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Karen Datangel is a communications specialist, writer, connector, sports enthusiast (Go SF Giants, 49ers, and Warriors), and philanthropy-minded extroverted introvert. Born, bred, and based in the Bay Area, Karen graduated with a degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University. Her writing/media resume includes contributions to and internships with Hollywood Life, CAAMFest (Formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival), Audrey Magazine (Now part of Character Media), Bustle, Fandom, SheKnows, and POPSUGAR. She now focuses mostly on social media and communications in various industries, currently working as the Public Relations Assistant with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and having worked previously at Salesforce and Google. Outside of work, she is an active member of the Spinsters of San Francisco.

How to Throw a Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party on a Budget

photo credit: Shutterstock

If holiday shopping has your wallet burnt out and you have to spend the monetary gifts you did receive on rent/your car/your cell phone bill, you can still ring in 2014 boisterously without breaking the bank. All you need are odds and ends that are already in your home, some cooperative buddies, and you and your crew’s party ‘tude! So get those Evites and Facebook event invites ready, make sure your pad is looking spick and span, and lay out your favorite party dress: You’re going out on December 31st, in your own home! Read on for some tips on how to ring in the new year in style and for minimal cash.

Make it a potluck and B.Y.O.B. affair (But start ’em up and close it out!). As host, let guests know what you’ll be providing in your event invite. Definitely be the one to keep some cheap champagne on ice for the midnight toast, and maybe a couple of sodas. Put out a snack bowl of your favorite munchies and prepare or order one dish that most of your guests can feast on. I personally think you can’t go wrong with pizza! If you want to strengthen your kitchen skills, try your hand at some fancy but simple three-ingredient appetizers, like fresh mustard and cream cheese on pretzels. However, you may want to keep those with dietary restrictions in mind. Ultimately though, have each guest bring a snack, dish, dessert, or drink to share and let them take care of the rest.

Print them! Many craft blogs exist just so creatives can share their work with others for personal use. Gorgeous printable graphics are available all across the Web to use as banners, centerpieces, food presentations, and more! Keep tabs on Pinterest as updated versions become available, and check out Spoonful and The 36th Avenue for some timeless picks.  Of course, if you happen to have pristine Photoshop skills yourself, customize your own graphics for a truly personalized party!

Light it up! Who says Christmas lights have to come down right after Christmas? Leave them, or string them together in a simpler way.

Set up a photobooth. Use a space in your home with a nice background where you or a friend can take photos of your fabulous guests throughout the night. Put out some fun props like glasses, hats, and feather boas (Encourage your guests to bring these items to share!) and let them let loose! Use your digital camera and upload the photos to a designated album on your Facebook page or another service. If you really want to take it up a notch and you or a friend already have one, take the photos with a Polaroid for instant party souvenirs!

Put together some party playlists. Whether you play them from your computer or iDevice of choice, curate a mix or two that will create an upbeat atmosphere. To sing goodbye to the outgoing year, check out iTunes and the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of 2013 (Or the selections in Daniel Kim‘s incredible Pop Danthology 2013 mash-up) for songs to include in the night’s soundtrack. Some essentials: “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z, “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz, “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia, “Royals” by Lorde, “Roar” by Katy Perry, and the viral “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus.

Play games. The party is just getting started after midnight, so dust off that box of Taboo that you never opened from three Christmases ago or that old Uno deck you keep for a rainy day and put it to good use. Besides, it’s also time to take the shot glasses out, which means you can go for a good old-fashioned adult drinking game! One of my favorites from the past few years is “What the F?,” where your friends quietly answer A or B to weird and twisted questions and those who guess their answers incorrectly must take one to three shots. However, my buddies have considerably modified this to just one drink per incorrect answer and of course, those who don’t drink alcohol are still welcome to participate with juice, soda, water, Horchata, ramune, etc. As you can imagine, the game ends pretty quickly.

Here’s a fun New Year’s related guessing game from Money Crashers, and you don’t even have to drink to it: Have everyone write down their resolutions for the new year and put them in a bowl. Draw them out one-by-one, read them out loud, and have everyone take turns at guessing who wrote what. It’ll be a fun and thought-provoking bonding experience.

We’d love to hear about your New Year’s Eve house party ideas and how you plan on saving money and time in your planning. However you celebrate, have fun, be safe, and best wishes for 2014!

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