8 Tips for a Frugal New Year’s Eve

Low-Price Partying

Most of us are already suffering through a spending hangover from the gift-giving holidays, which doesn’t lend itself to spending a lot on a New Year’s Eve celebration. MainStreet put together eight tips from the experts on how to spend a fun-filled night at home or out on the town without breaking the bank. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Downing the Drinks

If you’re having a party or get-together at your home, Mark Kamp, a motivational speaker and emcee, says an open bar isn’t necessary as long as you’re a good host or hostess. “Make people feel at home all of the time,” says Kamp. “An open bar is not always necessary anymore as people are drinking less and one should reduce the risk of liability.” However, if you want to throw a party and include the alcohol, there are frugal ways to do it, says Andrea Broxton, an interior designer who likes to throw parties for 75 people in her home. “You can save money by buying cases of only three kinds of wine rather than many different brands,” says Broxton. She also serves dinner with prosecco, which is cheaper than champagne. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Eating Elegantly But Cheap

How can you cut costs on the food you serve at your New Year's Eve bash? “Pasta is my answer,” says Broxton. “The pasta is a break from the traditional holiday fare and it is cheap, soaks up the alcohol and can be made in advance.” Teri Gault, CEO of TheGroceryGame.com, says you should let the specials at the store dictate your party fare. Gault advises hosts to buy as much as the store will let them if there are limits on items, to stock up early and start shopping now. "Buy extra low-priced stuffing, canned foods, creamed soups, etc. when they’re on sale in December, and use them for your New Year’s Eve menu,” says Gault. She also advises “stacking” discounts – buying sale items with multiple store and manufacturer’s coupons. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Play That Funky Music

You don’t have to hire a band or a DJ for your musical entertainment at your party. Greg Jenkins, a party planner with Bravo Productions, says “Instead of a jazz trio or ensemble, use your audio equipment to play CDs. It’s all just background music.” Deana Gunn, a cookbook author for Trader Joe’s, suggests getting your CDs together before the party so you aren’t spending time trying to choose the music during your party. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Shop the Thrift Stores

Broxton breaks out the good china for her parties, which saves on buying paper plates and filling the landfills with more waste. If you don’t have enough pieces of good glassware, shopping the thrift stores is a good way to find enough pieces, says Gunn. “A collection of non-matchy-matchy plates and glasses can be cute and eclectic. Even non-matching chairs are very chic,” says Gunn. You can even decorate with thrift store finds or repurpose things you have around the house, says Pam Faulkner of Faulkner House Interior Redesign. “Small tree branches and greens, old accessories and even old hardback books can be sprayed with silver paint in creating a base for a tablescape,” says Faulkner. She says to then fill in with black or glass candlesticks, candles and a few fresh flowers. Photo Credit: Getty Images


You Can Still Have the Fun With No Party

Don’t feel like throwing a party? Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations with Freedom Debt Relief, says you can have fun at home without having the party. “Have a movie marathon,” says Gallegos. “Watch with your family or have some friends over. Make popcorn or popcorn balls and munch while you watch.” Gallegos says other ideas include dusting off the video camera (or using that new flip cam) and making some recordings for far-away friends and family or getting together with friends or family in your home to do some charity projects. Photo Credit: Getty Images


All Dressed Up to Go Out

If you want to get out of the house for the evening, you can still do it and have a good time while being frugal. Gallegos says, “Seek out free community entertainment. Many communities sponsor free activities on New Year’s Eve for adults as well as families. You may find a favorite start to a new tradition.” Photo Credit: Getty Images


Find a Cheap Babysitter

Kamp, the emcee, says exchanging babysitting services with a neighbor or friend is a good way to find a sitter for the night. “If you cannot pay them by swapping, offer to cut their lawn or do errands for them.” Mary Schwartz, director of public relations for Sittercity Incorporated, says pulling resources with another family could be an option. Also, says Schwartz, you should have started looking for a sitter much earlier than now -- the first New Year’s Eve babysitting jobs were posted back in July. However, you can still beat most parents to the punch if you post a babysitting job now. “The date the majority of parents start to post jobs is Dec. 29,” says Schwartz. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Deck Yourself Out Without Spending the Big Dough

You don't have to hit up the mall or a local boutique to find a great outfit for New Year's Eve. “Shop in a friend’s closet for your dress,” says Kamp. “There have been quite a few of these events recently where ladies and sometimes men get together and swap clothes or other items they are no longer wearing. Goodwill stores are also an option for gently worn clothing.” Fanny Woo, a wardrobe and beauty stylist with Urban Darling, says you can also consider renting or borrowing your dress or changing up what you already own. “Get an old dress tailored. Shorten the hem, make it sleeveless, add a slit or switch out the buttons for dressier ones,” says Woo. “Or pair a simple dress with some bling by purchasing a statement necklace and shoes.” Photo Credit: Getty Images


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