Is money tight but you still want to have a great New Year's Eve celebration? Don't despair, there are many ways to cut costs and have an inexpensive yet great night.
Look for free events, says money-saving expert Jon Lal, founder of coupons and cash-back website BeFrugal. "See if there are free or low-cost community events to celebrate New Year’s. Some cities have complimentary (or very cheap, depending on the area) festivities to attend such as ice sculptures and fireworks."
You can even throw a New Year's bash on a budget.
First, decide how much you want to spend. "Set a budget. Establish a New Year's Eve spending budget that includes everything from decorations, outfits, booze, food, etc. Estimate how much each of these items will cost to get a realistic idea of how much you'll need to spend, and don't deviate from the plan," says consumer/retail expert and spokeswoman for Mint. com, personal finance management tool, Hitha Prabhakar.
Find out who's coming. "Get an accurate headcount. To save money and not push the bounds of your refrigerator or your budget, determine how many guests you expect in advance so you can create a more accurate menu and shopping list," Prabhakar points out. "Then, easily create, manage and stick to your budget using an online personal finance management tool like Mint. com (from your PC or mobile device)."
Another option is to go potluck. Ask guests coming over for a meal to bring a dish and/or beverage to cut costs. Pick a theme – like Italian – if you want cohesion," suggests Lal.
Prabhakar adds, "Most guests will automatically ask how they can help, so don't hesitate to take them up on their offer! It will be fun for them and less stressful/costly for you. Ask them to bring something for dessert or their favorite bottle of wine to share."
Don't buy--borrow. And if you do buy items for your party, check out second-hand stores. "Shop for serving items, platters and vases at thrift stores such as Goodwill, where you can often find glass cake stands, cupcake stands and ceramic serving platters for less than $5 each," notes Prabhakar. "Or, borrow what you don't have. If you have to buy something new, try to invest in items that can be used again to save money on future parties."
When shopping for food, use coupons or check out major warehouse clubs like Sam's Club and Costco. You can even get some deals online at sites such as Amazon and Restaurant Depot.
Prabhakar also suggests having a signature cocktail instead of offering an array of drinks. This will keep your liquor costs down while adding a unique touch.