New Year's Eve Party on a Budget

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I’ve always wanted to see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. But my tiny budget won’t allow me to do it! So I always settle for hosting a New Year’s Eve party with family and friends at my place. But even that can get a little pricey. How do the rest of us spend our New Year’s Eve? And for how much?

Staying home on New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve

A surprising amount of Americans stay put on New Year’s — 3 out of 4 to be exact. Only 5 percent of us go out to a large organized event, such as a club party or a concert.

Spending on a budget

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83 percent of Americans will spend less than $200 dollars on December 31. Just 4 percent of us will spend more than $500. Sounds like no fancy bottles for most of us?

Pretty penny for an exclusive ticket

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For those of us that are going out, the average price for a NYE event ticket is $75.

Check out Groupon for great ticket deals!

Rideshare nightmare

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Plan to either drive (in bad traffic), carpool, take a cab, or stay home on the 31st. Historically, Uber charges more than double its regular fare for New Year’s Eve.


Are those numbers making your head spin? Here are a few tips I figured out to throw an NYE party on the cheap.

Start a little later

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Since everyone will be counting down till midnight, your friends don’t need to come for 7 pm dinner. Start your party at 9 pm (or later) and have all your guests eat at home. That way, all you have to provide is snacks.

Make it a potluck

New Year's Eve

Every party needs food, but cooking for 30 people can be exhausting, and catering can be a nightmare. Have everyone bring their favorite light dish to cut down on costs.

BYOB

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Speaking of a potluck, make everyone bring a bottle too. Drinks are ridiculously expensive. Have guests bring their favorite bottle (or mixer) to have a variety of drinks at no cost to you! Take it one step further and have each guest bring a different bottle for some drink diversity. And don’t get too fancy, either. Sure, champagne is the signature drink to celebrate the new year. But prosecco is a similar and cheaper (and if you can’t stomach too much alcohol, sweeter) alternative to the expensive bubbly. A good bottle of prosecco can cost anywhere from two to five times less than a similarly-sized bottle of champagne.

Drizly has a few awesome selections for BYOB!

Reuse holiday decorations

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My clear-colored holiday lights stay up through the new year. It’s a great way to make my house festive with the decorations I already have. Ditto for disposable plates and utensils. Consider purchasing holiday-neutral place settings for Christmas so you have some left over for New Year’s Eve.

I love celebrating the new year, but sometimes a lot us can go overboard. But even if I’m not in New York, a fun New Year’s Eve party is still doable — without freezing in the middle of Times Square!

How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve? Leave a comment below!