- By Avery Newmark For the AJC
New Year's Eve is the party of the year. It's a night for cocktails, splendour and celebrating with people you love. But if you're trying to avoid the typical club party (and through-the-roof costs), you're going to have to get creative.
Here are nine affordable ways to ring in 2018 like a boss:
Binge watch movies
Want to avoid spending lots of money on a NYE outfit? Put on your pj's, crack open a bottle of wine (or two) and indulge in a low-key movie night. It's cheap, easy and you can invite whomever you want. If you want to stick to the NYE theme, you should watch “When Harry Met Sally”. “Ghostbusters II” is perfect if you want to laugh. And after the second bottle of wine, it's only appropriate to dance along to “Boogie Nights”.
Host a potluck party
Skip the fancy restaurant reservation and save some money with a potluck party. Have each guest pitch in and bring a dish and drink - that way you don't have to do all the cooking. If you want to go the extra mile, have everyone come in party clothes and set up a photo booth with fun props.
Throw a game night
Game night doesn't have to be boring, especially on NYE. Tell everyone to come over after they've had dinner for snacks and a night of laughs. You can go old-school with games like Parcheesi, charades, Monopoly and UNO. Or try some of the newest "adult" crazes like Exploding Kittens, Cards Against Humanity and Hedbanz for Adults.
Find a house party
If you want to save money but still get of your house, make some calls and find out who's throwing a house party. Try to find that “10 Things I Hate About You” or “National Lampoon's Animal House” level party. You'll probably end up having more fun kicking back at someone's house than making small talk with strangers at an overcrowded club.
Cook dinner with your spouse
It's perfectly fine if you just feel like staying at home and low-keying it with bae; not all NYE plans have to include a big group of people. Get romantic and cook a small dinner together while sipping champagne. Then, set the mood with a nice soundtrack, light some candles and wait for the ball to drop from the comfort of your living room. Life sure is better when you have someone worth staying in for.
Go crazy at the dollar store
Live out your childhood fantasies and be dollar store rich. You can stock up on glow sticks, bubbles and all the other fun party favors without breaking the bank. Once you've acquired a stash of party goods, grab some friends and let loose in the neighborhood. Jump around and remember what it's like to feel like a kid again.
Catch a firework show
Fireworks are expensive - that's why you let other people buy them and just watch for free (hot chocolate in hand, of course). If you're lucky, someone in your neighborhood will be shooting them off. If not, there's bound to be a display somewhere nearby. Watching fireworks explode in the sky as you count down from 10 is a magical way to ring in the New Year.
Hit up a local dive bar
On NYE, most clubs and restaurants take advantage of the demand and hike up their prices. The drink specials go away and cover charges and pricey tickets take their place. But those pricey places aren't the only parties in town. Head over to a dive bar. They aren't overcharging customers and the friendly, relaxed atmosphere is a much better way to spend your New Years. Just drive safe (Lyft or Uber) and be sure to tip your bartender.
Spend time with family
Everybody has some sort of family. Whether you're lucky enough to be born into one, married into one or have an outstanding group of best friends, ringing in the New Year with family is a sure way to feel warm and cozy inside. And your parents are probably a lot more fun than you think.