We don't want to alarm you, but New Year's Eve is less than two weeks away. Here's how to celebrate without creating new debt for 2016.
A rockin’ New Year’s Eve party doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little planning and creativity, you can throw a cheap, yet awesome, end-of-the-year bash.
Here are 10 tips for welcoming in 2016 with frugal flair.
Tip 1: Host it at home
No need to go out and rent a space for your party. Hosting at your house or apartment is not only cheap, it’s also more comfortable for both you and your guests.
Tip 2: Keep it cozy
If you’re having the party at your place, you probably can’t invite all of your Facebook friends. But that’s OK. Having a smaller party means spending less money and, more importantly, gives you the opportunity to actually enjoy the party yourself and connect with all your guests. Limit the invite list to a handful of close friends.
Tip 3: Ask everyone to bring their favorite drink
Alcohol is one of the biggest expenses for an adult New Year’s Eve party, but you can reduce the cost by asking everyone to bring their favorite cocktail to share. This strategy can also liven up the party by giving guests a variety of new drinks to try.
Also, know in advance how everyone who has been drinking plans to get safely back home. Is public transportation available? Is someone a designated driver? Or can guests crash at your place for the night? Don’t wait until 1 a.m. to decide how to handle an obviously impaired guest.
Tip 4: Accept your guests’ offers to help
Even after you suggest that guests bring a cocktail to share, some guests will undoubtedly ask if there is anything else they can bring. Your answer to this question should be “Yes!” Have a list of items ready and mention a couple of suggestions with various price points, such as noisemakers from the dollar store or an appetizer. Then, let the guests decide which they might be able to bring.
Tip 5: Weigh the pros and cons of paper versus plastic
Paper plates and cups make cleanup a snap, but they cost more than using the dishes in your cupboard. Look at your budget and decide which option makes the most sense for your party. If you don’t have enough matching dishware, don’t let that worry you. Mix-and-match plates, bowls and glasses can look trendy and festive.
Tip 6: Extend the life of your holiday decorations
Your house is likely decorated for the December holidays, and those festive lights and decor can make an attractive backdrop for a New Year’s Eve party too. Even if the tree comes down early, consider keeping some of your lights or other decorations up through the first of the year.
Tip 7: Don’t forget the dollar store
When you do need to go shopping, don’t forget that the dollar store is your best friend. If you decide to go the paper route for plates and cups, you can get what you need for cheap at the dollar store. Plus, your local store likely has all the decorations, noisemakers and party favors you need.
Tip 8: Don’t make a big meal
Since New Year’s Eve parties tend to start later, skip the big meal. Your guests will probably have eaten dinner before arriving at your place. Instead of a big spread, make some easy appetizers, such as meatballs in the slow cooker, and a few simple desserts. A cheese and cracker tray can also be an inexpensive way to feed your guests if you buy chunk cheese and slice it yourself.
Tip 9: Make a homemade photo booth
You’ll want to have some entertainment for your friends, and nothing seems to be hotter nowadays than photo booths. However, renting a booth can be expensive. Instead make up your own by designating an area for your guests to mug for the camera. Hang a sheet for a backdrop and have a bin of props (check the dollar store for boas, hats, large glasses and more) for your friends to use. An app such as Pocketbooth will let them print and mail pics.