Kristen Hagopian, Chester County-based author of Brilliant Frugal Living and self-proclaimed "frugalista," (pictured at right) of whose work and shopping tips I am a fan, has offered this St. Patty's Day-themed column:
In Stanley & Danko’s bestselling book The Millionaire Next Door, they conducted a detailed study of the immigrant backgrounds of American millionaires. When listing the “Top Ten Ancestry Groups of American Millionaires,” they determined that more than 400,000 American households with Irish ancestry had attained millionaire status. Pretty impressive.
One of the proven strategies used to create their lofty economic position: the extreme frugality of first and second generation Irish immigrants. You have to love it – 400,000 Irish millionaires can’t be wrong. When March 17th rolls around, do honor to St. Patrick with fabulously frugal fun.
If you’d care to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with one of the finest Irish movies ever made, rent “The Quiet Man” from the library, whip up an obscene amount of popcorn with extra butter, take the phone off the hook, and enjoy a fabulous Irish fest with some fantastic Irish cinema. A truly hunky John Wayne, gorgeous redhead Maureen O’Hara, one of the best kisses ever caught on film, and rolling Irish landscape, all on the privacy of your own silver screen.
McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes! Yup, okay. I know. Trans fats, fake sugars, artificial colors, faux flavors, served in a cup that won’t decompose for a good 10,000 years. Trust me, I’m well aware of the health and environmental repercussions of this addictive frozen green McCrack. And if I don’t get at least one of them every March, somebody’s going to get hurt. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
If you have kids at home that want to decorate the house, or better yet, if you’re feeling energetic and want to throw a party for the neighborhood kids, have fun. Save big bucks by skipping the party supply store and hit the Dollar Store instead. You’ll find adorable St. Patrick’s Day décor and party favors for a fraction of the price.
If the weather gods are being particularly kind, get online and find a nearby St. Patrick’s Day parade – they’re everywhere! Pack a picnic, spend the day outdoors, soak up some fresh air, sunshine and Irish good luck. What could be better?
If you have a bone deep need to enjoy some spectacular Irish entertainment in person, it’s incredibly easy! Head west to Lancaster to check out none other than Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, appearing at the American Music Theatre on March 12! Do yourself a frugal favor and get the $36 tickets rather than the $56. A few seats difference will save big bucks, especially if you’re enjoying the show with a large group. Check out the site for more information.
If you see the Lord of the Dance and get hopelessly addicted, start saving a couple of bucks every week to get yourself to Nashville this July 1-5 for the 2011 North American Irish Dance Championships at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Looking to honor the Irish by way of your kitchen? Yearning for a solid excuse to take a time-out from your lo-carb diet with a plate of potatoes? Get online to the Food Network and find yourself some melt-in-your-mouth spud recipes to go with a huge slice of baked ham. Carbs be darned, St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year, Frugal On!
Kristen Hagopian is a motivational speaker and author of “Brilliant Frugal Living,” conducting humorous lectures on personal finance and wealth-building to civic, corporate and private groups. She lives with her husband and two kids in their as-of-yet unfinished fixer upper in Elverson. Her book is available at Amazon.com, is downloadable to Kindle and can be ordered at her website.