Throwing a party on a budget

The festive season is here and, with parties aplenty, it can be easy to lose track of your spending. But there are many ways you can throw a killer New Year’s Eve bash on a budget.

If money’s tight for you, as it is for most of us at the moment, you might find these top tips helpful — particularly if you’re trying to get your finances back on track after Christmas. Read on to find out how to keep the good times flowing without breaking the bank…

1. Plan your New Year’s Eve feast in advance

It’s tempting to want to be the host with the most but if you really want to cut your costs the best place to start is at the banquet table. There are loads of different ways you can lower your spending by reviewing your party food plan:

    • Go food-free

The cheapest option is to plan your party around mealtimes, so nobody is expecting to be fed. It’s a good idea to let people know there’ll be just drinks and nibbles to make sure your guests don’t turn up with rumbling tums!

    • Ask everyone to bring a dish

If you’re starting the party in the early evening, then food is probably necessary. Ask everyone to bring a little something, and together you’ll have more than enough for everyone. No one likes to come to a party empty-handed anyway, so it’s a great opportunity for your guests to contribute by showing off their showstopper dishes!

    • Make your own buffet

Have you got the budget to put on a spread but still want to keep the costs low? Make dishes yourself rather than buying ready-made party food. You can make pretty much every element of a buffet yourself, from finger sandwiches and chips ‘n’ dips to a homemade cake. Your guests will really appreciate the effort you’ve gone to!

2. Review non-essentials

Get rid of anything that costs money and isn’t completely necessary. Your guests are joining you to ring in the new year — they’re not judging you on the paper weight of your invites.

    • Scrap the official invites

Send a quick text to your guests instead of sending official invites out by post. You can make your invites much more personal this way, too, as you won’t be sending invites out en masse.

    • Go for PIY decorations

Print it yourself (PIY) posters, bunting and banners are a much cheaper alternative to decorations. Kitting out your house or venue in homemade decs can be just as effective!

Don’t forget that all your Christmas decorations will provide the perfect festive backdrop, too. So make sure you don’t pack away your tinsel and fairy lights before the big day.

    • Swap out the favours

It’s unlikely guests will expect to receive favours at a New Year’s Eve party, so this one’s an easy one to get rid of. Why not grab yourself a big bag of party poppers or sparklers to celebrate the clock striking midnight and hand those out instead?

3. Decide on a theme

If you host a generic New Year’s Eve party, your guests might be expecting food, drink and entertainment — and this could end up costing you a small fortune. You can get around this by deciding on a theme.

    • Make it a cocktail party

One thing that can get very pricy when hosting a party is the drinks. So why not make it a cocktail party and ask everyone to bring a bottle of alcohol each? Just provide the fruit juices and mixers and you’ll have yourself a fabulously fun cocktail station without it hurting your wallet.

    • Go for fancy dress

Asking everyone to come in fancy dress based on a certain theme can really save you money on decorations as your guests will become the decorations!

    • Prepare in advance

A last-minute NYE party is likely to be much more expensive. So, get prepared and save yourself some cash in the process!

    • Tell your friends in plenty of time

Last-minute dropouts can be costly, and you want to avoid shelling out on food and drink you just don’t need. By getting organised and sending out your invites early, you can make sure guests have plenty of warning. A last-minute invite is more likely to result in no-shows.

    • Shop the sales

Get all your essentials in the sale by shopping for Black Friday bargains and Boxing Day deals. Loads of brands sell products at a heavily discounted price both before and right after Christmas, so make a list of everything you need and try to get it in the sale.

Prepping for 2023 parties already? Here are our top tips for getting party-ready without breaking the bank

    • Work together as a team

Your friends and family will likely want to help in any way they can — so let them! They might be able to help pay for a thing or two, offer to make food or decorations, or even bring their skills such as DJing or photographing to the party! Accept offers of help to keep the costs down.

    • Host a brunch party

Save on alcohol costs by hosting next year’s parties in the morning. They can be just as special, and even more unusual. Who doesn’t love pancakes and waffles?

    • Avoid colour themes

Don’t get caught up trying to find items to match your theme. This gets expensive very quickly as you try to find the perfect match. Opt for a sleek and chic black and white theme, instead — particularly if you’re hosting an evening do.

    • Think sustainably

With sustainable living at the top of many people’s agendas, try to bring sustainable thinking into your party planning.

Think paper decorations, reusable partyware, plant-based menus, recycling your wardrobe… there are loads of ways you can make your party more environmentally friendly — and it’ll probably save you some cash too.

    • Get your finances in order

Do you have a big party coming up? Whether you’re planning the ultimate baby shower or the wedding of your dreams, a personal loan could help you to spread the cost of your bash which’ll help you to keep your finances in order. Simply pay back your loan in fixed-rate monthly instalments so you can manage your outgoings and stick to a set budget.

Check out our loan calculator for a quote and to get an idea of estimated monthly repayments. You’ll be planning your party of the year in no time!

What are your top tips for planning a party on a budget? Tell us over on Facebook or Instagram.


Written by

Stephanie Reid

Stephanie Reid is a financial services expert with over eight years of experience writing money-saving articles at Novuna Personal Finance. She has written hundreds of articles on a variety of topics including interior design, home improvements and weddings - with a keen eye for spotting money-saving opportunities and passing these tips onto readers. As a mum of two, Stephanie knows how important budgeting effectively is for parents and often incorporates family budgeting tips into her guides.

Tuesday 20th December 2022