New Year's Eve 2013 on a 1963 budget

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Tips for ringing in the New Year without raiding your wallet

New Year's Eve 2013 on a 1963 budget
NYE 2013 on a 1963 budget (Getty Premium images)

Honestly, the only foolproof thing that really says New Year’s are balloons and streamers. But the trick is to do enough of them. ... Cover those ceilings!

— Christopher Lowell, Emmy-winning lifestyle expert and author

The old saying goes that if you remember the 60's then you probably weren't there. Well, our account does and he assures us that we lived a little larger on less. You want to ring in this new year, but finances are not allowing you to throw caution to the wind? No problem. You can have a memorable end-of-year bash without going into debt. Emmy-winning lifestyle expert and author Christopher Lowell and green event planner Deborah Kattler Kupetz of dkkevents share their ideas on how to make the most of your party budget so you can celebrate New Year’s Eve in style.

Set the mood

New Year's Eve 2013 on a 1963 budget
(Brent Stirton/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

When it comes to New Year’s Eve party decor, there’s only one way to go. “Honestly, the only foolproof thing that really says New Year’s are balloons and streamers,” said Lowell. “But the trick is to do enough of them. Blow them up with a helium tank, which costs very little to rent, tie off with a single-coloured streamer and you’re done! But to sell the effect, you need hundreds of them, so don’t be shy -- they’re cheap! Cover those ceilings!”

For a unique twist, Kupetz suggests swapping out the photos in your frames with items cut out of the newspapers. “You can choose anything, but perhaps showcasing Best of 2012 ideas for the new year or well wishes for the new year can be conversational and more meaningful,” she said.

Also, don’t forget about music. “Music is often the most overlooked,” said Lowell. “Take the time to score your event.”

When choosing songs, he says to go with songs that have energy and “speak to happy days ahead,” and don’t be afraid to turn it up. “The music for a stand-up party should be just a bit louder than anything else,” said Lowell. “The music should be front and centre, not in the background.”

Dress up the food

New Year's Eve 2013 on a 1963 budget
(Lara Hata/FoodPix/Getty Images)

A good party always demands great food, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all out with a catered spread. “I recommend doing a landscaped buffet that can be made in advance, either on a kitchen island or a dining room table -- or any surface for that matter,” Lowell said. “Not only will it serve the guests, but it also acts as a focal point for decoration as well. The idea is to use lifts and levels to create the base.”

Lowell suggests using anything from overturned pots and pans to old paint cans or overturned glasses, any items that will support your serving dishes at various levels. Next, he says to drape them with fabric in white and metallics like silver and gold lame. Then nestle and scatter appropriate objects such as gold and silver metallic balls and white Christmas lights.

“For added focal points, get yourself several clear glass cylinders in various sizes from your local florist,” Lowell said. “For the tablescapes, simply fill them with the appropriate items that coordinate back to the tablescape. For New Year's, metallic balls and sprays of white branches. Pillar candles can be nestled in these same containers and placed on the buffet or on sideboards and window ledges.”

When choosing food options, Lowell recommends fewer heaping dishes rather than several smaller ones. “Pastas are cheap, tasty, look great on heaping elevated platters and everyone likes it,” he said. “Most supermarkets also have a lot of premade food that all you have to do is arrange on the platter and garnish with whatever fresh herbs are in the dish.”

Of course, going small could save you more than just a few quid. “Think about it,” Kupetz said. “One burger made into mini burgers, plus other finger foods, can trim down your costs. Speaking of burgers, having a vegetarian celebration is also often less expensive than offering meals that emphasise meats and fish.”

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