6 Steps to Throwing a New Year's Party on the Cheap

RINGING IN 2015 FOR LESS

New Year's Eve is notorious for overpriced festivities. With the array of exorbitant themed dinners and club events for the taking, it's certainly easy to ring in the New Year broke. Instead, stay true to your frugal roots and throw a joyous gathering at home. This hardly means welcoming 2015 in bare-bones fashion. Take your cues from the list below and you'll start the year right, and on budget.

DECORATE WITH CANDLES

Candles are one of the easiest ways to ramp up the ambience, and also one of the more affordable. Dispense with costly themed party decor and place the candles you probably received as holiday presents in strategic (and safe) spots around the room. Walmart sells a box of 30 unscented votives for about $12, which should be sufficient to light up the night.

FORGO THE MAIN COURSE

Appetizers are a cheaper way to entertain and can be just as filling and more tempting for guests. Fondue, a party favorite, is an inexpensive centerpiece that can set the theme for a whole evening of eats. For a more varied party menu, surf the web for recipes using key words such as small plates, tapas, and finger foods. My Recipes offers a bunch of suggestions for tasty and cheap appetizers. One cheese puff recipe serves eight guests for only about $2 total.

REUSE DECOR

Strands of lights from the tree are a simple and no-stress way to decorate. The days after Christmas are the perfect time to stock up on twinkly holiday lights because they're likely to be on sale. In the meantime, Target is offering packs of mini lights for just $3.

CREATE A SPECIAL PARTY COCKTAIL

Full bars are so passe. Serving a signature party drink is cheaper than stocking up on various hard liquors and is often more memorable than run-of-the-mill rum and Coke. Real Simple suggests serving a holiday cranberry lemonade punch with a splash of vodka, but the possibilities are truly endless. Get creative with an original name for the drink.

ENTERTAIN WITH APPS

The cheapest entertainment is at the touch of your fingertips. For just a few dollars, you can download numerous apps that will bring party flair to your living room. Karaoke Tube will have you all singing over your Mac for only $11, far cheaper than a night out at a karaoke bar. Disco Brick and Hue Party transform background music into a light show for less than the price of a drink at an actual club. And New Year's Noise Maker will play Auld Lang Syne and blast New Year's sounds like horns and twirlers for less than a dollar.

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GO CHEAP AND CHEERFUL WITH PARTY FAVORS

Parting gifts are more fun when they're thoughtful, not necessarily pricey. Think in terms of themes. If guests have indulged in too much cheap champagne, a perfect New Year's Eve send-off might include a small packet of Emergen-C (30 packets for $12 at Drugstore.com) or a travel-size Advil packet, both of which are sure to be appreciated on January 1.