New Year’s Eve, often touted as the biggest let down of the year quite simply due to a lack of planning and a bunch of hurdles that create unnecessary stress.
Whether you intend to host a New Year’s Eve party or simply attend a NYE party at a family or friends house, here is a definitive guide to enjoying New Year’s Eve without spending too much money.
The goal is to have fun, spend as little as possible and create some great memories in the process. Add your New Year’s Eve ideas in the comments below.
Table of contents:
- Alternative New Year’s Eve ideas
Picking a New Year’s Eve venue or event
The hardest thing about New Year’s Eve is deciding what to actually do. Largely it comes down to deciding an appropriate venue; whether it is at a family member’s house, a viewpoint for the fireworks or a bar somewhere in the CBD – often the choices are endless yet very hard to agree on.
Host New Year’s Eve at your place
To limit the stress of New Year’s Eve (both financially and in the decision making department) – opt to host New Year’s Eve yourself. Controlling the venue means you can control the amount you spend, the time you stay up until along with avoiding ‘decision by committee’ that often ruins NYE.
Example of decision by committee on NYE: when a friend decides that instead of staying at the one bar you all love, you should instead get up and search for a new bar that is likely no better.
Celebrate until the 9pm kids fireworks only
Each New Year’s Eve there are two sets of fireworks; the kid’s fireworks at 9pm and the adult fireworks at 12pm.
A good strategy to save money, drink less and wake up on New Year’s Day feeling good is to celebrate only until the 9pm fireworks. You can still enjoy the company of family and friends from 5pm but simply turn in three hours earlier than the midnight display. This means less alcohol needed, less food needed and the chance to start the New Year in a productive way.
Visit family, make New Year’s Eve part of a getaway
If you have friends and family on remote properties or somewhere slightly more interesting than your Suburb, consider seeing if you can spend the evening at their place and make it a mini-getaway.
Going somewhere for New Year’s Eve (NYE) means no travel home on the night, one of the more painful aspects of any NYE celebration.
Alcohol: how to handle it cost effectively on New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be complete without a few bevvies. Whether you enjoy a glass of wine, the infamous NYE champagne or simply a few beers around the BBQ – the trick to New Year’s Eve is finding a cost effective way to not spend too much on alcohol.
Buy a half dozen or dozen mixed wines and split the cost
If your family and friends enjoy a bottle of wine, why not buy a mixed dozen from the local bottle shop prior to New Year’s Eve and split the cost? Often buying in bulk like this will see savings of 30%+ on the retail price of a single bottle of wine.
Mix your own drinks; don’t buy pre-mixes
If you like mixed drinks, such as Scotch and Coke, buy the actual ingredients individually and avoid pre-mixes. Often the pre-mixed drinks are lower in quality, more expensive and result in aching heads the next day.
Opt instead to buy a nice bottle of spirits that you enjoy and the mixer drinks from Coles, Woolworths or ALDI to save money (never buy soft drinks from a bottle shop, they are priced at a premium).
Consider the home brand spirits to save money
Most bottle shops now offer a home-brand style spirit replacement for all the major brands. You can buy Bourbon, Vodka, Tequila and more. While it may seem strange buying a brand you have never seen before, often they taste very similar and can save you 20% or more.
Brewing your own beer months in advance
This is only for the elite money savers. Brewing your own beer can save you big bucks over the course of 12 months. I forget the actual math, though a friend once stated that it costs them under 30cents a beer when they brew their own. If you have the space, consider putting down a few batches of beer in the lead up to NYE next year.
Food ideas for New Year’s Eve
Food is the key to a great New Year’s Eve party. It ensures people have food on their stomach, have something extra to ‘do’ while chatting and doesn’t have to cost much money. Some food ideas for NYE could include;
Do an ‘international food evening’ on NYE
Everyone brings a dish from a country starting with the first letter in their name. Simple, fun and a great talking point for guests. Essentially it’s a way to share the work load of the party amongst guests but can also bring a level of intrigue to the evening.
Opt for finger foods only at a New Year’s Eve party
Don’t feel obliged to provide every guest with dinner just because you are hosting the NYE party this year. Finger foods are cheaper, easier to make and often more popular amongst partygoers with a drink in their hand.
Host the party from 8pm onwards, indicating dinner is not included
Still feel bad that you aren’t feeding everyone? Have your party start later, this indicates to guests that food isn’t provided and they will need to eat dinner prior to arriving.
Transport on New Year’s Eve
Getting to and from a New Year’s Eve party (or event) is often hard. Transport on New Year’s Eve seems to largely shut down, making it extremely hard to catch public transport or taxi’s on the evening itself.
The best way to save money on NYE is to find a place to celebrate that doesn’t require transport home at all. Opt to stay the night at a friend’s house or host a NYE party yourself to alleviate the problem.
If however you do require transport, leave the car at home so you can have a drink (or two). Prior to New Year’s Eve check the local bus and train timetables and note down some desired exit times for your evening.
New Year’s Eve decorations
The best way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style is to decorate your NYE party properly. Decorating your New Year’s Eve celebration isn’t vital, though it does alter the atmosphere in a beneficial way and can really make a party come to life.
Replace standard light bulbs with coloured light bulbs
Simply replace your standard household lights with coloured lights. The bulbs themselves are cheap (Bunning sell for under $2 per light) and can transform a normal house with no other decorations into a New Year’s Eve spectacular.
Hang Chinese lanterns outside/inside
Chinese lanterns are super cheap; made of paper and a small amount of hanging wire, a Chinese lantern adds a dimension of colour and celebration to an event in seconds. Place outdoor lights inside the lanterns for extra effect.
Chinese lanterns are also reusable and can be stored flat for the following year, a great way to ‘buy once and use many times’ to save money over the long term.
Keep your Christmas lights up for New Year’s Eve
Outdoor LED’s and multi-coloured Christmas lights are perfect for New Year’s Eve parties. Simply leave your Christmas lights up until December 31st to save time and money.
It’s also wise to note that if you don’t own any Christmas lights, most $2 shops and Bunnings have significant discounts on lights immediately after Christmas; a great chance to buy cheap Christmas lights, use for NYE and then pack away for next Christmas.
Alternative things to do on New Year’s Eve
For some, New Year’s Eve is a non-event. If you are someone who wants to avoid the NYE celebration altogether, why not consider doing something completely different and using the evening to accomplish other goals?
You could have a personal planning night, giving yourself a full evening to work out the goals, resolutions and financial improvements you intend to make in the coming New Year.
Alternative ideas for New Year’s Eve could include:
- Setting weight loss goals
- Setting investment goals to achieve in the coming 12 months
- Setting resolutions that will benefit you
- Listing things you wish to give up to save money