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.
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.
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.
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