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Save 55% on beer this Sunday

Hoisting a pint (or more) in honor of St. Patrick? Your beer money goes further at a house party.

By Donna_Freedman Mar 15, 2013 10:37AM
Logo: Beer (Corbis)You don't have to be Irish to party on March 17. If you use the holiday as an excuse to sip some extra suds and want to do it frugally,, listen to Angie Picardo's advice: Beer money goes further at a house party.

How much further? For the cost of eight pints in a pub you could drink 14 pints at home, according to Picardo, a financial analyst for the NerdWallet personal finance site.

(One hopes those 14 would be shared among friends.)

"If consumers spend the projected average of $38 on the beer-heavy holiday, this extreme price gap could be costing Americans an extra $2.6 billion in a single day," she writes in this NerdWallet post.


The $38 figure comes from the National Retail Federation and includes all St. Patrick's Day expenditures: corned beef, green necklaces, et al. But for her article Picardo assumed that the entire $38 will be spent on beer.

After all, one or two pints into the evening some folks start proclaiming, "Next round's on me!" -- which could cost $38 all by itself.

For some, the pub experience is what makes St. Patrick's Day semi-authentically Irish. A survey from Spectrem Group indicates that 58% of people ages 40 and younger will go to bars on March 17.

It's hard to pass up a 55% savings, though, especially when that's just the price of the brew -- overindulging in a public place could wind up costing you in other ways, too.

Party responsibly

All 50 states now define driving under the influence as 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, according to an MSN Money article called "DUI: The $10,000 ride home." Some states have separate charges for lower blood-alcohol levels, e.g., "driving while impaired."

A few examples of what an arrest may cost:
  • Bail: $150 to $2,500
  • Legal fees: $2,000 to as much as $25,000
  • Fines: $300 to $1,200
  • Alcohol evaluation and treatment: $150 to $2,000
  • Insurance rate hikes: $4,500 or more over time

Note: That $10,000 figure does not include accidents or injuries.

It's impossible to say how many pints of stout it takes to arrive at 0.08 BAC, but for some people it doesn't take much. offers a "What's Your Limit?" online calculator, with the caveat that you should "err on the side of caution" when guesstimating impairment.

I don't drink, but if I did I wouldn't rely even on a portable Breathalyzer. Instead, I'd ask someone for a ride or call a taxi. (Some bars will pay for the cab.)

Whether you're pub-crawling, celebrating at a friend's home or hosting a party at your own place, make sure no one gets behind the wheel if he's impaired. Call a cab or let the tiddly one sack out on the couch -- that way, you get to wake him the next morning by shouting, "Erin go home!"

P.S. Don't forget to factor in the cost to your reputation once those iPhone pictures start making the rounds. You know, the ones taken after your fifth beer, when you're wearing a giant green hat and attempting an Irish jig. Friends don't let friends do the Riverdance.

More on MSN Money:

Mar 15, 2013 12:03PM
Wow, the author of this article must be about as intelligent as a sea slug, as proven by the fact that she actually spent the time to consult a financial web site and quote a financial analyst to "inform" us that it's cheaper to buy beer in a store and drink it at home, than to go out to a pub.
Mar 15, 2013 11:43AM

"If you're not Irish, then this holiday is just an excuse to get drunk. I don't see the point."


For the drinker, every day is an excuse to get drunk. That's the point.

Mar 15, 2013 3:41PM

I wish you health, I wish you well, and happiness galore.
I wish you luck for you and friends; what could I wish you more?
May your joys be as deep as the oceans, your troubles as light as its foam.
And may you find, sweet peace of mind, where ever you may roam.


Irish toast

Mar 15, 2013 7:08PM
"Some states have separate charges for lower blood-alcohol levels, e.g., "driving while impaired.""  lmbo!  Any excuse to fleece the citizens.  Drunk or not drunk, no in between!  What next?  I'm giving you this ticket because I saw pictures on FB proving you were drunk last month, and might have been thinking of drinking again so since you could conceivably drive afterward...
Mar 16, 2013 8:17AM
When I was drinking I usually skipped this this one. Too many amateur drinkers.
Mar 15, 2013 6:19PM
may the road rise up to greet you may the sunshine be ever on your shoulders
may your delight grow as you get older
may you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

Mar 15, 2013 2:42PM
That 58% of people under 40 has to be lower than normal as it's on a Sunday this year.
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Jun 11, 2013 9:53PM

my alcoholic mates and i have always prefered a little carne asada grilling sessions and some good music and ice cold brewskis in the backyard rather than bars

Mar 27, 2013 7:24AM
Just the beginning? Back door Prohibition? Wait til you see the gun tax! Congratulations Lawyers. You screwed the pooch again.
Mar 15, 2013 11:09AM
If you're not Irish, then this holiday is just an excuse to get drunk. I don't see the point.
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Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.


Donna Freedman

Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.