem to face every year), take a few tips from our story 23 Tips to Save on Clothing and start your St. Paddy’s savings with your wardrobe. For example:
- Hit thrift stores. Odds are someone picked up a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-shirt last year, wore it once, and dropped it off at Goodwill. Now you can buy that barely used green T-shirt for $2 or less.
- Check out discount stores. Stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls usually have a small selection of green gear.
- Borrow. If you’re only going to wear it once, why not borrow it? Call up some friends and see if they have any green clothes or accessories you could borrow for the night.
2. Buy your pints for less
If you’re planning on buying a pint or two this St. Paddy’s, you’re not alone. The global corporate-relations director of Guinness, Beth Davies Ryan, told National Geographic that about 13 million pints of Guinness are bought on St. Patrick’s Day, more than twice the typical 5.5 million pints bought any other day of the year.
If everyone paid $5 for their pint at the bar this year, that would add up to $65 million spent on just one brand of Irish stout, but you don’t have to spend anywhere near that. In 5 Tips to Save on Beer, we gave you plenty of ways to enjoy a cold one for less, like:
- Comparison shop online. The site Saveonbrew.com locates beer sales in your area at drugstores, grocery stores, and national chains.
- Read reviews before you head to the bars. User-submitted reviews can help you determine a price point and find the best deals. Check out sites like Yelp.com or Urbanspoon.com.
- Hunt for deals with your smartphone. If you live in or near a popular metro area, the DrinkOwl smartphone app can help you find St. Patrick’s Day deals at local bars.
3. Find cheap grub
This year countless people will sit down to the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal, corned beef and cabbage, but that meal wasn’t always a tradition. The History Channel says that corned beef didn’t appear until the turn of the century when many Irish people immigrated to New York. The immigrants were actually looking for a cheap replacement in place of Irish bacon.
Personally, tradition or not, I’ve never cared for corned beef. Instead, I grab a bite out at a restaurant while I’m out on the town. If you’re planning on skipping the tradition and doing the same, take a few tips from our story 15 Ways to Save on Eating Out and save a few bucks this year, such as:
- Follow your favorite restaurant. Follow your local restaurants on Twitter or friend them on Facebook and you might get access to special deals only mentioned through social networking.
- Eat a late lunch (or an early dinner). If you dine in during the restaurant’s off time, you’ll get a huge discount. I save 25 to 50 percent by ordering off the lunch menu, which many places serve until 3 or 4 p.m.
- Snag cheap deals online. Check sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for St. Patrick’s Day deals.
4. Go out on the town
Some cities host fun and free St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Chicago dyes a part of the Chicago River green. New Orleans hosts a huge block party and parade, and New York City has one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the U.S.
If you want to go out this year, start by checking your newspaper for free activities: You’re likely to find something, especially during the day. But even if your town isn’t hosting a free party, we can still help you save some green. Check out 19 Tips to Save on Entertainment for a whole bunch of money-saving ideas like:
Get a free sitter. Offer to swap babysitting duties with a friend. Exchange St. Patrick’s Day for a night of their choice and everybody wins.
- Avoid ticket surcharges. Planning on seeing an Irish Celtic band this year? Buy your tickets at the box office and avoid the online purchasing surcharge.
- Stay home with a movie. Check out your local library for free video rentals or pick up a Redbox movie for $1.20. Cook up some corned beef and you’re ready to go.
How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year? Tell us about it below or on our Facebook page!