Cheap Ways to Celebrate the New Year

file0001856227123It’s the last day of 2012. Have you decided how you will be ringing in the New Year? Restaurants and bars capitalize on one of the busiest nights of the year by jacking up prices for a fixed menu or set number of drinks. If you like that type of event and have already budgeted for it, go have fun. If you have waited until the last minute, but still want to participate in some festivities, here are some cheap ways to celebrate the New Year.

Stay Home and Invite Friends Over

You can avoid the crowds by staying at home. You don’t have to go all out financially to have a great party. It can be BYOB or pot luck. You can dress up or wear pajamas. You don’t even have to invite friends if you don’t want. It’s your house. Do as you please. What can you do for entertainment?

  • Play Board Games
  • Have a Penny Poker Tournament
  • Watch a whole TV series or trilogy of movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Watch your favorite band’s concert DVD
  • Play Pictionary
  • Have an after Christmas white elephant exchange
  • Pull out your pictures from trips and events from the past year and plan for the next one
  • Eat all your favorite foods one last time in 2012. You probably have an eating better resolution anyway.
  • Have everyone bring a drink idea from a different country and have a “Bars Around the World Party”

Be Active

This doesn’t work so great if you don’t have a clear night, but in Colorado, it’s fun to to moonlight snowshoe, sled or cross country ski. If you live somewhere warm and near water, how about a midnight swim or walk on the shore? You can follow it up with a warm hot chocolate with irish cream if you are cold or a fruity drink if you are warm.

Attend a Charity or Church Function

If you aren’t into the bar scene, many charities or churches hold New Year’s Eve functions. It depends on where you live and what your interests are, but there are a wide variety of options for couples, singles, or older kids. Even if there is admission, you’ll know it goes to a good cause.

Plan on a Safe Ride Home

If you do venture out on New Year’s Eve and plan on indulging in a cocktail or two or three, have a plan to get home without getting behind the wheel. Don’t leave it up to your judgement after you’ve started drinking. Whether you have a designated driver, stay within walking distance, or plan to call a cab, don’t take the chance with getting behind the wheel. You have no idea what your blood alcohol level is. Most drunks think they are fine to drive. Could you live with yourself if you hurt someone else? Even if you only get pulled over and charged with a DUI, the cost in fines and classes is usually around $10,000, and many public sector jobs will fire you for an arrest. Makes cab fair seem pretty cheap, huh?


I haven’t been involved in the party scene for so long, I can barely remember what it was like. With a busy five year old, I get up pretty early and usually go to bed by 10PM. If I can make it up until midnight, that will be an achievement in itself. If you have busy days, there is nothing wrong with sleeping in the New Year.

Thank goodness the Mayans were wrong and we get to ring in a New Year! Most of us enjoy a good party, but you don’t have to spend a mint to reach 2013. There are tons of cheap ways to celebrate without breaking your budget.

How are you going to celebrate on New Year’s Eve? 



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  1. We ended up going to a restaurant for food, drinks and dancing. Tickets were $40, food was amazing and unlimited (including seafood!), view was superb, and the DJ was meh. All in all, a good night. We took a cab home for $10.

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