| March 17, 2014

Staying Out of the Red while You Party Green for St. Patty’s Day

Making the most of St. Patrick’s Day without a debt hangover on Tuesday.

The dreaded credit card debt hangover is usually a term used at the beginning of the year to describe how people feel when they realize how much they spent on the winter holidays. Still, it can just as easily describe the sinking feeling many revelers will have after a heavy night of partying for St. Patrick’s Day.

Along with a physical hangover, it’s entirely possible you could wake up on Tuesday with a debt hangover after spending more than you expected to celebrate. This year’s St. Patrick’s Day consumer survey by the National Retail Federation puts the total price tag for celebrations at $4.8 billion – an average cost of $35.78 per partygoer.

That may not sound like much, but remember it’s just an average. You don’t want to be one of those people that go too far. A debt hangover can strike at any holiday – even smaller ones like St. Patrick’s Day. Whether it’s spending too much on silly St. Pat’s fashion or simply making the mistake of opening a tab at the bar that night, debt hangovers have a nasty tendency of popping up at the holidays because you’re too busy enjoying yourself to keep a close eye on how much you’re spending.

3 tips for avoiding a debt hangover on St. Patrick’s Day

These tips can help you avoid big credit card bills at the end of March by keeping your St. Patrick’s Day spending in check:

  1. Wear green without going overboard. If you have funny St. Patty’s outfits already – sweaters, hats, headbands, etc. – and you can recycle old costumes, then that’s fine. What you want to avoid is dropping a lot of cash on a full-scale costume that can cost $40 or more at a store like Party City. Instead, dig some fun green items out of your closet and supplement with bargain rack accessories like plastic bowlers and headbands.
  2. How much corned beef can you really eat? One of the mistakes that easy to make today is going overboard on the amount of food you buy for a St. Patrick’s Day Meal or party. Corned beef and soda bread is great, but most Americans aren’t exactly keen on a steady diet of these Irish staples. Be reasonable about the amount of Irish-themed food and drink you get for your house.
  3. Avoid open tabs at all costs. A debt hangover is bad enough, but it’s even worse if you got it by opening a tab so all your friends and fellow patrons could get real hangovers on your dime. According to the NRF survey, one of three St. Patty’s celebrants will head to a bar to mark the occasion. You should pay for drinks one at a time and avoid allowing your credit card to be used to open a tab for your table. It’s really easy for your friends to disappear at the end of the night and leave you to foot the bill yourself.

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