It’s always exciting to paint the town, but New Year’s Eve is a notoriously expensive holiday. It’s way too easy to spend a bundle without even trying. But you don’t have to go into debt to have fun, which is good news because this year has been especially tough finance-wise. Keep reading to learn about 5 unique ways to have a fabulous time this New Year’s Eve without blowing your budget.
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1 Drink Master Night
Christmas shopping and prepping for the Holidays was exhausting. But now’s finally the time to party! Going out for dinner and drinks on New Year’s Eve adds up quick. Instead, host an evening at home sipping potables created by you and your friends. Find a tutorial online and have people sign up to supply ingredients, being sure to set a firm budget. There are endless variations on this theme. If your gang is more of a beer crowd, have everyone bright their favorite craft brews to sample. Ditto for wine fans. Minimize hangovers by including a pot luck dinner. If you’re getting together with neighbors and can safely move from house to house, a progressive dinner and drinks party is yet another alternative. Loud, crowded bars are overrated. You can create something way better at your pad.
2 Time Capsule Night
Where does the time go? You’ll know when you create a time capsule of this year’s best moments. You don’t need anything fancy to make one: a shoe box, coffee can, or mason jar will do. Include things like photos, concert tickets, clippings from fashion magazines or newspapers, a list of books you read this year, and perhaps a letter written to your future self. If you’ve got kids, you’ll definitely want to get them involved. An annual capsule-making party can become a special family tradition, providing a precious collection to look back on in the future. Note: In the interest of the environment and to best preserve your memories, it is better to store your capsule in the house rather than burying it in the ground.
3 Home Spa Night
If you tend to overindulge during the holidays (or for longer), a spa night at home can be an excellent antidote, and the perfect way to kick off the new year. Gather together bath salts, scrubs, candles, music, and a fluffy robe so you’re all set for an evening of self-care and rejuvenation. You may choose to use this time to set an intention for the new year, but the simple goal of resting and resetting is plenty. Bonus points for kicking off the evening with an exercise or yoga session.
4 Skating Night
Yet another great alternative to (over)eating and drinking is getting active. Channel your inner fun-loving kid by going skating. Many rinks have special New Year’s Eve hours, and skating is not only less expensive than going out to eat, it also torches calories! Ice skating is a classic for this time of year, but roller skating is another fun option. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you could go for a midnight hike with friends to welcome in the new year. It’s hard to beat stargazing with your besties. Add in a bonfire and it becomes the stuff of legends.
5 Craft Night
Not everyone is a fan of crowds and loud parties. A quiet evening spent learning a new craft or perfecting one you already enjoy can be an excellent way to usher in the new year. Plan ahead so you have all supplies on hand, and don’t forget the tasty nibbles and beverages. If you’re of a mind to include friends, crafting makes an excellent group activity as well. You might also consider combining it with gaming. Have everyone sign up for supplies and/or bring their favorite board games — and maybe even a karaoke machine — for a fun and memorable evening.
Find a tutorial online and have people sign up to supply ingredients like the ones offered by The Home Brew Shop, being sure to set a firm budget. There are endless variations on this theme. If your gang is more of a beer crowd, have everyone bright their favorite craft brews to sample.
If you still can’t make up your mind about how you want to spend New Year’s Eve, go online to suss out free or cheap happenings near you. Many cities host parades and fireworks displays. Depending on where you live, you might luck out and get to witness a giant chili, potato, or duck drop. NYC’s giant glass ball sounds almost dull by comparison. Happy New Year!
Sue Seabury has been getting creative on a budget for years, and she loves sharing her money-saving tips with others. She’s a regular contributor to The Pearl Source blog.