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How to throw a New Year’s party ON A BUDGET (without looking like a cheapskate)

How to throw a New Year’s party ON A BUDGET (without looking like a cheapskate)
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New year is just round the corner and we are already brimming with excitement for the ball to drop! Can you picture an amazing New Year’s Party with your friends toasting champagne at the strike of midnight while enjoying the party that stays kicking till the wee hours of morning?

Title Image Credit: Santamonica.com

New Year’s Eve seems like the perfect opportunity to go out and paint the town red. But have you considered the cost of it all?

Add up the cover charge (most clubs have pre-bookings from $50 up to $200), expensive alcohol, and the taxi ride and you will soon have a rather large tally to your name.

More and more people are turning to house parties to keep costs down, so you might be under the gun to throw a New Year’s eve party. With guests’ expectations sky high, the pressure of planning a rockin’ party can be huge!

Even more so when you’re strapped for cash.

So how do you throw a great New Year’s party on a shoestring budget without looking like a penny pincher?

In this article, we bring to you some simple yet effective party ideas that will help you throw a night to remember, while not breaking the bank.

Alcohol

To kick off our inspiring list of ideas let’s talk about the cornerstone of every successful party: Alcohol!

bottles of alcohol lined in a rowImage Credit: 8tracks.com

As the host of the party, the  job of providing alcohol mostly falls on your shoulders.

If you don’t want to be paying for the drinks tab well into the new year, use these two simple tricks to cut down the costs.

BYOB

The best way to save on alcohol costs is to not buy alcohol at all!

So consider inviting your guests to a BYOB party, which is typically acceptable as long as your party isn’t a very formal event.

In your invitation to guests, state upfront that food will be provided to everyone, and then mention to BYOB in the P.S.  This will put the focus on the free food and make alcohol almost an afterthought, setting the expectations for your party.

Cocktails

champagne glasses with raspberries inside them ready for toasting the new year

Image Credit: county.wedding.com

If you feel uncomfortable asking your guests to bring their own, there is another option: cocktails!

Some benefits of having cocktails at your party:

  • They’re incredibly classy – just look at the picture above!
  • You can stretch one bottle of alcohol over many drinks – so you end up buying fewer bottles.
  • It allows for variety – rather than shelling out on 10 different kinds of drinks you can simply buy a couple and make an assortment of cocktails from them. This will keep your guests from getting bored of the drinks!
  • They’re absolutely delicious – we’ll share some of our favorite recipes below.

Champagne

Champagne practically screams ‘class’ but can in most cases be an expensive affair.

Now, you could go the lazy route and buy a cheap champagne, but to not look like a cheapskate we suggest buying some fairly decent champagne bottles and turning them into delicious cocktails.

Most high-end parties serve champagne cocktails nowadays as an exotic and classic drink. So it’s fairly acceptable to have them at your party.

The easiest and bubbliest recipe:

  • Place a sugar cube in a chilled flute and
  • Lash it with a couple of bitters
  • Top it with bubbling champagne.
  • To finish off top it with some lemon shavings.

The addition of the sugar cube really helps to add volume to the drink, so you can afford to put in less champagne.

Follow mixthatdrink for some more simple champagne cocktail recipes.

The Basics (Rum, Gin, Vodka)

If your tastes aren’t as sophisticated, you could buy a couple of base drinks like rum, gin and vodka that can be then mixed with add-ins and juices allowing you to make different cocktails and drinks.

One of the fastest, popular and easiest recipe is the martini :

  • Mix two ounces of dry gin
  • One ounce of dry vermouth
  • One dash of orange bitters (highly recommended)
  • Shake it up together with some crushed ice.
  • For that perfect finish, add a piece of lemon peel over the martini glass and toss in an olive.

This is a staple at any classy event so you should definitely add it to your repertoire. If gin isn’t your thing, you could make similar cocktails using rum or vodka.

Food

A New Year’s eve party will no doubt go on well after midnight and you won’t want to be serving food all night. It’s not only expensive but also a hassle. Anyone planning a party at 7 – 8 PM  is just begging for guests to turn at their doorstep with expectant looks and growling bellies!

So start late!

The easiest way is to start later in the evening. Do so and give  your guests the time to have their own private dinners, while saving up on your food cost. If you start around 9 – 10 PM most of your guests will have already had supper and you will only be expected to serve appetizers and desserts.

BYOA/ BYOD

If your are already footing the alcohol bill you might want your guests to pitch in and bring with them an appetizer each or a dessert each.

You can share with them some off the counter item list that you would like to serve, say pretzels or brownies. You could also share with them these fast and easy appetizer recipes and make their job easier.

Cutlery

There is simply no point in buying new cutlery for a new year’s party where people are bound to get drunk and break your glassware.

If you’re planning to toast at midnight you might want to buy some affordable plastic champagne flutes.

Opt to buy plastic plates and glasses, they don’t even need to be in one colour or design. You might alternatively want to go for the good old school paper plates.

We suggest going for a ‘mix and match’. You can use existing plastic or regular cutlery sets you may have from the previous parties or get-togethers and mix them with new paper plates and glasses. The uspide of having different sets is that you can match different glasses with different types of drinks for easy identification.

