New Year’s Eve at home: The smart money move

Tomorrow night, we’ll usher in a new (and hopefully prosperous) year. But some Americans will start out 2014 running up big costs for one night of reveling.

According to, Miami Beach is the priciest destination for a New Year’s Eve stay. Based on a survey of hotels rated three stars and above, the travel site found, “Miami Beach took the number one spot with a nightly rate of $360 for the most affordable room.”

That’s even more than New York City, which will set back New Year’s partiers $354 a night. Of course, it could be worse. You could be celebrating in London, which another survey shows is Europe’s most expensive party site at 353 Euros a night – that’s $486.

Even dining out locally is a fiscal blow. Many restaurants disguise huge one-nigh price hikes behind a price fixe menus that charge hundreds of dollars for pre-set meals (which actually saves them money). One website,, did the mathematics and discovered the ritzy restaurant Eleven Madison Park was charging $575 per person – or $1,482 after tax and tip.

“Compare that with Eleven Madison Park’s typical starting price of $125 per person, or $322 for two after tax and tip,” the site points out.

So what can you do instead? Consolidated Credit suggests playing it safe:

  • Stay in. Buy some bubbly at your local supermarket, and stay off the streets. You’ll not only save money, you might save your life – New Year’s Eve is renowned as the worst day for drunk driving.
  • Invite friends over. If you have a fondue set, this is the time to fetch it from the back of the cupboard, dust it off, and fire it up.
  • Go out early. Many towns and cities offer free or cheap family events that end around 9 or 10 p.m. Check you municipal website to see if this is an option.

You might think this is pooping out on the New Year’s party. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense to blow your budget – and all your 2014 financial goals – by overspending on the first few hours of the year. Save that money and spend it later on a much-needed vacation.

If you decide to travel for New Year’s, just make sure you’re doing it in an affordable way.Consolidated Credit offers a free Vacation Budgeting section for advice.

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