Mar 292012

Prom time is nearing very fast and it tends to be a costly event.  Most all teens want to go but it’s not always affordable for all families.  That being said, there are ways to save on prom expenses and still make this a very memorable time for your prom-goers.  One doesn’t need to buy the most expensive dress, the fanciest shoes, or even have a $100 hairdo.  Heck – most of the girl’s take off their shoes before the night is half way through; and I bet the guys lose the ties somewhere along the lines as well.  So, how can you save?

Gown or Tux – Usually a prom requires either semi-formal or formal attire.  Since most times girls will only wear a dress for one occasion, a good place to look for a like-new gown is a consignment shop, thrift store, or the Salvation Army.  Ebay and Craigslist are other avenues to shop.  An alternative would be to rent a gown.  Head to your local bridal shop and check their inventory and prices.  Of course, you can always shop online.  I recently wrote a post about  They have a super-sale section where one can score a deal.  Regardless of where you shop, check the clearance racks first. There’s also the option to borrow a dress from a friend or relative.  If you find a gown that you really like that’s not quite the right size – a seamstress can do wonders in altering it.  Lastly, if you can sew – make your own gown.

For the financially disadvantaged young ladies – there are several programs throughout the US that offer assistance to these girls so their night is just as special as those girls who aren’t.  Search Google using these words: gowns for the financially challenged (your state) and look at the search results.  One program I noticed that came up in several states is the Cinderella Project.

Tux options – these proms don’t require a tux necessarily, but of course, the guys would feel special in one.  Rather than renting a complete tux, alternatives would be to purchase a nice suit or borrow one, and then rent a cumberbun, tie, and shirt.  The cost of renting the tie and shirt may be much cheaper than if you were to buy these items.  Jos A. Banks has specials all the time on suits – right now they have buy 1 get 2 free on stock suits.  If three young men shopped there – they could split the cost of the first suit three ways.

Shoes – This area is a bit trickier.  Of course, renting or buying shoes are always options.  If you’re going to buy shoes, check Payless, (clearance) or other comparable stores, especially if these shoes won’t be worn again.  Many stores carry dyeable shoes for ladies nowadays.  Check around to get the right style and price and dye them yourself.

Hair and Make-up – Yes, the ladies love to go to the beautician’s!  Instead of spending the money at a beautician’s why not see if a friend can do your hair, nails, and make-up?  Alternatively, is there a local beauty school nearby?  Since these students are learning the ropes one can score some really good deals.

Accessories – Whatever you buy – necklaces, earrings, bracelets, purses etc., think of what your wardrobe consists of aside from the prom attire.  Then buy what you can use again post-prom. If you can borrow items – all the better!  Remember too, that sometimes, less is best.

Flowers – Yes, the man needs a boutonnière and the lady needs a corsage or wristlet.  Often times, our local grocery store chains will have these come prom season.  They are just as nice as a florists are, but not as costly.  There’s also the option of making these using silk flowers.  Since they aren’t that hard to do, and the supplies are easily found at Michael’s Arts and Crafts or Joanne Fabrics, this is a great alternative.  And just think – silk flowers can be savored for quite some time after the prom.

Dinner – Dinner can be expensive.  Some proms (usually senior proms) dinner is included in the cost of the prom ticket.  If by chance dinner is not included, think ahead and buy certificates to utilize that night.  Although not as good of a deal, one can also buy gift cards at or to put towards the special dinner.  One might even be able to pick up a voucher at a daily deal site.

Transportation – Limos are nice.  How about splitting the cost with several friends?  If that’s not an option, does a relative or friend have a nice car like a Cadillac that could be borrowed for the evening? Alternatively, you could see if any of your local car rental establishments have these types of cars for rent.  Or how about a van – one that can fit many couples.

Photos – Many times prom-goers will be able to have pictures done at the prom for an extra fee.  If this isn’t something you’re interested in, there’s always the option of having a friend take pictures for you.  With digital cameras being so high-tech these days, great pictures can be captured and printed. There are many online sites where you can get your favorite pictures put on a canvas or enlarged at really good prices.

If you end up shopping online, don’t forget to utilize cash back sites.  My favorite ones are listed under the tab ‘Internet Shopper Click Thru Sites‘ above.  In addition, search Google for any promo codes or coupons for the sites you’re purchasing at.


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