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Will St. Patrick's Day Break the Bank?

It is a small holiday. No one gets the day off work. The only presents you receive are unwanted pinches. All food - be it bread or beer - is a uniform, mildly-distasteful shade of moldy green.

But that's not to say that St. Patrick's Day isn't mighty. March 17th is about celebrating a nation's heritage as much as it is to indulge in a pint or two (or three). St. Paddy's is often overlooked in favor of such blockbuster boozing holidays as New Year's Eve and the 4th of July. But does it deserve to be stuck in the minor leagues of spending?

Let's look to this year's projected St. Pat's credit card bills to find out. Total predicted participants: 122 million, or 52.4% of Americans Total predicted spending: $4.14 billion Predicted credit card bill per person: $32.79

St. Patrick's Day 2011 Trends

This year, the holiday dedicated to green can anticipate even more green – dollars that is. Over half of the country is planning on celebrating St. Patrick's Day in some way or another: over 7% more than last year and the most in eight years total. Forget unemployment rates – is the partying spirit a better gauge of a recovering economy?

House Party vs. Bar Hopping

Obviously, age has a lot to do with it: if you're still in school, or making minimum wage at your first out-of-college job, your student credit card isn't going to get you very far. For the younger demographic (18-24), St. P-themed house parties are up 2.4% in popularity over 2009. Slightly older partiers (25-34) will enjoy a night out on the town and, presumably, swipe the credit card a few more times. Their average predicted spend is around $41.30.

Anticipated St. Patrick's Day Credit Card Receipts

House Party Receipt


Bar Hopping Receipt


Unanticipated St. Patrick's Day Credit Card Charges

Those planning on hitting up a St. Patrick's Day house party should be able to keep their credit card charges within budget, save for an unplanned late-night Irish taco (it sounds fancy, but it's just a midnight stroll to a 24-hour Taco Bell in St. Pat's honor). But for those hitting the town this year, be aware of all the extra charges that could spring up on your credit card.

Should You Leave Your Credit Card at Home?

Worried you're going to overspend without the cold green glare of George, Ben, and Abe staring back at you? Consider leaving the credit cards at home to keep yourself on a holiday budget, but beware: some cash-carrying patrons end up with a very long walk home if they spend every nickel.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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Anna's picture

I can't wait to check the 'texts from last night' website to revel in the aftermath of all that drinking on St. Patrick's day. Whee!