How to Throw a New Year’s Party on the Cheap

Want to ring in the new year right? Try hosting a fun, inexpensive New Year’s party that’ll make both your friends and your budget sing “Auld Lang Syne.” (And no, we’re not sure what that song’s about either.)

Updated: December 26, 2018

Everybody loves a good New Year’s party—but nobody likes the financial hangover that can come from hosting one. Here are our favorite tips for throwing an awesome New Year’s bash without blowing your budget.


Start late—and skip dinner.

If you’re having 10 or 15 of your closest friends over to your apartment for a New Year’s Eve dinner … that means paying to feed 10 or 15 people. And those costs can add up fast.

Plus, serving dinner probably means starting your party around dinner time, and longer parties mean more food, more drinks, more party games, more everything! Skipping dinner and starting later will help you save money all around!

And let’s be honest here—for a lot of slightly older folks out there, partying till midnight is not such an easy thing anymore. Starting around 9 pm will give people a chance to actually make it to midnight!

Make it a potluck.

At a New Year’s party, people are going to be expecting to eat, drink and be merry. But food and drink, in all its glorious forms, can cost a pretty penny when you’re trying to serve a lot of people.

One possible solution would be to just go with a bunch of cheap stuff—but who wants that? Serving Taco Bell and tap water is a sure-fire way to cut down on party attendance next year.

Instead, why not encourage your guests to BYOB? You can still provide some food and drinks—and you should definitely be the one to provide the champagne—but ask everyone to bring a bottle of their favorite stuff. That way, you can spread the costs around.

When decorating, go simple.

Don’t get all excited and blow your entire budget on fancy streamers, noisemakers, and other shiny bric-a-brac. There are better ways to spend your money.

Here are some tips:

  • Pick a simple, two-color scheme. Choose two of the following colors: white, black, gold, silver, red, blue. Use those two colors to guide your party décor. A simple but elegant scheme will get you a lot farther than an expensive, gaudy one.
  • Turn down the lights. Nothing says “classy” like mood lighting. Putting the lights on low will not only give your party that extra air of sophistication, but it will also let you spend less on decorations. No need to decorate when somebody won’t be able to see it anyway.
  • Candles, candles, candles. Not only are candles super cheap, but they look great! You can buy a large number of tea candles for cheap and use them as accent pieces around the apartment. (Just be careful around open flames, especially if you’ll be serving alcohol. Things happen.)

Re-use Christmas decorations.

This is another great way to save on decorating costs. Lots of the same decorations that you or your friends have hanging around after Christmas can quite easily be repurposed for New Year’s. Basically, anything that is silvery, shiny, or glittery is perfect. (Stay away from any decorations that have red/green color schemes, though—Christmas owns those.)

Another point to consider here: Christmas decorations are dirt cheap the week after Christmas. Go to your local retailer or dollar store with $20 in your pocket and you can probably buy all the decorations you’ll need.

Looking for more ideas? Here are 5 decoration recycling “hacks” we loved from HuffPost!

Create your own photo booth.

This is a fun way to have a New Year’s Eve staple at your party while spending almost no money.

It’s super simple. Section off an area of your apartment for use as a photo booth. Hang a bedsheet as a backdrop, offer streamers, boas and party hats, whatever kind of fun wacky stuff you like. No need to provide a camera, since your guests can take photos on their smartphones.

Make sure that you have a way to collect everyone’s photos, like giving them a hashtag to use when they post to social media. Once all the photos are collected, you can create an online photo album to commemorate the party, or you could spend a little extra to have the photos printed out and use them as fun decorations for next year’s party.

This photo booth could be the start of a new New Year’s Eve tradition! All for maybe $5 or $10 bucks tops!

Use champagne as a mixer.

If it’s a New Year’s party, people are going to expect champagne. That can’t be helped and retailers know it. So, they usually mark up the champagne they’re selling. And getting the really inexpensive champagne is not a great option either.

Instead, stretch your champagne budget further by using it to make festive mixed drinks! Need some inspiration? Here are twenty simple champagne cocktail recipes courtesy of Delish.com.

Time for a fresh financial start.

New Year’s is a time for making resolutions and taking control of your finances. It is not a time for racking up fresh debt. So save yourself a financial headache and throw a party that’s off the chain while staying on budget.

You know what makes for a great New Year’s resolution? Swearing off predatory no credit check loans like title loans, cash advances, and payday loans. If you want to protect yourself from expensive short-term bad credit loans this next year, check out these related posts and articles from OppLoans:

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