New years eve. It’s the time when you go out to a bar, or a party, and drink too much-right? Well, not in our house. We stick to staying home and having a fun and frugal time together with our three boys (now 13, 9 and 1 1/2). The oldest boys look forward to New Years Eve because it’s the only time of the year we let them stay up until midnight. And believe it or not, they’ve made it the past 4 or 5 years! Before that they’d fall asleep. Of course the little one doesn’t know what’s going on, so he can just sleep through the festivities.
Since we’re staying at home, we could just watch streaming video until midnight then head to bed. That would likely be the most frugal option of all – but not as much fun as what we do! Instead of just hanging around we make some fun food for dinner, pick up some special snacks that we don’t have around the rest of the year, and make confetti and fun party hats from construction paper and streamers. It’s part of “making the ordinary a little bit extraordinary”, which is a concept I use to make frugality fun. And at under $30, it’s a lot easier on our wallets than the $200 people are apparently spending on New Year’s Eve dinner and parties!
So what do we do? Keep reading for some fun and frugal ideas to celebrate New Years Eve as a family! Be sure to leave a comment at the end with fun family-friendly suggestions that we and other readers should add to our plans.
Usually Friday nights are pizza nights here, but for New Years Eve we kick it up a notch. Everyone gets to make their own personal pizza, and we’re going to slice it up into small, snack-sized pieces to munch on. If you’re looking for a recipe and instructions, check out the image below, or read my article to learn how we make homemade pizza for $3.36 for an entire pizza!
Total cost for dinner – $3.36.
You need something to do while waiting for midnight-why not have a free (or nearly free) movie night? Every week in my e-mail I get something from Redbox offering me $1.25 off of a movie rental, meaning I can rent a movie for the princely sum of 27 cents. Of course, there’s always the local library where I can get multiple movies for free. And lets not forget the streaming services where more hours of movies than we could ever watch are available. Since we cut cable years ago, we don’t need to worry about pesky advertisements or paying for content we never watch. If you’re still looking for ways to counter objections to cutting the cord, read through my 11 steps to cutting the cord for ideas and resources.
Total cost for movie – 27 cents, or free!
Snacks and Drinks!
A party’s not a party without snacks and drinks-am I right? Of course with minors making up 3/5 of our party attendees, we’re not going all-out on the alcohol. Instead I picked up two bottles of sparkling cider from the grocery store so we and the older boys have some fun and inexpensive ($5) special drinks to ring in the new year. We also don’t usually keep soda in the house but we’ll make an exception for our special party-one bottle each of root beer and orange soda is more than enough.
For snacks, I’ll pick up some chip-type-things from BJ’s (two for $6), and make a yummy dessert like a festive cake. We’ll probably pick up one other special snack to munch on as the night goes on. Last year I also made some fun apple slices that everyone enjoyed, so I might make those again this year.
Total snacks and drinks cost – $20
Festive Frugal Party Supplies!
As a parent of young children, I always have construction paper around the house. We also have streamers and markers. Add those together and you can have fun party hats, decorations, and confetti for no cost!
- A few years ago we made reusable confetti by cutting all colors of construction paper into small squares. It’s perfect for a New Years celebration, because when it falls it twists and turns around in the air like confetti should. After throwing it in the air (over a wood floor with a lot of open space) and celebrating, we do a quick sweep up and pop it in the bag to be used again next year. Saves us from having to cut it out again, and it’s really easy to clean up with the wooden floors
- We made party hats every year to wear to ring in the new year! Attaching some streamers to the top helps make it extra festive. I think my 13 year old is starting to outgrow this one, though. In that case he can make the hat for his little brother
- Go wild with other party decorations! Have each kid make a “happy new year” sign with printer paper and hang it around the room where you’re having the party. You can use Christmas lights to create a festive atmosphere, even if you’ve already put away the tree. Make it just a little bit special and your kids will look forward to your next party!
Cost – Nothing. Use things you already have around the house!
Total cost – Under $30 for everything-including dinner!
That’s only $6 per person. If we were to try to eat out on New Years Eve instead, it would be hard to get dinner for that price unless we stuck to fast food. So instead of going out for fast food, we can have much yummier food, movies, drinks, desserts, and fun party hats for less!
Family Financial Lesson
Readers of my blog know that I like to use everyday events, like school book fairs or hot air balloon festivals, to impart financial lessons on my kids using day-to-day life. Well a New Years Eve party is no exception. With a small amount of spending, and some creativity, we can make the ordinary just a little bit extraordinary. For less than half the cost of going out to eat, we’ll get not only dinner, dessert, and drinks, but also movies and fun decorations. The lesson I’m teaching my kids here is that living frugally isn’t about never spending anything, sitting in the dark, or just going to bed instead of celebrating. Instead it’s about creatively using our financial and other resources to have an even better time than we could get spending money. It also reinforces that the holidays aren’t about spending money-they’re about spending time together and having fun.
What other fun and frugal New Years Eve party ideas do you have for your family? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to stay tuned tomorrow when I cover what other PF bloggers are doing to celebrate!