New Year’s Eve on a College Student’s Budget


New Year's EveDid you know that over two million people travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to celebrate New Year’s Eve? People gather along the seashore, dressed in white for good luck, and toss flowers into the sea. You can expect to be bathed in champagne, as well, as this too is a sign of good luck. If that’s not your idea of a good time, there’s always the traditional ball drop in Times Square. Over one million people huddle together in the cold to ring in the New Year and sing ‘Old Lang Syne,’ as they are showered with colorful confetti. Personally, I’ve always wanted to head down to Sydney, Australia. Over 1.5 million people and 3,000 boats pack the harbor to view a firework show that is truly amazing. It’s also the first major city in the world to ring in the New Year. Now that could make for one long party! Unfortunately, flying out to one of these destinations is not in my budget right now, but that doesn’t mean I have to sit home alone on the biggest party night of the year. In fact, I plan to throw an intimate gathering for my friends and family. You too can host a New Year’s Eve celebration without breaking the bank.  Just follow these simple suggestions.


1. Recycle Holiday Decorations

Don’t put away your Christmas decorations just yet. Use empty gift boxes to create varying levels on your food tables, covering them with wrapping paper or colorful fabric. Add some small lights, ball ornaments and candy canes to complete the festive look. If you have several small nutcrackers or other standing ornaments, these work great for holding place setting cards and food tags. You can also use leftover tissue paper under dishes for a splash of color.


2. Forgo Fancy Invitations

Although traditional card invitations are very pretty, they can cost an arm and a leg. Since most students are already plugged in, consider using one of the many online services to create a fun invitation that can be sent electronically to your guests for free. Some of the ones I really like are Evite, Anyvite and Smilebox.


3. Host a Potluck

A great way to reduce your costs for a holiday party is to ask everyone to bring one or two dishes to share. You can determine a theme (Mexican, French, etc.) or let it be a surprise. If you really want to make it interesting, turn it into a game by placing small cups and strips of paper near the dishes and having people guess which guest made it. At the end of the evening, pass out a ballot and choose the ‘Best Dish,’ awarding that guest a bottle of champagne or other prize for winning.


If you host a party that offers alcoholic drinks, be sure to have a designated driver available or a list of local cab companies. There should also be a variety of non-alcoholic offerings for those who prefer not to drink. Be sure to inquire about any special dietary concerns, such as food allergies, to ensure everyone enjoys their evening. A memorable New Year’s Eve is not measured by how much you spend, but rather who you spend it with. Here’s hoping you are surrounded by those you love and that you all have a Happy New Year!

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