Festive Frugal New Year's Eve Party Ideas

December 28, 2011 | Posted By: Heather Stephens | Categorized in: Entertainment, Food & Dining Out
Toasting to the New Year at a party with your family and friends doesn't have to burn your budget! I'm going to show you how to pull together a fabulous festive New Year's Eve party that doesn't add up to big bucks.

Ten, Nine, Eight...Happy New Year!

Let's countdown some fun ideas for a New Year's Eve party, FatWallet style. :)

10. Inviting Invitations

Your invitations set the stage for your party but they don't have to be fancy or expensive to get the job done with style. This year try sending a digital invitation, it's a great way to save on postage and save a tree for free!


9. Exclusive Guest List

Instead of a huge guest list that leaves both you and your wallet flattened at the end of the night, plan a smaller more intimate gathering of close friends and family.

8. Appealing Appetizers

Hors d'ouevres are cheaper than a meal and often feel more up-scale, like a trendy tapas style restaurant. They'll leave you with time to enjoy the evening, fewer dishes, and more jingle in your pocket.

While I'm not known for my cooking, I love simple but elegant appetizers like a roll of brie topped with a mixture of dried apples, raisins, and walnuts tossed in maple syrup or bleu cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven.

Make the hors d'oeuvres even more fun by doing them potluck style to get a variety and have more to go around.

7. Champagne on a Beer Budget

Food and drinks will be the bulk of your holiday budget, but they don't have to be outrageous. Save the Champagne for midnight and skip the full bar. Instead serve a spiked punch or a cocktail of the night. Jello shots are also fun and inexpensive, as are grapes that have been soaked in vodka and frozen.

Set up a drink station on the end of a counter or a side table with ice bucket, glasses, the beverages and napkins so your guests can help themselves and you're able to enjoy the party.

And for the Midnight toast, Troy, our budget friendly grilling guru, suggests Moscato D'Asti which is often cheaper than decent Champagnes and tastes better too!

6. Deck the Halls

Since you're house is probably already graced with holiday decorations, you will only need a little festive flair to get it ready for a new-year's eve party. Sprinkle tea lights or votive candles around the house and let your table be the highlight of the decorations.

5. Table-Scape

Setting a festive table is cheap and easy when you use things you already have around the house.

  • Stack up those empty boxes from holiday gifts to create different levels, spread twinkle lights around on the table and top with a white table cloth. The lights will shine through and create a dramatic effect. Another favorite of mine is to use tulle from the fabric store (it's cheap) which creates a frosted effect, but you have to use lights with white cords.
  • Grab your colorful cloth napkins to place under the platters of your food
  • Buy a bouquet of hardy flowers at the grocery store to tuck in here and there under plates and in small vases.
  • Add more votive candles arranged out of the way of people's reach and you're table is done.

4. Tableware on the Cheap

Paper plates can be expensive and it's up to you to determine their worth. I personally feel that plates are the easiest things to toss in the dish washer, so I opt for the real thing. If you don't have enough salad plates, silverware, or glasses, check your local thrift store. An eclectic mix looks pretty and will cost you next to nothing!

If you want to go for paper, shop for left over clearance Holiday patterns. They will still work for New Years!

3. Music's got Soul

The soul of your party that is. Load your iPod with a great playlist or create a great Pandora channel with all your party favorites. It will keep the party going!

2. Favorite Favors

While not necessary, it's always fun to leave a party with a little something to remember the fun you had! Fortune cookies are fun and inexpensive. Emboss the date on some clear glass ornaments if you're crafty and tie on a beautiful ribbon.

One year I found marble wine stoppers on clearance and tied them up in cellophane.

Another year, I found pretty but inexpensive journals and gave those out with a list of questions to prompt them in coming up with their dreams for the new year.

1. Be Safe

Keep the number of a cab service on hand. You want to keep the party fun, but under control. Here's a Facebook list sober/safe ride services in various locations.

I hope these tips help you to have a safe and fun New Year's Eve party. Please share your suggestions in the comments below and if you liked these tips, please "like" this post.

Oh, and if you haven't entered the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet giveaway we have going on, hurry up. It ends tomorrow morning at 11:00 central!

Happy Celebrating!

:) Heather
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