New Year's Eve Party on a Budget

By Amy Thoma

I love to throw parties at my house. Despite living in roughly 900 square feet I’ve managed to pack around 50 people in my house and lived to tell about it. I recently threw a medium to large sized party and since I’m funemployed I did it with budget on my mind. If you’re throwing a fabulous New Years Eve party, here are some tips:

Don’t waste your money on pre-made appetizers or desserts
I was floored at the cost of pre-made snacks and treats at Costco, Safeway and even Trader Joe’s. Six bucks for a tiny tray of unhealthy, crummy appetizers? No. I made my own and while more work, it was way cheaper. Plus, it’s more impressive!

Let people bring something
I don’t like to let people bring things to my parties. I feel like if I’m hosting I should be able to supply the wine, soda, snacks, etc. But, this year, I let people bring things and it was great! Not only was it wallet friendly, but some friends brought some really fun food and wine that everyone enjoyed.

Keep the décor simple
I dream of the day Martha Stewart shows up at my front door with a camera crew to use my house as an example of perfection, but the reality is that decorating your house can be pretty expensive. Linens, dishes, center pieces, napkins and glassware really adds up. I like to look at websites like Hostess with the Mostess, and InStyle for cheap and easy ideas. If all else fails, turn down the lights, put a tablecloth on your table, throw some votives in some candleholders and no one will notice.

Be a bargain shopper
Shop around. Compare drink prices between Trader Joe’s, Costco and local markets like Sellands and Taylor’s. You might be surprised by what you find and if you’re buying quite a bit, you could save a lot of cash. It is definitely worth the time.

Plan ahead
I have a Christmas Party every year. I plan to have my party every year until Christmas doesn’t exist or I run out of friends. Therefore, throughout the year I scour Michael’s, Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, and Target for marked down decorations, napkins and other party fare. I did such a good job last year that the only things I had to buy this year were perishable. I also have a habit for grabbing cute cocktail napkins, candles and other useful items for entertaining when they go on sale. I have a “party drawer” in my pantry that is so well -tocked it’s almost embarrassing.  But everything in there was extremely cheap!

Chill out
Your friends are at your party to see you and their friends. They’re not expecting, nor will they remember a perfect, magazine quality party. However, they will remember if you’re stressed out and not having a good time. So don’t worry if everything isn’t perfect and just enjoy your party! 


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  1. Jamie says

    Amy- I totally agree with you on the last point about chilling out and enjoying yourself! Unfortunately, I am one of those hostesses who runs around replacing cocktail napkins and making sure the music is just right… which means that I barely remember my parties, let alone enjoy them! Maybe one of my 2011 resolutions will be to lighten up a little when it comes to entertaining…

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