New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and if you haven’t cemented plans to ring in 2009 all is not lost. Though premium-priced admissions fees for clubs and costly dinner deals can easily throw a wrench in planning as the economy remains in turmoil, there are recession-proof ways to have an A-list celebration on a D-list budget.
Restaurants on the dime: If the frenzy of a club doesn’t entice you, or you’re looking for a relaxed environment, many restaurants offer New Year’s Eve packages. They usually include dinner and an open bar. Check out Opentable.com for specials in your area, says Massah David, vice president of events and marketing for MVD Inc., a public relations and event planning firm. “[OpenTable] lists all the restaurants that will have any deals, what time seating starts, and what [their package includes],” she says. “With the economy the way it is, [restaurants] are having a lot of deals.”
Make it intimate: A home-based shindig is almost always the cheapest route when it comes to cutting costs. “People can make their own dishes or you can order from the nearest restaurant,” David says. “Mexican food is always good, and that’s always cheap.” If you’re pressed for time check your local grocer’s Website for affordable party platters. Shoprite, FreshDirect, Stop & Shop, and other wholesale grocers will let you plan your meal online.
Bargain shop for bubbly: Don’t have a champagne budget? Check out Cava, which is sparkling wine from Spain, or Prosecco, Italy’s sparkly wine. If you still want to drink bubbly from its namesake region in France, remember that champagne doesn’t have to be expensive to taste good. Visit Consumersearch.com for champagne reviews and a price guide. For the budget conscious, David recommends Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label which runs about $40 or Korbel Champagne Brut which can cost you about $15 a bottle.
Change venues: If you’re down to the wire on New Year’s Eve, and you still can’t figure out what to do, try renting a hotel room. “A lot of hotels give deals the night of,” David says. “A room that will generally go for $500 you might get for $100 cheaper, or more,” she adds. And a $300 or $400 room split five ways is quite a bargain on New Year’s Eve. You may be one of many vying for these discount getaways, so you’ll have to move quickly.
Travel off the beaten track: Destination hotspots for the New Year usually include Miami, Las Vegas, and New York City, which may mean pricey airfare, hotels, and nightlife options. If you’re trying to skip town, consider jetting off to an uncommon city such as San Diego, New Orleans, or Atlantic City. “Because [New Orleans] is a Southwest Airlines city, it is one of the best side picks,” with fares priced at about $200 to $300, says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, an airfare shopping site. Procrastinators may have the