How to Celebrate the New Year on a Budget


New Year’s Eve is almost upon us, and along with that comes the inevitable question many of us ask ourselves every year: What are we going to do to celebrate, and how can we make sure it doesn’t break the bank? Like every holiday or special occasion, celebrating New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget or put yourself in a situation where you’ll be seeking debt relief in the new year. 

Hopefully, you’ve made it through the rest of the holiday season on budget: but that one last holiday lingers on the calendar. Read on for some tips and suggestions on how to make this New Year’s Eve a fabulous celebration, whether you’re spending it out and about, at home, with friends, or alone

#1: Host a Potluck Dinner Party

Invite friends and family over for a collaborative meal: Ask each guest to bring one dish and let them know that you’ll provide whatever drinks you feel are within your budget (perhaps beer, soda, and sparkling cider for a midnight toast).

If you want to make sure there will be enough food, buy some frozen snacks (Trader Joe’s is a great place to stock up on bite-sized food) that you can throw in the oven at the last minute if you need more. Most likely, you won’t end up needing this back-up food and it will be great to have in the freezer for a snowy day this winter or any time you just don’t feel like cooking dinner.

When it comes to decorating for your party, keep up any Christmas or holiday decorations you already have and pick up some extra items at the dollar store. You can find enough items for an entire party for $20 or less. Candles, a festive tablecloth, and some string lights can set the mood in a pinch. 

#2: Enjoy a Movie Night in

Instead of battling the crowds for a reservation at an over-priced restaurant or bar, a great alternative is to invite a few close friends or family over for a movie marathon. You probably have enough drinks at home already and can supplement with some festive sparkling water or champagne for a midnight toast. Stock up on lots of movie snacks like popcorn, pretzels, M&M’s and Twizzlers (or whatever it is that reminds you of the movie theater!) and settle in for a long night at home.

You could choose to show movies set on New Year’s Eve. Some great options are When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Sleepless in Seattle. Switch it up at 11:59 PM to watch the countdown and switch back to your movie marathon (or hit the pillow!) at 12:01.

#3: Throw a Game Night

Invite your friends to bring over a deck of cards, a favorite board game, or an idea for a game they want to play. If you’ve been eyeing a specific game that you want to try, take a look at the after-Christmas sales and pick it up. Alternatively,  grab some paper and a few pens, divide up the room into teams, and start a game of charades.

You can make this night a potluck, too. Or consider asking everyone who is coming to pitch in $5 a person and order in delivery pizza for the whole gang. You won’t break the bank and everyone will love the treat. 

#4: Hit the Town for Dessert

If you’re absolutely dying to go out on New Year’s Eve but don’t want to spend too much, consider going out just for dessert instead of dinner and drinks. There are plenty of places that are open late-night that you can head to and pick up an ice cream sundae or share a hot fudge brownie with a date. You can still get dressed up, make an evening out of it and have some fun, all while spending significantly less than if you went out for a full meal.

#5: Enjoy a Staycation

Lastly, consider spending New Year’s Eve at home, without any plans. While this might sound sad at first, it can actually be a wonderful way to start out the New Year, especially if you have big plans in mind for your budget for the upcoming year. Take this time to reflect on your last year and set your goals and intentions for the year to come. Make the evening special by getting yourself whatever food and drinks you love the most and sit down to plan out your next year. 

If you have friends and family in faraway places or who you don’t see regularly, reach out to them and let them know you’re thinking of them and send them your best wishes for the New Year. This can be a great way to connect even if you aren’t physically together. 

The Bottom Line: A Fun New Year’s Eve on a Budget is Possible

New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to have fun but also stay on course with your finances and budget. Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas on how you can plan the perfect New Year’s Eve on a budget. 

If you do need help sticking to your budget or getting your finances back on track, remember that there are debt relief options and debt relief companies out there to help. No matter what your financial situation, debt relief is available to everyone and is something to consider in the New Year to get yourself back on track.