Last Minute (Frugal) New Years Ideas

“What are your New Years plans?” I’ve probably been asked this question at least 10 times today. As a young adult living in New York, I always had an answer – and my answer had been planned well in advance. From house parties to clubs to bar hopping, NYE always involved champagne, music, and dancing. It also meant spending money and getting dressed up (relatively, speaking).

How to Be Both Frugal & Festive

These days, you won’t find me at the clubs. As a newlywed in my early 30’s, I’m more settled down and low-key – but that doesn’t have to translate to “boring.” Whether you are hosting a last-minute New Years party or your plans are still up in the air, here are some quick budget-friendly tips for celebrating the New Year in your own way:

Dollar Store – Nuff Said ☺

Stock up on 2014 sunglasses, hats, and noisemakers easily without spending much money. The quality may not be the best, but we all know these party accessories end up getting trashed, crushed on the floor, or just lost throughout the course of the night. So, give your New Years a little traditional flare for less than $5!

Repurposing Christmas

You may have some left over green and red paper plates and napkins. Most likely, you haven’t taken down the Christmas lights yet. And, maybe you even still have other holiday decorations on the walls and doors. If you are hosting a New Years party, be sure to repurpose any of the festive Christmas decorations and utensils for your party!

Champagne Alternatives

If you are hosting, a great way to cut down on the champagne cost is to prepare sangria for the party. There are different recipes online, some of which incorporate champagne so you don’t have to forsake the bubbly entirely. If you are bringing the alcohol to a party, consider purchasing a bottle of cava or prosecco instead of champagne. They are less expensive, but similar enough to champagne.

Cheap Eats

Instead of going for what is bound to be an expensive dinner, it’s better to opt for fun and tasty appetizers. Some may call it “BYOA” (Bring Your Own Appetizer) while others invite friends over for a “pot luck” meal. Regardless of where you’ll be for New Year’s Eve, choosing to eat small bite-sized food throughout the night will make both your wallet and stomach happy. For example, stuffed baked potatoes are excellent comfort food to ring in the New Year. You can get quite creative with this simple appetizer and its cost won’t break the bank.


This is becoming one of my favorite tips more and more! For couples and parents, it’s possible to make “staying in” more special than usual.

For the kids (and even adults), some creative craft-making can be fun activity. Instead of buying decorations, why not spend time together making the decorations. Paper snowflakes always bring me back to the holidays as a kid. With some glitter, stars, and a headband, you can each create your own New Years crown.

For couples, why not take the money and energy you would spend going and instead look into ways to give your home a romantic atmosphere? Feel free to re-use any Christmas ribbons, ornaments, and lights, but complement the space with softer textures as well. As for food, why not prepare a fondue party for two?

And so, now it’s my turn to ask you, “What are your plans for NYE?” Whatever you end up doing (or not doing), Jess, Ronnie, and myself wish you a very Happy & Healthy New Year!! Cheers!

Featured image courtesy of gubgib at

About Jessica J.

A native New Yorker, Jessica left behind the Big Apple almost 4 years ago to pursue new adventures around the world. Powered by caffeine and a relentless curiosity, she has now settled in Tel Aviv Jaffa with her husband, American cat, and a new appreciation for budget management.

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