10 Frugal New Year’s Eve Celebrations With Family

Many of us can’t believe it, but the countdown to the new year is nearly here. New Year’s Even is a great time to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward with hope to more exciting things to come. In the past, celebrating the new year was always tough for me because my finances would be pretty tight after Christmas.

The holiday season can be so expensive even if you try to stick to your budget. Luckily, keeping costs low for your New Year’s Eve celebrations is certainly doable. Check out these 10 frugal ideas to help you celebrate New Year’s Eve with family without overspending.

Throw a Party at Home

I’m not the biggest fan of hosting a party or event at my home. It means I have to clean up, plan meals¬†and possibly cook, decorate, and so on. On the flip side, it also means that I get to enjoy the freedom and comfort of being in my own home. Hosting your own New Year’s Eve party comes with clear benefits like being able to start and end the event whenever you please as well as not having to travel. When done a certain way, New Year’s Eve celebrations with family at home can be done frugally and still be a blast. Here are some ideas to help you plan your party.

Potluck Dinner

Potluck dinners are great because everyone can bring a dish to pass instead of you having to buy the entire meal. You can set up a group text or use a sign-up website to plan the menu so there will be a main dish, sides, and plenty of snacks and drinks.

Write a few fun conversation topics on cards or even ask each person to go around and share something they learned this year during dinner.

Dress Up

Consider turning your New Year’s Eve celebrations into a costume party. Choose a theme or just tell people to come dressed up and see what they come up with. You can have everyone pitch in $10 to award a gift card to the person with the best costume.


Do your family and friends love a little friendly competition? Consider adding a fun contest to the list of activities at your New Year’s Eve party. You can have a cookie-baking contest where each person brings their best treat for everyone to taste and judge. Or, you can have people grab materials from the dollar store to create a gift with a small budget of just $5. Active competitions like a charades tournament or even a fun board game are other ideas to try.

Search For Local Events

If you’re not interested in hosting a party at home, look for local events in your area. Most cities have New Year’s Eve celebrations occurring at all times of the day. In most cases, they are free or low-cost events. Here are some tips on what to look for.

Day Parties For Kids

It’s easy to find cheap or free New Year’s parties geared toward families in your local area. Check out sites like EventBrite.com to see what’s coming up. Usually, our local park district hosts a free New Year’s party each year with bounce houses for kids, games, and a balloon drop countdown. Of course, these events might be earlier in the day, but they can still be a great experience for your kids.

Comedy Shows

If you enjoy comedy shows, see if there will be any special performances in your area for the new year. My husband and I used to go to a free comedy show on Thursday nights and it felt good just to get out without spending a fortune. We usually ordered a drink and appetizer which wasn’t much so it was well worth it for the outing.

Restaurants and Small Businesses

Restaurants and small businesses may be hosting New Year’s Eve events as well. Ordering meals at a restaurant could get expensive so you’ll want to compare options and set a budget first. However, if the restaurant is hosting an actual event with activities, live entertainment, trivia contests, etc. it could be worth your while. Some businesses may also host events as well. Even if you have to spend a little money, it’s often nice to just show up somewhere and have everything planned and prepared.

Find Deals in Your Area

There are plenty of New Year’s Eve celebrations to choose from if you’re looking to get out with family and friends. Most places will be battling with competitors for your business. This often means you can score a good discount if you’re actively looking. Search for New Year’s Eve discounts at fun places in your area to see how much you can save. Depending on the size of your group, you may qualify for a group discount as well for some of these activities.


Karaoke is fun whether you consider yourself the best singer or not. Some bars and restaurants offer free or cheap karaoke events. Another affordable place to sing karaoke is at Round One amusement centers. Round One gives your group your own private room for karaoke along with beverages and all the equipment you’ll need.


Bowling is another fun activity that you may be able to find a discount for. Plus, most bowling centers also have billiards, arcade games, and more to keep the whole family busy for the night.

Escape Room

Ending the year with an escape room outing is another great idea. Whether you’ve done one before or not, you’ll be able to solve a new mystery and work together with your team to beat the clock. Consider hosting some snacks at board games at your house afterward to keep costs low vs. going out for drinks and good.


The skating rink in our area always hosts a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party each year. Skating is a fun and active indoor activity. If you’re not too into dancing but still want to get up and move, call around and see what kind of deals the skating rink is offering this year.

Summary: Frugal New Year’s Eve Celebrations Are Possible

After spending extra money on the holidays, you don’t have to further drain your wallet with New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you’re looking to ring in the new year in a fun and memorable way, consider these ideas to help. Set a budget first and confirm who will be joining you for the fun. Then, brainstorm some ideas and be open to learning about events and offers in your area.