New Year’s Eve doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a cheap, frugal evening. However, with a little bit of planning, you can host a great New Year’s Eve party on a budget.
Going out on New Year’s Eve can be fun, but it’s also one of the most expensive nights to go out during the year. Most restaurants will have more expensive, fixed menus on New Year’s Eve (if they’re even open) and almost every bar and club will have elevated cover charges, ticket prices and drink prices. Add in the money you’ll spend on a cab or an Uber, and maybe a new outfit, and it’s easy to see how the cost of partying on New Year’s Eve can spiral out of control.
That’s why hosting a New Year’s Eve party is such an appealing idea: you’ll save money by avoiding the overpriced bar scene, you’ll have a great time with friends, and you’ll have total control over the music. Win, win, win.
To make sure that your party balances “having a great time” with “staying under budget,” here are some great ways to host a New Year’s Eve party on a budget.
Make it a Potluck
If you’re already going to be saving all of your friends a ton of money by hosting a great party, consider making the event a potluck and asking them to bring an appetizer, salad, dessert or drink to the party. Not only will it cut down on how much food you need to buy and prepare, it’ll save you the stress of getting everything ready right before everyone shows up.
Plus, you’ll probably end up with a wider variety of food and drinks if everyone contributes, and you know some of your friends will want to show off by bringing something amazing to eat.
Avoid Meals Entirely
Another way to cut the food-related costs is to avoid starting the party until well after dinnertime. With an event like New Year’s Eve, this makes even more sense, since the real fun happens at midnight!
To make this work, tell everyone that the party starts at 8PM or 9PM, and let them know there will be drinks and appetizers, or drinks and desserts. That’s enough of a hint for them to show up not expecting a full meal, and you’ll save a ton of money on your party food budget.
Provide One Type of Drink
It can be tempting to supply your guests with every kind of drink they could possibly want - alcoholic or not - but to stay within your budget, focus on just one type of beverage for your guests. Maybe you want to prepare a signature mocktail or cocktail, or stock up on wine or your favorite soft drink for your friends. As long as you stick to one option, and tell everyone to bring something else to contribute, you’ll keep your costs way down.
Plus, you won’t end up with a whole lot of half-used bottles of drinks you don’t really like at the end of the night.
Keep it Small
Let’s be realistic here: your apartment probably isn’t a giant warehouse loft space that can accommodate 100 people. Luckily, that’s a good thing for your budget in more ways than one. With limited partying space, you have every reason to keep your guest list manageable, which keeps a whole lot of your party costs down, from food to drinks to paper plates if you’re into that.
Skip the Fancy Invites
Now, to be honest, I’ve never received a paper invitation to a party that wasn’t a wedding before, but some people are into sending fancy invites for everything. If that’s you, and you’re looking to cut costs, might I suggest not sending out invites for this particular event?
There are a lot of other great options available, from the classic make-a-Facebook-event-and-invite-everyone-on-your-list to some fancier options, like evites, which will send well-designed email invitations to everyone you know. You’ll save not only the cost of the invites, but the cost of the postage as well - and the time it’ll take you to mail the invites during the busiest snail mail season of the year!
Borrow, Don’t Buy
If you end up needing a specific type of party supply - think “serving tray” for snacks, or “big glass jug” for punch - ask around to see if you can borrow one from someone instead of buying one. Those kind of supplies generally aren’t cheap, especially if you only host a few parties a year. Plus, if you buy them, you’ll have to store them, and if your kitchen is anything like mine was in my first place? Cupboard space is at a premium, especially when you’re sharing it with roommates.
Better off to find one that’s not getting any love this New Year’s Eve, and put it to good use at your party. Return it cleanly and promptly, and you’ll probably be able to borrow it again sometime for your next shin-dig.
Keep Your Decor Simple
Another sneaky hidden cost of hosting a party happens when you go down the Pinterest rabbit hole, and decide you need a whole bunch of decorations to complete your event. Instead of doing that, try to keep your decor for the party simple. Everyone’s going to be more interested in the food and the company anyways, so a few streamers or some DIY decorations are more than enough to keep your friends happy.
And with that, you’re all set to host a great New Year’s Eve party, without blowing your budget. Make sure to take lots of pictures!