Planning a New Years Eve Party on a Budget

Planning a New Years Eve Party on a Budget

Many people  like to spend New Years Eve with good friends.  It’s always fun to reminisce about the past year and look ahead to the future.

However, it’s also quite common to feel overwhelmed after the holiday season.   Having people over for a party is fun, but you probably don’t want to go to a lot of work.  Restaurants often charge double or even triple their normal prices on Dec 31st and have special menus, and some of us don’t have a lot of extra cash to spare right after Christmas.

Is it really possible to have an inexpensive New Years Eve?  Yes, it is.  I have done so myself quite a few times.   I love to host parties but don’t want to spend days preparing for the event.  If you are planning a New Years Eve party on a budget, here are some tips.

New Years Eve Party Decorations



Decorating for a New Years Eve party can be done inexpensively.  If you are creative, you can make your own streamers or other decorations with items from craft stores.

Another option is to check at Dollar Stores.  Over the year I’ve found some nice things for both Christmas and New Years parties at these budget stores.   It’s not fancy decor but looks just fine.

Then there are party crackers.  These are usually sold in many places, including grocery stores.  Typically when someone pops open the cracker they will receive a paper party hat, a small momento and a funny saying or prediction.  Since it is a New Years party, guests may like to wear hats, although generally the ones in crackers are cheap paper and tear easily.  The other option is to buy something like top hats or other party hats separately.

You can pick up a lot of decorations at Dollar stores, for $20 or less.

Make it a Potluck



This may seem obvious, but some people are reluctant to ask others to contribute to a party.  In my experience I have found people are glad to help out.  They appreciate someone else offering to open up their home to others, so all they have to do is think of something suitable to bring.   This is one way to gather a large group together and have a fun and inexpensive New Years Eve party.

Potlucks are fun too as you get to sample food that others have made.  I do recommend it be organized.  For example, ask one person to bring a salad, another to bring a potato dish, etc.  That way you won’t end up with six desserts and no salads.

Unless you have a large kitchen you may also want to ask people to bring their dish already cooked if it is a hot meal.  Don’t forget things like snack foods and drinks too.

Hosting a pot luck is much easier and less time consuming than preparing the food yourself.  The other option is to order in food, like pizza or Chinese food and then splitting the cost.  Personally I prefer pot luck because it is home made and more economical.   Many people are needing to stretch their money after the holidays.


Champagne glasses

Champagne glasses

The decision as to whether or not to serve alcohol is a personal one.  I have never done so even though I have nothing personally against having a drink of alcohol once in awhile.  However, if you don’t offer it, then you don’t need to be concerned about anyone over indulging.  It also can be quite expensive.

Some people choose to tell people to bring their own beer, wine or other beverages if they want to consume those beverages.

However, it is New Years Eve, and some type of special beverage is nice to have.  I find that ginger ale, along with almost any type of fruit drink, makes a nice punch.  I often combine it with pineapple and cranberry juices.  The cranberry gives it a nice red color for the season and adds good flavor.

There are many punch recipes you can find online for your party.   It’s nice to use wine or champagne glasses if you have them, even if the drinks are non alcoholic.

Happy New Year Paper Plates

Happy New Year Paper Plates

New Years Eve parties often go into the wee hours of the morning, and you probably don’t want to spend hours doing dishes late at night or the next day.   Paper plates  are convenient and inexpensive and will save a lot of time during the clean up long after the guests have gone home.

Even if you have a dishwasher, as I do, it takes time to load and unload.  So for large gatherings, I prefer to use paper.  These particular plates are very sturdy and both soak and cut resistant.   There also are matching napkins available.

New Years Eve Party Entertainment

You will want to consider what type of entertainment you want to have for your guests.  If you have a large family room and big screen TV, you may want to play a movie.  However, movies don’t encourage social interaction, and not every film will be to everyone’s taste.  This can work fine if you know all your guests well and what they would enjoy watching.  However, for some gatherings it may not be the best choice.

Some hosts prefer to have music playing in the background and letting people socialize.  This can be a great way for people to get to know others at the party, although human nature is such that we tend to spend time talking to those we already know.

One way to get people fully engaged is to play a game.    I’ve attended a lot of New Years Eve parties and this one is a hit.  It requires no learning curve to play, and can be enjoyed by all ages.

Apples to Apples Party Game

Apples to Apples Party Game

The Apples to Apples  party game  is almost universally loved.  I’ve even heard people say they don’t normally like playing games, but enjoy this one.    There really isn’t a limit as to how many people can play this game, although you  need at least six in order for it to work.  The more people that play, the more fun it is.

If you have not heard of this game, here is a brief description.  Each round has a judge.  The players are given seven red cards to play.  The judge selects a green card which contains an adjective.  Some examples might be spicy, soft, or purple.

The players cards contain nouns.  They need to choose one of their cards that they think matches up best with the judge’s card.  Considering plays may be holding cards that say “family reunion”, “Elvis Presley” or whatever, the results can be very funny.

Players  have the option of trying to be serious, funny or outrageous.  The judge decides which card is the best match and that player goes on to be the judge for the next round.

This is a great way to start conversations as people are often asked why they chose the card they did.  And of course, it’s full of laughter for everyone.   I’ve never known anyone who hasn’t liked to play this game, and it’s useful to have for other gatherings besides New Years Eve parties so it’s worthwhile having and is a reasonable price.

Apples to Apples is a G rated family game.  Older kids can enjoy this as much as adults.   However, if you like the idea behind this game but would like a more mature version, you might like Cards Against Humanity.    It is almost the very same as Apples, however, it’s definitely oriented to adults and to those who would not be easily offended.

A game like this that is easy for everyone to participate in is a great idea for hosting  your New Years Eve party.

There are many other games you could play of course.  I just find this one is easy because it’s not a complicated one to learn, it’s fun and a great way to pass some time while you are waiting for midnight.

I hope this article has been helpful to you.   Planning a New Years Eve party on a budget really isn’t that difficult.  You can have a lot of fun without spending much money.

Images are from Pixabay, except for the two Amazon products.


Joanne is self employed and loves to write about a variety of topics. Joanne is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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