Merry Christmas, if you’re celebrating today! I hope you’re spending the day with people you love, or indulging in some much-needed alone time. I love taking advantage of the holiday season to eat lots of cookies and sit under lots of blankets.
This weekend, once you’ve wound down from the holidays, it’ll be time to ring in the new year. If you plan on celebrating, there are ways you can do so without breaking the bank.
Set a Budget
You’re probably in a little pain after spending money on holiday gifts and/or travel. Keep that in mind when you think about how much you want to spend on New Year’s Eve. What’s a number that will allow you to have fun without going over budget? How much money can you spend without feeling guilty or regretful the next day?
You can pick a specific spending number, or maybe choose an amount of drinks or food. I sometimes like to limit myself to only 2-3 drinks so that I don’t spend too much or feel terrible the next day. It really depends on you and how you can typically keep yourself on track.
Use Cash Only
The best way to limit your spending is to make it impossible to spend more than you’ve budgeted for. The easiest way to do this is to leave your credit and debit cards home. Set a budget for your evening celebration. Take that amount out of the bank in cash and only bring that with you on New Year’s Eve. Once you spend all the cash on hand, you will literally be unable to buy anything else. (And don’t cheat by using things like Apple Pay!)
Eat Before You Go
If you’re going out to a bar or party for New Year’s Eve, a great way to save money is to eat before you get there. Make yourself dinner at home so you’re not tempted to order food once you’re out. Plus, you won’t get as drunk as you would if you don’t eat at all.
For the first 22 years of my life, I never went out to celebrate New Year’s. In my family, we all traveled to my grandma’s or aunt’s house to spend the evening together. Most of us didn’t live near one another, so this was our chance to celebrate a late Christmas, open gifts, eat fondue, and enjoy each other’s company. I really miss those times now that I’m an adult!
So if you’re not a party person, and you love staying cozy at home, just do that! I know that we all feel the pressure to be social and post our beautiful pictures online, but we also have the freedom to stay in if we want to. In fact, this year, I’ll be ringing in the new year from my couch (with a glass of champagne), and I can’t wait.
Host a Party (or Brunch)
My fiancé and I are hosting a New Year’s Day brunch this year. We’re not as interested in going out on New Year’s Eve anymore, but we still want to celebrate. So we’re having friends over to our new house and hosting a potluck brunch. There will be plenty of champagne flowing, but we’ll likely be spending less than we would out at a bar.
So if you want to be with the people you love, but don’t necessarily want to go out or spend a bunch of money at a restaurant or bar, throw your own party! Have your guests bring a drink or dish to pass and everyone will have plenty to imbibe without spending very much.
What is your plan for New Year’s this year? Share in the comments!
Certified Financial Education Instructor. Feminist and financial coach for women. Founder of Money Circle.