CHICAGO (CBS) — After several years of belt-tightening, a lot of people are ready to spend money and ring in the New Year in a big way.   

Many say that has a lot to do with the economy looking up, CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports.

“I got a sassy new pair of shoes from Nordstrom Rack,” Elizabeth Striegel said while shopping for the big night. “I will be wearing these to dinner and a couple parties at some friends’ houses.”

Striegel is among those who are once again ready to ring in the New Year without worrying if it will break the bank. 

“I work in sales, and it’s been actually a very good year, and I’m not afraid to go out and have a great time on New Year’s Eve,” she said.

Many say with the economy improving, it’s a good time to celebrate.

“I have a better job this year — things are kind of looking up,” Nick Piepmeier said.

“I think everyone is just ready to get back in the swing of things and start paying out money to have a good time again,” Ivan Lett said.

That could be why New Year’s Eve celebrations like the one they’re staging at the Hilton Chicago are almost sold out, despite tickets ranging from $175 to $3,500 for a VIP package.

At Jewel-Osco, even those planning smaller celebrations were splurging a bit more this year.

If you haven’t made your New Year’s Eve plans, don’t worry: There are still plenty of options across the Chicago area for you.

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