If you’re in charge of hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year, you don’t have to overextend your budget to make it a memorable event! There are several ways to pare down the cost of food, drinks, entertainment, decorations and party favors.
You can save money by planning the event as early as Thanksgiving so that you have time to shop around for the best deals on décor and other party items. If you’re committed to sticking with a budget this season, the time and effort you make to plan your party and pull together all the details will pay off!
Use this guide to throw a New Year’s Eve party without breaking the bank:
1. Weigh the costs of a sit-down meal, buffet and pot luck. A buffet may be more expensive than a sit-down meal, especially if you’re having the food catered. If you’re preparing the food yourself, it may be easier to cook in “bulk” and serve everything buffet-style. Search for budget-friendly gourmet recipes online. You could also consider hosting a pot luck so that you don’t have to pay for all of the food. A pot luck may be less formal, so consider what type of party you want to have.
2. Get a guest count at least two weeks before the event. Make sure you have an accurate head count at least two weeks before New Year’s so that you know how much food to buy and what types of drinks to have on hand. Make sure guests have the chance to RSVP for the event and know about the “cut-off” date. I’ve found that creating an “Event” on Facebook is a simple and efficient way to coordinate a party and get an accurate guest count. E-mailing invitations, instead of sending them through regular mail, is another way to cut down costs.
3. Entertain guests with a board game or computer game tournament. Activities for your New Year’s Eve party don’t have to cost a dime when you set up a board game, Wii tournament or other computer games for your guests. Create a special space for games and you’ll keep the party entertained for hours.
4. Assign someone to play DJ for the night. Avoid the cost of hiring a band, musician or professional DJ for the party by asking a friend or guest to play DJ for the night. Create a DJ booth by setting up your own music system, and borrow speakers and other equipment from a friend.
5. Create your own décor. Use plants, garden statues, crates, candle holders and other “props” from around the house to make your own centerpieces and décor. Hit the craft store right after Christmas is over to round up festive candles, lights and other accessories at up to 75% off the regular price, and get crafty!
Yelena Johnson, “New Year’s Eve Party on a Budget,” Celebrations.com.
Cheryl Phillips, “Happy New Year’s Eve 2010 Party Ideas for Budget-Friendly Celebrations,” HULIQ.
Kathryn Matthews, “Katie Brown’s Luxe-for-Less New Year’s Eve Party,” Epicurious.