How Not To Spend A Fortune This New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve has the potential to be the biggest night of the year, or be the biggest disappointment. With so much pressure to have an awesome time with your awesome friends at an awesome party where you sit around and soak up each others awesomeness, it can be difficult to have your reality live up to the hype.

You don’t have to spend a fortune for cover charge and a drink on entry with trendy strangers to make it a night to remember. You can, in fact, have a New Year’s Eve celebration to remember on a pretty tight budget. We’ve done the breakdown to show you how.

#1 Be the host with the most (cash leftover on January 1)

OK, so it’s not as glamorous as a rooftop party watching the fireworks while standing next to a Tommy Hilfiger model. But, be real, how often do those New Year’s Eve fantasies come true? More often than not we all find ourselves keeping our options open until 9pm then deciding to hit up the Friday-night-local to then later check up on a friend who went too hard and is puking in the park at 1am. Scrap the fantasy and take charge of the reality: decide to host a New Year’s Eve party that’s completely and 100% curated by you in a controlled, stable environment. (Read: your place.)

Cost of hosting your own party: $0

#2 Take charge of the menu

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Rather than prepare a three course meal, stick to snacks that can be eaten throughout the night instead. This not only allows time for late-comers, it also means less overhead food costs and less leftovers that you have to somehow eat your way through for the first week of January. If you fancy yourself a bit of a chef, take responsibility for a couple of key tasty snacks that you can easily rotate between the oven and a platter throughout the evening. Delegate a plate or two for your guests to bring to share the financial strain and to make it an inclusive menu. And of course it goes without saying that everyone should bring a bottle or two of pop.

Cost of snacks for a party of 10: between $50-$80 depending on how expensive your tastes are.

#3 Be your own door… person

Your party can be as big or as intimate as you like. Decide early on whether you want to have a big blow-out or something more intimate. Want to meet new people? Ask friends to bring friends. Or if you want to keep it small, invite only your nearest and dearest that you know you will want to spend quality time with.

Cost of friends: Priceless

#4 Be creative with your decorations


It can be tempting to rush out and buy 2017 goggles, party poppers, and a thousand 2017 balloons. Chances are that your bank account will be looking a little sorry for itself at this point, so it’s time to embrace your inner Martha Stewart and get creative with your decorations. Use an at-home bash as the chance to repurpose leftover Christmas decorations and get inventive with the seasonal leftovers from all the other parties you threw in December. Leftover tinsel? Keep it up. Christmas baubles lying around? Chuck them in a glass bowl and use them as a centrepiece. And when in doubt, throw some fairy lights around.

Cost of up-cycling decorations: $15-$20 depending on what you’re working with.

#5 Create your own entertainment and playlists

You don’t have to be Steve Aoki to create a banging playlist. But if you’d rather avoid reigning in the new year with a fight over your apparently terrible taste in music, select a suitable playlist that’s already been created on Spotify or YouTube. Either way, make sure you have spent a little bit of time thinking about this ahead so you can focus on enjoying yourself rather than mucking around with tunes throughout the night.

Same goes for entertainment – plan ahead and ask friends to bring along their set of Cards Against Humanity or their Twister mat if you’ve got the room to get a bit retro. Or what about hanging a sheet up and getting some props together to make your own photo booth? Or maybe your place is big enough a couple of rounds of murder in the dark? Whatever it is you and your friends want to do to have fun, plan some ideas before your guests arrive so when the party is in full swing you can let loose and focus on having a good time ringing in the new year.

Cost of entertainment between friends: $0

Go forth and save your cash from the New Year’s bash for your January 2017 savings goals.

Claire Dalgleish is a freelance writer and art curator who currently lives in Sydney. She woke up like this. You can read more on her blog art/writing/projects and follow her via @art.writing.projects