Irish Sayings that Inspire Financial Wisdom

This post may contain affiliate links. For more details, please view our full disclosure.

What a fun blog post! Loving these Irish sayings that inspire money smarts.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  Today I thought it would be fun to look at some Irish sayings, proverbs, limericks and proverbs to see if there was any financial wisdom we could glean from them.

Irish Sayings About Managing Your Household Finances

Do not take the thatch from your own roof to buy slates for another man’s house.

It’s important to be a nice person and do nice things.  But not if you don’t have yourself taken care of first.  If your house isn’t in order, you won’t be able to help least not sustainably.  No guilt if you’re working to improve the situation of you and your nuclear family.

Enough and no waste is as good as a feast.

Providing for your family doesn’t necessarily mean having lavish things.  Having enough and being grateful for it is more than enough.  And if you have extra, maybe you could go slate your neighbor’s roof or something.

Most eclectic St. Patty’s Day Parade I’ve ever been to in Raleigh, NC.

Irish Sayings About Money and Business

He that is of the opinion that money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.

What can’t money buy?  True love.  True friendship.  Respect for one’s character.  Even in the business world, it is sometimes necessary to do things simply out of the goodness of your heart  with no expectation of monetary reward.  People will like you for that.  And that may bring you more business and thus more money. People tend to dislike the profit-obsessed.

A fool and his money are easily parted.

Don’t be an idiot.  Or you won’t have any money. I could get into this on a much deeper level, but I feel like the surface meaning is pretty encompassing.

The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse.

This could apply to straight up bribes.  Which is not good advice.  I feel like it could also apply to government or companies, too.  Cater to the people you want as customers or constituents. If you’re doing right by them and their personal economies, you’ll have repeat customers, or votes.

Irish Sayings About Life and Death

The keening is best if the corpse left money. 

I’ve noticed that the older a family member I talk to is, the darker their sense of humor. Irish or not. I find humor in this one, but probably because of the generation I belong to, I stifle my giggles as I feel it’s inappropriate or insensitive.

“Keening” essentially means mourning, so if someone dies, the funeral’s going to be a lot more fun if they left you a windfall.  My grandmother told me that, at least in the early 20th century, Irish-American people generally were not in coffins or funeral homes for the viewing/funeral.  There was a big party and the body of the deceased was sat in a chair.  The person who got drunk enough fastest ended up dancing with the corpse.  Creepy.

There once was a Irishman, who thinks.
Stead of spending his money, on drinks.
It was just his bad luck
He got hit by a truck 
Stead o boozein with mates, 

At first glance this is horrible, horrible advice.  Your money is never spent well on boozing.  But I think the underlying point is worth noting.  Enjoy your life.  Don’t hoard your money and forgo life’s experiences, especially friendships and the time spent with said friends.  You never know when you could go.  Then you’ll just be a corpse dancing at a party with some drunk guy who just inherited a windfall.

Irish Sayings About Grit

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

Love this one!  It can apply to so many areas of life, but absolutely personal finances.  You’ll never reach your goal if you just vaguely daydream about it; you have to take action.  Only then can you see your goals and dreams fulfilled.

The tiredness leaves but the profit remains.

Don’t quit just because something is hard, whether it’s training for a marathon, working for a promotion, or paying off your debt.  It will be worth it.  And it won’t be hard forever.


Looking for more? Check out this Irish Saying Gift Guide.

29 thoughts on “Irish Sayings that Inspire Financial Wisdom

  1. MakintheBacon$

    Great post. I guess the little leprechaun saying, “They’ll never get me lucky charms.” doesn’t count? 😛

    My mom went to Ireland last year as part of a Euro Trip and brought me back a magnet saying, “Wherever you go, Whatever you do, may the Luck of the Irish be there with you.”

    1. femmefrugality

      Haha, I met an Irish student when I was in Europe…one of my not so appropriate fellow Americans spent the weekend trying to get her to say the Lucky Charms phrase. He wasn’t her favorite.

  2. Mitchell Pauly

    “The luck of the Irish” = most ironic saying ever. Luck how? Their history is fraught with hardship, second class-ism, starvation, and well, that ailment that they are known so well for. Considering this, it is no wonder they have so many great sayings that apply so well the the strife of a frugal lifestyle. Kudos for identifying such a great match. Can I steal this idea for a Hanukkah post?

    1. femmefrugality

      I think it started out as a derogatory phrase. Us Americans have never been too fond of our immigrants, on the whole, so back in the day any time an Irish person had success it couldn’t be attributed to hard work or skill; it had to be their “luck.” I could be totally wrong, but that’s my understanding of the origin of the phrase. Pretty sure some of my family must’ve heard that phrase when it was first born.

  3. AverageJoe

    The purse piece doesn’t have to refer to bribes. I found that when I owned my own company that people would follow as long as the check came on time and I didn’t mess with their paycheck. Some colleagues of mine, when cutting, decided to give people pay cuts instead. Talk about losing loyalty quickly….they would have been better off firing the employees.

    1. femmefrugality

      I totally believe it. One of the places I worked the employees volunteered to take a pay cut so no one would lose their job, but that movement was initiated by the employees. When it’s a mandate coming from the top…no good. Unhappy employees are a scourge that can be avoided.

  4. Esther

    I love these quotes – they are very insightful.

    Do not take the thatch from your own roof to buy slates for another man’s house.

    That one is definitely for me. I use to focus on helping people at my own detriment. I have now learnt to find take care of my own needs before helping others. This is not about being selfish, is just about nourishing yourself makes it much easier to nourish others.

  5. Don

    “The tiredness leaves but the profit remains.”

    Oh, I like this! It can be applied to so much more than money making, too 🙂

  6. Pingback: FIVE THINGS FRIDAY – March 18, 2016! – One more BROKE TWENTY-SOMETHING

  7. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich

    “Do not take the thatch from your own roof to buy slates for another man’s house.”

    This also reminds me of the idea to not raid your own retirement accounts to pay for your kid’s education. There are loans for school – there are none for retirement.

  8. Vickie @Vickie's Kitchen and Garden

    I had to laugh at the keening would be greater if you left more money! So true! Of all sudden you were the best person on earth.
    You just can’t take it with ya but it’s good to have some around in case you need it before you die. Have a great Sunday!

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    “The best way to keep loyalty in a man’s heart is to keep money in his purse.”

    I thought about this not as putting money in there but protecting their interests and making sure they’re keeping their money. I look out for my staff by making sure that they are paid fairly and rewarded for their performance, but I see where employers lose my loyalty when they don’t do that, or when they short me of fair pay.

  10. Done by Forty

    “You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.”

    Yeah, this one is amazing. I spend way too much time thinking about plans that have still yet to come to fruition.

    Time to start building out a Sprinter conversion. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *