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Saint Patrick's Day: Facts About the Green and Spending

Holidays are almost certain budget-busters for a lot of consumers. The pressures of keeping up with all the holiday hype is almost too much to handle for many of us, while even more of us will end up shelling out cash we don’t have to satisfy a perceived expectation. But believe it or not, St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t bring in nearly as much green as you might think. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, St. Patrick’s Day is recognized as the lowest consumer spending holiday ever. So where does the money get spent on St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s a look at some financial facts surrounding this festive holiday:

Consumer Spending

We tend to spend a lot of money around the holidays. So much so that many of us willingly put ourselves into deep credit card debt in exchange for just a few hours of holiday cheer. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t much different, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Christmas. Even though annual consumer spending for St. Patty’s Day has been holding steady in the billions, the average amount of money that one person will actually spend on green apparel and Irish-themed fun is an underwhelming $35.27.

The Green River

Dying the Chicago River green is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition that’s been adhered to religiously since 1961, thanks to the efforts of The Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union. It takes upwards of 40 pounds of this vegetable-based dye to transform the flowing Chicago River into a rich-green splendor for St. Patrick’s Day. The dye itself is actually bright orange in color, but when mixed with the dark blue water, will turn to a luminous emerald green. Nobody really knows how much it costs to make the Chicago River flow green, but it’s estimated that it can be as high as $133 per minute between materials and labor. That’s a lot of green!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage is a signature St. Patrick’s Day dish and a favorite among the Irish-American community. It’s an affordable feast that’s easy to prepare and so good to eat. One 12-ounce can of corned beef costs about $5 and cabbage is about 44 cents per pound. Add these ingredients in the slow cooker along with some onion, carrots and red potatoes for a delicious Irish meal the whole family will enjoy.

Compared to other holidays, St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t cost that much green for the average consumer. Of course, you could always overdo it by going out to the bars, restaurants and special day trips, but you don’t have to go that route to have a great time. If you’re on a budget, you should keep it simple this St. Patrick’s Day. The last thing you want to do after a night of celebrating is to start your day with an online search for a “payday loans near me” because of all the money you spent. Keep it simple – just throw on a green t-shirt, make a traditional Irish meal at home and add a little green dye to your drink. That’s all it takes to stay on budget and still take part in the celebration.