Year in, year out, you dream of having the time of your life at your very own St. Patrick’s Day party. But there’s only one problem: money’s tight. Really, really tight. And you’d hate to disappoint everyone by calling it off.

You could always play hooky or lock yourself in your room and turn your phone on “do not disturb” mode. Or you could make the few dollars that you do have stretch to pay for that party you promisedIf the latter sounds like the better plan, here are some St. Patrick’s Day party ideas to get you started:

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1. Run the Numbers

How much dough are you working with? Before you set foot in a store, jot down the amount of cash you have at your disposal for the party.

If you skip this step, chances are that you’ll go overboard and spend money you don’t have. St. Patrick would never forgive you for it.

2. Go Shopping

With your budget in hand, it’s time to go shopping. But if I were you, I’d be strategic and plan ahead (i.e. make a list) to make sure I don’t run out of money. It will also stop you from buying stuff you really don’t need, like shamrock shaped ice-cube makers or green hair dye. Are you really that Irish?

Decor

Since your guests are coming to have a good time, don’t spend too much money here. 

Think about it: no one’s going to look around and say, “Wow, the walls are pretty bare.”

Stores like Walmart, Party City, Dollar General, usually have great deals on decor. And if you want to maximize savings, stick with solid green and gold decor. The items with Shamrocks or Leprechauns all over them will cost more. Who needs to look at tiny, ginger, mythical creatures anyway?

If there’s a Dollar Tree near you, you’re in luck. It’s a veritable treasure trove (pun intended) when it comes to cheap and cheerful. St. Patrick’s Day is all about being tacky and having alcohol.  

And if you’re wondering about formal invitations, I would ditch those as well. There are tons to choose from at party stores, but a text message will suffice. Let’s be real here — who actually sends formal invitations anymore? You don’t even find these for most weddings, much less a St. Patrick’s Day party.

Budget: $10 to $15

If You Fancy Splurging a Little . . .

  • Deck your walls with Leprechaun swirls.
  • Let people know where the party is with St. Patrick’s Day porch signs on Amazon.
  • This tablecloth will let your guests know you’re serious about St. Patrick’s Day parties.

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Food and Drinks

Potluck, anyone? Have your guests bring an assortment of scrumptious party foods and tasty treats. Otherwise, you could spend well over $100 on food and drinks alone.

To ensure that you don’t have five of the same dishes, have everyone tell you what they’re bringing beforehand or create a list of budget-friendly dishes and drinks and let them choose. Hint: Pinterest will be your best friend for Irish-themed party dishes and treats.

Another tip: skip the party platters, since it’s much cheaper to make dishes on your own. 

And be on the lookout for coupons and special promotions in the sales circulars. Or you can download an app or browser extension to help you spot all the best deals in your local area. 

How about alcoholic beverages? Maybe you can do without them or ask your guests to bring their own.

Budget: $25

3. Music

No need to hire a DJ for your St. Patrick’s Day Party. Pandora will suffice. Or you can create a playlist of your favorite tunes on YouTube. If you have a smart TV, you can stream tunes directly from that. Or have a friend bring their portable speakers over. The more, the merrier, and the more your neighbors will love you.

Budget: free

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4. Entertainment

Now that you’ve covered all the bases, the last order of business is entertainment. You could always buy a few games from the party store or find printable games online, but the cheapest option is to let guests entertain themselves.

It may sound like a silly idea, but think about the parties you’ve attended in the past. Did you spend your time playing games or chatting it up? Exactly!

But if you insist, a costume contest or dance competition could be a viable option. Let’s be honest, though — most people just want to get drunk.

Budget: $5 to $10

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Final St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas and Tips

As I mentioned earlier, you want to start planning early for your budget-friendly St. Patrick’s Day bash. If you wait until Friday afternoon to start shopping, expect slim pickings, which will mean you spend more money. Most importantly, cash is king — your wallet will thank you. Be safe and have fun!

Key Takeaways

  • Plan ahead.
  • Coupons and sales promos are the way to go.
  • Have your guests pitch in with a potluck-style dinner.
  • Try the BYOB rule for guests who want alcoholic beverages.