Keeping in the green on St. Patrick’s Day

2024-03-07  3 minute read

Marianne Steele-MacSween

Lifestyle Debt

The expression, “Keeping in the black,” means you have money in the bank. Today it’s all about Keeping in the Green in honour of the lucky holiday, St. Patrick’s Day!

There are many symbols and stories associated with St. Patrick’s Day but none more so than green. That’s why pubs, houses, and businesses decorate with all things every March 17th. Leprechauns and pots of gold are popular St. Patty’s icons and people wear shamrocks and four-leaf clovers on their clothing or in their hair. It’s a fun holiday even if you don’t relate to the religious or cultural sides of it. So in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some tips on staying “in the green.”

Happy young woman counting profit on calculator at laptop computer

Celebrate at home

Keep in the green by skipping the loud and crowded pubs and hosting your own party at home. Pull out the construction paper and make your own decorations. There are so many creative and easy ideas online these days. You can snip out some shamrocks in no time! Have a potluck and get each of your guests to bring a dish, snack, or dessert that is green-themed, Irish-themed (hello Irish Stew), or starts with the letter P for Patrick. Who doesn’t love perogies in March?

Make your own signature drink

If you’re supplying the drinks, create a signature cocktail and mocktail for everyone to enjoy. A budget-friendly option is the Pot of Gold: ice, lemon-lime soda or tonic water, a spirit of your choice, a lemon wedge for the “gold”, and a few drops of festive green food colouring. Of course, if you don’t want to get that fancy, just keep using that green food colouring because green beer will always do the trick.

Dress green

Dress green while thinking green! Check your closet for green clothing or costume items at home, or maybe your friends have some saved from past years. Look around the house or thrift store before buying anything new. And think about if you really want to spend that money anyway on something you’ll likely only wear or use once.

A green night out

If you do go out, keep more green in your pocket with a few simple strategies. Look for pubs that offer free cover at the door. Get the daily meal or drink special instead of full-priced menu items. Better yet, see if free community events are going on like parades, dances, church services, or movie nights. You can be out on the town all night without emptying your wallet.

Plan for a green future

If you’re not really one to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you can spend the day supporting a green environment, not only helping your future but everyone’s future as well. Buy used where you can. Find furniture, vehicles, books, clothes, games, and more on Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing Project, or other thrift apps.

There are many ways to be more mindful of green choices around your home. Minimize household food waste. Make your own household cleaners and re-use empty bottles. Reduce plastic waste by switching to shampoo/conditioner bars. Add a layer of clothing if you’re cold instead of automatically turning up the heat. Reduce your water usage by flushing less often, keeping water off when brushing your teeth, doing laundry when there’s enough to fill the whole basket, and skipping unnecessary chores like washing your car or watering your lawn. Educate yourself by taking advantage of free online seminars or courses on personal sustainability. And re-use holiday decorations from year to year — like St. Patrick’s Day for example!

Keep in the green all year long

You don’t have to wait for St. Patrick’s Day — you can keep in the green all year long. Fill your pot o’ gold with these helpful everyday saving ideas:

  • Use cash whenever possible so that you can see exactly what you’re spending
  • Build an emergency fund by setting a small amount aside every payday in a new account where you can easily deposit but not easily access until necessary; utilize government benefits such as the GST, Climate Action Incentive Program, and the Advanced Canada Workers Benefit to build this fund
  • Pay off loans with the highest interest first
  • Shop your local flyers for competitive pricing to try and stave off rising inflation
  • Plan your meals and snacks around what’s on sale
  • If you get an income tax refund, pay your debt
  • Think about “wants vs needs” when shopping. It is easy to impulse buy, especially when online shopping, and just as easy to forget how much you’re spending. Look at your monthly statements and identify where your discretionary spending is going and adjust accordingly
  • Take advantage of government grants when planning for your children’s education and open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

If you’ve been doing everything you can to reduce your spending but you just can’t find that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow, consider meeting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Maybe you need support putting a debt repayment plan together. Or perhaps your finances have become unmanageable and a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal make the most sense for you. No matter where you’re at, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can work with you to review your financial situation and hopefully get you back in the green.

Consultation icon