Celebrate the new year for less than $50

If your wallet has taken a hit and there’s not a year-end bonus in sight, squeezing in a New Year’s Eve party might seem like a challenge. But you don’t have to give up your social life just because you’re pinching pennies.

Here’s how to throw a New Year’s Eve bash for less than $50, party animals not included.

Outsource the food

Consider a potluck. Your culinary-minded friends will jump at the chance to share their favorite dishes.

“You just have to let your friends know: I want to host a party, but I’m on a budget and I can’t afford to feed all of you,” said Kym Perkins of Kennesaw. Perkins e-mailed guests an invitation in the form of a poem to bring a dish and a bottle of wine to share at her New Year’s Eve party last year.

“When you ask in a way that’s cute or trying to establish a theme, then you do it in a way that’s fun for everybody,” Perkins said. “That’s what we did. And everybody loved it.”

Cost: $0-$15 for host’s food and drink.

Don’t splurge on decor

Consider less-traditional items. “Use those leftover strings of Christmas lights to add a little glow to household plants and fixtures,” said Amy Wilkinson from Swoozie’s, a party planning and gift shop with locations in Norcross and Atlanta. “Add glitter to hats, blowers and centerpieces to add pizazz to your party.”

If you want traditional decorations, Perkins recommends shopping last-minute on New Year’s Eve.

“Last year I got there right before the store closed and everything was 70 percent off,” Perkins said. “If you’re one of those people who obsesses about getting stuff planned early, then that won’t work for you. But if you’re cheap, then you have to wait.” Also, buy accessories and favors that don’t identify which new year you’re celebrating. That way you can use them a year — or years — later.

Cost: $0-$15, depending on how crafty you are.

Skip themed products

No one will remember whether your cups had fireworks on them or if your napkins have the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne.”

“Just use a neutral plate and you can match it with the cups and the napkins,” Perkins said. “The paper decorative cups were mainly for the kids. I just used regular wine glasses for everyone else.”

You can also use leftover disposable cups, plates, napkins or utensils from previous parties. Providing a permanent marker for guests to label any plastic cups will reduce your need to buy as much.

Cost: $0-$20, depending on what you have already.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

See a great deal I should know about? Email me at ldavidson@ajc.com. You can also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter @atlbargains.

15 comments Add your comment


December 28th, 2010
8:59 am

Straits restaurant in Midtown is doing a four course meal and champagne toast for just $40 on New Years Eve!

Ted Striker

December 28th, 2010
10:08 am

Nice suggestions, Lauren.

Lauren Davidson

December 28th, 2010
10:34 am

@Ted: Thanks! Anyone else have money-saving techniques to add?

I stimulate the economy...one pair of shoes at a time

December 28th, 2010
10:56 am

Many Atlanta area clubs and lounges are promoting advance ticket sales for those who want a night on the town, some as low as $25 per person.

And there’s always the FREE Peach Drop ;-)

Going Somewhere Safe

December 28th, 2010
11:08 am

Getting mugged in downtown Atlanta is always free!

I'm Going To Church

December 28th, 2010
4:18 pm


Robyn Jackson

December 28th, 2010
5:07 pm

@ Going Somewhere Safe – muggings don’t happen in Downtown – they happen in the suburbs; don’t you read the papers? Downtown is a very safe place to live (as I do) one block from Underground. You should visit sometime – you might like it!


December 29th, 2010
8:53 am

haha robyn. you’re funny. not

Susie Lou Who

December 29th, 2010
10:06 am

Let’s face it, there’s NOTHING cheap to do in Atl.

Hoping for Heaven in 11

December 29th, 2010
10:14 am

@ Robyn. Yeah, I get mugged all the time in Alpharetta. The gangs in Woodstock are crazy and the prostitution and drug selling on the streets of Cumming is rife. Ummm…. What suburban muggings are you talking about? I would not want to be in downtown after 5 pm. Things are better than they were in the 80s, but I will be celebrating the New Year outside of downtown so I know I will live to see 2011.


December 29th, 2010
10:22 am

Downtown is made more dangerous by suburbanites who drink too much and can’t master the complexities of one way streets. If this is you please don’t come downtown and hit someone who lives here. Stay in Alpharetta.

The Realist

December 29th, 2010
11:19 am

Robyn Jackson = Delirious

Probably voted for Obama too.

Bob the Builder

December 29th, 2010
11:54 am

Robyn is one block from Underground……hmmmm…Georgia State student? Idealistic, on-campus living with police escort on request. Walk on over to Five Points by yourself around midnight Robyn. ITP people are always trying to convince everyone how cool it is but OTP folks don’t really care where you live. Enjoy!! When you graduate, buy yourself a fixer-up in Vine City or Grant Park.


December 29th, 2010
12:36 pm

No matter where you live, there is crime. Learn how to protect yourself in all situations and in all locations. People,please start the new year by saying or commenting something nice. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE


January 3rd, 2011
1:10 pm

these are awesome suggestions. I would also recommend that anyone looking for the best deals on party supplies check out http://www.factorydirectparty.com