New Year's Eve has to be one of the most expensive nights of the year. Tickets to fancy events usually cost hundreds of dollars, bars and restaurants inflate their prices (or only offer a very expensive set charge which means that even if you only want two drinks, you have to shell out at least 50 bucks anyway) — and you probably can't get out of town even if you wanted to, because airfare, hotel rates, and train ticket prices are higher too. Even throwing a party at home gets expensive fast — between alcohol, food, and decorations, it all adds up. In summation, it can feel impossible to find cheap things to do on New Year's Eve.
But don't worry — it definitely isn't. New Years Eve 2021 will feel different in more ways than one this year. With the coronavirus pandemic still looming around, NYE will be going virtual for many and that means saving more coins. Sure, you'll have to shell out some cash, but it won't be too much — everything on this list is reasonably priced, while still super fun and actually worth staying up until midnight for. If you get a little creative, you can find lots of cheaper options that will help you create lots of memories.
1. Go Ice Skating
If you don't mind the colder temperatures (and wearing a mask), find an ice skating rink nearby that's open on New Year's Eve and go for it. Ice skating is such an adorable winter activity, and there's something really special about it at night. Most rinks are relatively inexpensive, too. Be sure to check with your local ice rink's COVID guidelines.
2. Have A Virtual Game Night
If you don't want to throw a party, don't want to go out, but also don't want to do nothing, consider a virtual game night! Send out a Zoom invite and gather a few friends or family members for after-dinner games (so no pricey food bills required!) and offer some interactive game options like Taboo or Headbands (which can be downloaded on your phone). Virtual game sites like Jackbox and Houseparty also offer loads of fun online game ideas for you and the gang.
3. Throw A Virtual Pajama-Themed Dance Party
One way to make a party a little bit cheaper? Make it a little less fancy. New Year's Eve outfits can get expensive fast, especially if you're going all out on a sparkly dress you'll only wear once and a new pair of heels. And since many of us won't be going out, why not try throwing a virtual pajama themed party? It sounds silly, but friends will appreciate feeling comfortable.
4. Have A Romantic, Low-Key Date Night
Spending New Year's Eve with bae? Make it romantic with a low-key date night. Make a small dinner together instead of going out. Rent some fun rom-coms instead of hitting the theater, then watch the ball drop from the comfort of your own couch. Light some candles to make it more cozy, maybe have a little bonfire outside if you can, and talk, laugh, and cuddle the night away.
5. Skip The Drinking (& The Hangover)
Not big on beers and shots? No worries. Skipping the alcohol on New Year's Eve will probably save you a lot more money than you think. Instead of stocking up on liquour, just have fun sober. Your wallet will thank you, and you'll also thank yourself the next day, when you're not miserable from a hangover.
6. Watch NYE-Themed Movies
Skip all the virtual events and fancy home outfits and settle in for a low-key movie night with those in your home. Tune into a festive film with your roommates, your partner, family members, cats, dogs... whatever! If you want to feel the mood of New Year's, watch NYE themed movies. I suggest When Harry Met Sally if you love rom-coms, Poseidon if you're looking for some action, Money Train for adventure, The Godfather II if you want a classic, and Boogie Nights for the party atmosphere.
7. Hang With Your Parents
OK, hear me out: your parents are probably a lot more fun than you give them credit for. As someone who spends every New Year's Eve with her family, I can tell you that it's nice to be surrounded by the closest people to you at midnight. As 2020 has shown us the value of family, tag along with them if they're going somewhere (socially distanced, of course). If you don't already live with your parents, hop on a Zoom call with them. You'll all appreciate it in the long run.
8. Have A Virtual Wine Night With Friends
If a few of your friends also don't have plans or are trying to save money, suggest a virtual wine night. You can get a few big bottles of wine for super cheap, and laugh/dance the night away on your own. You'll save the money you would have spent on an outfit and overpriced drinks, and you'll feel comfortable (and very giggly) all night.
9. Have A Spa Night
Spas can be super pricey but with face masks, nail polish, and cucumbers, you can have a DIY spa night in your own home. Make it virtual by getting your friends in on facetime from their own homes and have a relaxing night in.
10. Do Something Active
Want to wake up feeling refreshed on New Year's Day for once? Skip the champagne and do something active. Some cities have runs at midnight or midnight yoga classes on New Year's Eve. You could also invite friends over and do a yoga class on YouTube together.
11. Arts & Crafts Night
Feeling creative? Have an old fashioned arts and crafts night, but make it virtual. Plan a Zoom party with and invite friends to paint, draw, knit — or break out the coloring books while you sip wine if that's more your thing.
12. Have A Mini Photoshoot
Kiss this year good-bye in style with a mini photoshoot from the comfort of your own home. On a Zoom party with friends? Have everyone dress in style and have a virtual photoshoot and ring in the new year with new photos.
13. Write Resolutions For 2021
This year has given us much to long for and improve. As journaling has become all the rage in 2020 (I mean, we needed to get our thoughts out somehow), end the year by writing your goals and dreams for 2021.
14. Search Free Events In Your Area
Not convinced by any of the suggestions on this list? Do a quick Google search of free NYE events near you. Something is bound to pop up, whether it's a show, a bar boasting inexpensive prices, or some sort of fair. Make sure wherever you decide to go is following COVID-19 guidelines. You'll definitely find something, and maybe it will even get you to explore a little bit, just be sure to mask up!
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