As St. Patrick's Day approaches, you may already know where you'll be spending money: green clothes, green house decorations, green food coloring and green beer. However, have you taken time to actually set a budget for your celebration?
According to data from the National Retail Federation, the average partygoer will spend about $35 to honor the patron saint of Ireland this year. All that spending adds up to a whopping $4.8 billion for St. Patrick's Day.
While $35 may sound like a relatively modest amount, it's no secret that some people take St. Patrick's Day a bit more seriously than others. In my hometown of Chicago, everyone circles this date on the calendar. The city dyes the Chicago River green. Bars are packed with the biggest crowds of the season. Late in the day, the streets are crowded with stumbling patrons who have spent significantly more than $35 on Guinness and Jameson. If you plan to celebrate your authentic (or adopted-for-the-day) Irish heritage, it can be easy to throw your savings plan aside.
St. Patrick's Day doesn't have to take a big toll on your personal finances. Holly Perez, consumer money expert at Intuit, recommends thinking about ways to keep costs low as St. Patrick's Day approaches.
"Look for simple ways to cut corners while planning your get-together," Perez says. "Consider turning it into a potluck where everyone brings their favorite green treat."
If you would prefer to keep the party away from your house, Perez suggests combing through a list of local events. Many cities host free or low-cost parades and family-friendly festivals.
How much do you plan to spend on St. Patrick's Day this year? Are you worried that you might wake up with an overspending hangover?