SLIDESHOW: Throw a New Year's Party for Less
- 1. Sparkling wine NOT Champagne.
It really should go without saying but Champagne is one of the biggest cost drivers for New Year's parties. While you might think your friends will be impressed by Dom Perignon, you're forgetting that the subtleties of such a fine wine are lost on the vast majority of palates. Also, after a few sips that subtlety is all but gone for almost everyone. Do not spend $100 a bottle on Champers -- instead spend between $15-$20 on a sparkling wine or Prosecco. The Niagara region is actually producing some pretty good fizzy plonk so buy it up and save!
- 2. Music... for free!!!
We all know you're not going to the record shop to buy CDs for your party but many folks will still hop onto download sites like iTunes and lay out $50-$100 to create their own New Year's Eve mix. Check out free (and completely legal) streaming sites like Songza. They'll curate an awesome mix for you that will fit with the mood you're trying to achieve for your party, freeing you up for the evening to mingle or figure out who you'll be smooching at midnight.
- 3. Hors d'oeuvres pas trop cher (not too expensive).
OK, You may be a culinary genius or maybe you fantasize about making all of your friends jealous of your puff-pastry making skills. If you're somewhat normal though, why are you going to the pricey local caterer for your hors d'oeuvres? Yes, they're tasty but they disappear quickly and are forgotten about just as quickly. Appetizers are not meant to overly impress (save that for your witty banter), so head to the grocery store or M&M Meat Shops and load up on the frozen variety. Or look up an easy dip or cheese app recipe (Martha Stewart shares plenty on line) and your guests will be scarfing it down like it's lobster tartare.
- 4. Crafts!
Remember when you were a kid and you went to a birthday party that required you to make something with your bare hands? Remember that it was actually fun? Relive this joy and add booze! Provide your guests with crate paper, tape, markers, glitter and glue and have them make their own hats for the occasion. This will run you about $10 at Dollarama but provide priceless memories (and social media moments).
- 5. Many drinks but only one drink.
Serve as much booze as you want but to keep the costs down, only make one kind of cocktail for everyone. This way you're not on the hook for providing gin, vodka, whiskey, etc... at a huge cost and you're not busy playing bartender all night. Also, go ahead and provide the beer but ask your guests to bring only their good selves (and a bottle of wine).
- 6. Eat as a family.
If your party involves a sit down meal, make sure it's family-style, meaning everyone eats the same simple dish. Spaghetti, lasagna and a hearty stew are good options because they're cheap to buy, easy to make and everyone loves them. Also, all of these dishes will fill stomachs, minimizing (though not eliminating) drunken embarrassments later in the evening.
- 7. Get the neighbours in on it.
One thing that many parents consider nearly impossible to find on New Year's Eve, unless Grandma is involved, is a good babysitter. So, if you like your neighbours (or a few families in your hood), join forces together and find a shared babysitter. Then, you can have a hood party instead of a home party and hit each house for a drink and an app, or have the kids stay at one house with the sitter and you go to the other house for your party. It's win-win all around!