Party Location

people blowing streamers at a house party

Image Credit: lancercenterpiecesforweddings.com

Home Party

Home should be the first port of call if you’re looking to save on venue costs. You’ll save so much on hiring that you could probably put more money into other areas.

Beach Party

Ah, we can hear you saying, ‘I can have house parties all year round, and I reaaally wanted to make New Year’s special by getting out of the house!’

Well, your free options don’t just end at the house. How about hosting a beach party with bonfire? This is a great way to have a memorable party that your guests will remember for years to come.

new year party goers gathering around a bonfire at the beach

Image Credit: pinimg.com

“How does that save me money?” you ask.

Well, by having a beach party, you inherently set the expectation that won’t be having formal food, drinks or cutlery!

Your guests will be happy with marshmallows, sausages and beers along with their paper cutlery. After all, it is a beach party.

Before you start drawing up plans however, do check with your local authorities if you need a licence. If you’re lucky, you won’t need one. For example, in California you already have fire pits built where anyone can host a party on public beaches.

For our readers in the northern hemisphere, since it’s December and freaking cold outside you might consider throwing a beach-themed party at home stead of braving the cold at the beach. You can even make a fake bonfire like the one below using fairy lights.

an indoor bonfire prop

image credit: amazinginteriordesign.com

Decorations

Decorations for New Year’s is easy. Remember all those decorations you put up for Christmas? Now you can repurpose them again for New Year’s!

Lights

new years fairy lights around the fire place

image credit: amazinginteriordesign

Pull out the Christmas lights (preferably the ones in yellow or white) and string them around the house to create a HALO effect (just like the one in the image above). They are the perfect substitute to harsh party lights and you don’t need to spend a penny on them.

You can also create some beautiful DIY lights using cheap fairy lights from the store and mason jars. The simplest one is to stuff the jar with a string of fairy lights creating a small outlet for the plug into the cap.

You can hang them using rusty wires or pretty ribbons or you can even string together a couple of these jars and make a beautiful decoration piece. Find more DIY mason jar lights on pinterest.

more new year decorations using fairy lights and mason jars

image source: diyhowto

Other Ideas

Glittery and metallic christmas ornaments are versatile decoration pieces that can be used in countless ways.

christmas ornaments that have been repurposed for new years

image credit

Extend the life of those glitter balls by piling them in a big bowl and creating a beautiful centrepiece for your table or by tying them in a bunch and crafting a nice door hanger.

You can also hang them from the ceiling using various lengths of ribbons in lieu of buying balloons.

Entertainment

montage of party people in a photo booth

Image credit: phototalents

Photo Booth

Photo booth’s are a fun way to engage your guests and take memorable pictures. Everytime your guests will look at the pictures they will remember, ‘what an awesome party it was!’

Here are some basic tips to set up your own photo booth without any fuss.

  • The setup. Preferably somewhere with ample of light, like in the kitchen or next to those fairy lights you just set up. This saves setting up any extra ones. If you don’t have enough lighting for the photobooth consider renting a couple of them, they start as cheap as $15 for the small ones. Alternatively, just use your camera’s flash!
  • Have a backdrop. You can either buy a cheap one or follow some great DIY ideas for your photo backdrop.
  • The props. Dig up your closets for some cool things that might be used like a vintage spectacle frame (of your grandparents). You can also hit thrift stores for some quirky items or go for some free printable ones. Remember, in this case ‘the more the merrier’ as props will go a long way keeping things fun and guests interested.
  • Camera. Don’t bother with a high-end or professional one, in the hi-tech society we live in phone cameras work out perfectly.  You can probably set up a tripod where the guests can attach their phones and use timer or a clicker to click pictures. Just remember to make a common group where everyone can drop in their pictures to share.

Music

Music is essential to any party, especially in at the beginning where there are fewer guests and you need some background noise to fill any awkward silences.

The musically challenged amongst us might want to use apps like Apple music or Spotify for a no-brainer solution. They have plenty of mood mixes that contain pre-selected music that’s right for your party.

You’re probably asking, “wait, free music? What’s the catch?”

While you could go for the free version of such apps, they usually contain ads which could ruin the mood. If you’re not planning to pay for your music, you can easily sign up for a free trial or just use a long youtube party mix.

Also, remember to arrange for a set of good speakers beforehand since you wouldn’t want to be playing the music out of your phone. If you don’t have your own ones you can borrow or rent them for the night.

Games

Games are a gun way to keep your guests engaged and the party going. We suggest letting your guests know in advance that prizes will be awarded for game winners.

Not only will your guests cut back on alcohol to keep their minds in tip top condition to win, but the winners also walk away with gifts – a token of your generosity. You can go for simple dollar-shop prizes as awards.

You don’t need to go out too overboard and can simply plan some fun and simple party games that never get tiring for any age.

You could also opt to download some simple party game apps like the heads up, bluff wars or the reverse charades.

Lets wrap it up now.

Lastly, plan some fun countdown ideas to ensure a party that people will remember for years to come. The icing on the cake? Follow our tricks and you won’t have to spend half the money you would have otherwise.

Also, remember to make sure no one drives home drunk and everyone starts the new year safe and sound!