From the perfect sparkly outfit to the bottles of bubbly at midnight, New Year’s Eve fun can add up. Whether you’re heading out on the town or plan to stay in with a few close friends, don’t end the year stressing about your budget.
Ring in the new year without breaking the bank or going into debt by making a few small changes. Here’s how to save money on New Year’s Eve.
1. Find free entertainment
Why pay for a party when you can enjoy free activities, refreshments and fun? Local community centers and groups host free events on New Year’s Eve. Check out local Facebook groups and pages or your local newspaper, and call the recreation or community center to see what’s happening nearby. You’ll save on admission to an expensive party at some bar and might even be able to get home in time to ring in the new year from your very comfy couch.
Pro Tip: If there are no free local events to attend, find out where the closest firework show is being held or where local music is being played. You can probably get pretty close to both without actually buying a ticket, so you’ll save money while still enjoying the entertainment.
2. Buy tickets early or at the last minute
Alright, so if you didn’t buy your New Year’s Eve tickets before, like, Thanksgiving, you’ll probably end up paying full price. The earlier you buy, the better. But if you’re a procrastinator and couldn’t make up your mind about which bar or club you want to attend, then you might need to buy a ticket at the last minute — if there are any left, that is. Here’s the catch: Waiting until the very last minute could pay off.
People get sick, plans change and tickets get resold. So keep an eye out for tickets that are for resale. People may just want to get the majority of their money back and so a $100 ticket to an open bar could end up in your hands for just $80. Check out Facebook groups created just for tickets, and search “tickets for sale” to see what people are selling.
3. Swap champagne for Prosecco
If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve shindig, don’t blow your budget on the bubbly. Champagne is the classic drink of choice when ringing in the new year, but prosecco is just as good. The sparkling Italian wine has a similar taste to champagne and it costs less. While a decent bottle of champagne might start at $40 a bottle, a bottle, prosecco might start around $12.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to stock up, shop smart. Head to a discount liquor store and then ask an employee if there are additional discounts for buying in bulk. Some stores offer up to 20 percent off if you buy a certain number of bottles. Even better, ask about the return policy. If you don’t end up using all of the prosecco, you might be able to return it.
4. Make it a potluck
It might seem obvious, but seriously, ask your guests to bring their fave dish from the past year to your New Year’s Eve party. It’ll save you time and money. What’s more, ask them to help stock the bar. Alcohol can cost a pretty penny, while you can probably save on food and snacks easily with coupons and smart shopping apps. To spice it up even more, host a contest or create a game that centers around everyone bringing a dish.
5. Rent an outfit instead of buying one
Websites like Rent The Runway are great for special occasions where you really don’t need a sparkly dress for more than one night. If you just have to get dressed up, don’t buy a New Year’s Eve outfit. Rent it instead. You could end up getting an even nicer dress for a fraction of the price.
Pro Tip: If you must own your outfit, consider buying it used. You could save a lot of money by buying a dress that was worn only once by someone else.
6. Wear sweats instead of stilettos.
Why spend a ton of money on a new pair of heels and a sparkly outfit when you can ring in the new year in your most comfortable outfit? Make your party comfy and require everyone to wear sweats or pajamas. Even if you opt to buy a new outfit, sweats are a lot more affordable than a dress and heels. Plus, you might even wear them more than that New Year’s Eve dress, which could end up sitting in your closet and never being worn again.
7. Arm yourself with a few helpful apps.
If you’re hosting a party, don’t buy a thing without Ibotta — you’ll get cash back on basically every snack and staple you buy. Shop smart at the grocery store with a slew of other apps, too. If you’re flying somewhere for the holiday, track the best price for your flight with Hopper. Download Paribus before buying your New Year’s outfit so you can get some money back in your pocket if that dress drops in price after you bought it. And don’t order a ride from Uber without looking at SurgeProtector first — you could save more than a few bucks on that ride to and from the bar with this app.
New Year’s Eve should be fun, so stress less about money and what you spend with these tips and tricks.