Plan a Budget Friendly, Low Key New Year’s Eve

By: Michael Fossbakk | December 30, 2013

New Year’s Eve brings about some of the most illustrious parties and events of the year. We celebrate the memories of the past 12 months and look forward to the opportunities the next 12 months will bring us. I am all for having a good time and going out on NYE, but one problem remains—big time events get expensive. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret—you don’t have to spend your entire paycheck to have fun. You don’t even have to go out to have fun. Invite a group of friends over to hang out and watch the ball drop. Sometimes, nights like that end up being the most memorable. If you do prefer going out; again there are ways around draining your checking account.

If you’re still planning your evening of the 31st, here are a few great ways to have fun and stick to a budget:

Host a game night: This may sound boring on the surface, but to be completely honest some of the most hilarious memories I have are from playing The Game of Things with my friends. A game night is extremely inexpensive. You probably have games collecting dust in your closet just begging to be played, and if you don’t you can go buy one for roughly $10. Games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity are big hits with crowds as well. If you want to make things interesting, add a little booze to the mix. Pretty much any game these days can be turned into a drinking game. If you have one or two decks of cards (which I’m willing to bet you do) the possibilities are endless.

Throw a potluck: You’ll have to do a lot of the heavy lifting here—decorating, cleaning, buying essentials and whatever else you’ll need to do to get ready. However, your costs will be cut down if you tell each guest to bring something. Remember that this isn’t Thanksgiving or Christmas, so you don’t have to cook dinner if you don’t want to. Have a couple of people bring chips and a variety of dips. Meat, fruit or vegetable trays are always good. Recruit one or two more people to handle dessert for the gathering. You can provide the drinks and other light snacks and before you know it you have more than enough food for everyone. Telling people to bring their own alcoholic beverage of choice is also a big money saver if you can’t afford to supply the drinks for every guest.

Go to your local hole in the wall bar: I promised I would include ways to go out on New Year’s Eve this year and still keep your wallet relatively intact. Everybody wants to go to the huge parties and most popular bars, but there can be some advantages to going to that dive bar down the street. For instance, would you rather pay a $20 cover charge to go to that hotspot downtown where you aren’t even able to order a drink, or would you rather avoid a cover charge, perhaps see a few familiar faces and take advantage of cheap drink specials? That is your call. If you need another reason to justify it, keep in mind it is probably closer to your house than those hotspots you’ll have to drive a while to get to. You could either walk, or if you need to take a cab it won’t cost you as much money. 

Have a movie night: If you choose to go this route you will, of course, want to pause a few minutes before midnight to watch the ball drop. Rent a few new releases from the video store, search Netflix or even watch some of the DVDs or Blu-rays you have at home. Make popcorn and have ice cream sundaes. It is once again a great way to spend time with the family and include the kids. Invite a few friends over and indulge in some of your favorite films, or films you have yet to see.

Going to the movie theater with friends or family is another idea. Paying $8 a ticket is still better than spending $100 at the bar before you can even blink. Plenty of movies came out on Christmas, so one may catch your eye. 

Go Ice Skating: This is fun, festive and inexpensive. Campus Martius is a great place to take your significant other to for a romantic ice skating date. Of course it is also a family-friendly park, as it will be hosting New Year’s Eve festivities during the day as well. The skating rink is open from 11 a.m. until midnight on NYE and skating is only $7 plus $3 skate rentals.

Whether you choose to stay in or option to go out, remember to drink responsibly and be safe. Happy New Year Metro Detroit!