Personal Finance 

Four Ways to Save Money at Prom

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PromIf you’re the mother or father of a high school student you’re probably wondering where the time has gone. It seems like only a few years ago they were getting on the bus for their first day of Kindergarten and now they’re going to prom. The time goes by fast but once the nostalgia of the event passes, reality will set in. Prom can cost a lot of money and your, at best, part time employed child probably won’t whip out their credit card for any of those expenses.

Between the cost of the dress or tux, the pictures, the dinner, the prom tickets, and the new hair and makeup, costs will add up fast but there are some ways to lower the cost of the event without sending your child to prom looking like they wearing your hand-me-downs.

No Pictures

Remember when you went to Prom? You may still have pictures of you and your date standing in front of the tropical background with your hand strangely entwined in theirs. You’ll be happy to know that your child may very well be happy to skip the pictures. Everybody has a good quality camera on their phone making pictures free.

Rent It

You probably know that you can rent a tux or nice ensemble for the guys but you can do that for the girls too. Some sites like offer Netflix style memberships where you can rent a dress for your child for $50. There is likely a place in your city or town that offers a similar service. Remind them that nobody knows where they got their dress or how much they paid for it.

Resell It

If you have to purchase a dress and its only use is for Prom or other ultra-formal event, consider reselling it. You probably won’t be able to resell right after prom but some people report selling these one-time use dresses for a substantial profit to help pay for the first year college costs.

If your child insists on purchasing a new dress, try to find something that can be used for something other than a prom dress so it gets more than one use.

No Fancy Dinner

Sure, they may really want a fancy dinner but having a pot luck dinner at home with a few other couples (and their parents) will save a lot of money and depending on how creative you get, it may be just as fun. Get out the good china that never gets used, light a few candles, put the husbands in Tuxedos and serve the kids. There are plenty of ways to make dinner fun, memorable, and affordable.

Bottom Line

Yes, prom should be a memorable occasion but it’s easy to make it educational as well. Teach your child that just because they want something doesn’t mean that they should spend the money. Show them how to set a budget and stay within it. Even more important, show them that having the same experience without breaking the bank is possible with a little creativity.

(Photo: jkjen)

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3 Responses to “Four Ways to Save Money at Prom”

  1. Stacey says:

    So you should for-go the pictures which are the only reminders of the event, but not the: hairstylist? manicurist? limo? tanning minutes?

  2. lostAnnfound says:

    Craigslist for a dress. We found one that sold at the bridal shop for $180.00 and got it for $70.00 from someone who had worn it once for a wedding this past fall. Length is perfect, just have to take it in a bit. And yes, we will resell it.

    Pictures done at one of the parents’ house. They are having a get-together about 1 hour prior to going so parents get can pictures.

    Dinner is served at the prom for our H.S., so no need to go out to a restaurant.

    No limo…she’s 18, so she is driving herself & date and two other friends. No tanning…not good for your skin anyway ;).

    Hair & Nails being done by our regular hairdresser, who is so reasonable…about half what other local places charge and it’s an (relatively) inexpensive splurge for our daughter.

  3. My son’s prom is not really memorable. He didn’t really took it seriously. He went to school in his uniform and he went home and told me he has to wear a polo shirt and slacks. So he changed and went to school again. When he came home, that’s when he told me that they had their prom. I was surprised and told him why he didn’t tell me! I would have taken a picture of him at least. So, there goes his prom day. Not really memorable.

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