A rockin’ New Year’s Eve party doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little planning and creativity, you can throw a cheap, awesome end-of-the-year bash that your friends will remember for years.
Here are 10 tips for welcoming in 2018 with frugal flair.
Tip 1: Host it at home
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No need to go out and rent a space for your party. Hosting the gathering at your house or apartment is not only cheap, but also more comfortable for everyone.
Tip 2: Keep it cozy
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If you’re hosting the party at home, you probably can’t invite all your Facebook friends. But that’s OK.
Limit the invite list to a handful of close pals. Having a smaller party means spending less money. More importantly, it gives you the opportunity to actually enjoy the party and connect with all the guests.
Tip 3: Ask everyone to bring their favorite drink
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Alcohol is one of the biggest expenses for a New Year’s Eve party. You can reduce the cost by asking everyone to bring a 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 plans to get back home safely. 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
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Even after you suggest that guests bring a cocktail to share, some undoubtedly will ask if there is anything else they can bring. Your answer to this question should be simple: “Yes!”
Have a list of items ready and mention a few suggestions with various price points, such as noisemakers from the dollar store or an appetizer. Then, let the guests decide which to bring.
Tip 5: Weigh the pros and cons of paper versus plastic
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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 dinnerware, don’t let that worry you. Mix-and-match plates, bowls and glasses can look trendy and festive.
Tip 6: Extend the life of holiday decorations
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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 lights or other decorations up through the first day of the year.
Tip 7: Don’t forget the dollar store
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If you go shopping, don’t forget that the dollar store is your best friend. You can get paper plates and cups for cheap. Plus, your local store likely has all the decorations, noisemakers and party favors you need.
Tip 8: Don’t make a big meal
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Since New Year’s Eve parties tend to start later, skip the big meal. Your guests probably will eat 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 guests if you buy chunk cheese and slice it yourself. And pizza is always popular.
Tip 9: Make a homemade photo booth
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You’ll want to have some entertainment, and nothing is hotter nowadays than photo booths. However, renting a booth can be expensive.
Instead, make up your own by designating an area for 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 friends to use. Use an app that lets them print and mail pics.