It is expensive.
I am a junior in highschool. My friends weren’t really feeling prom, so I wasn’t planning on going. It’s not that I just follow whatever my friends do. It’s that I didn’t really care that much. I was definitely going to my senior prom, so did I really need to go to my junior prom?
However, one of my friends from private school convinced us to go to our prom so we could invite her, and I am glad. But my wallet is not infinite. So I took some short cuts. Obviously, if you want to go all out for prom, go for it, but remember that you don’t have to. Additionally I didn’t save as much as possible, I only spent far less than the people around me. Your prom price could be far less. Here is what I got, and how much I paid.
- My dress. I got mine for $80 at Marden’s, a Maine chain store that salvages items from bankrupt or damaged businesses and sells them at a lower price. Going somewhere like Goodwill or Salvation Army would be good too, or even better, a local thrift store. There were plenty of dresses for $50 dollars or less around me, and thrifting can be even cheaper.
- My prom ticket. Mine cost $45, dinner and photobooth included. I can’t give you any tips to save on this, I guess. It just costs what it costs. However, some schools offer a small discount if you buy two, so even if you don’t have a date, you could team up with a friend.
- A clutch. I got mine for $15 dollars at Target. I would also recommend using something you already have if you have something suitable. Nobody is going to be look at your clutch. I made sure to get one that I could use again as an everyday wristlet or at homecoming.
- Shoes. Mine were $30 from Target. Once again, I would shop in cheaper stores for these, especially if you are wearing a long dress. Because nobody is very likely to see them.
- Bra. I needed a strapless one for my dress and Walmart gave me the hookup. I ended up paying $17 for my reusable sticky bra but you can get it for half that if you buy it online. I bought mine the day of prom and paid more, but foresight could have saved me money.
- Makeup. I spent $35 on makeup, but only because I owned none. I did not purchase new mascara, because I already had that. I got everything new at CVS. I made sure I was getting items that I would use after prom, that I knew how to use, and I got BB Cream, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, and a makeup brush for that price.
- No alterations. Cost; $0. If possible, find a dress that doesn’t need alterations, or at least no alterations beyond the hem. Alterations, especially around prom season, are pretty expensive, and as a sewist myself, I can’t blame them. Alterations are no fun to do. Obviously I lucked out, but shopping in stretchier styles can help too. Additionally, it is much more expensive to add to a dress than subtract, so if you don’t fit in either size and need it altered to an inbetween, choose the larger one, even if it doesn’t fit quite as well. Making the dress larger is very hard and therefore costs more.
The total cost was $223. My parents paid $30 dollars out of that (the difference between two dresses I was deciding between). However, I made sure to buy reusable items. The most expensive part of prom seems to be the fact that you pay so much for one night. The solution; get stuff you can and will use again. Even if you are spending a bunch of money right then, you are saving money because you are not buying one-use items. My dress is not too prom-y, so I could were it to another black-tie event (my mom suggested college, but I’m not sure how many black-tie events teenagers typically go to). My clutch is my future wallet/wristlet, and can definitely be used for other events. My shoes are just black heels, the most versatile of the dressy shoe. The makeup I got is makeup I will be able to use in everyday life, that I had not previously owned in any variation. If you have a vast makeup collection, don’t buy more! If you can get away with what you have, get away with it.
Make sure you set a budget that is feasible for you personally, and stick to it. Look at what you need, and how much you are willing to spend. If you go over in one category, cut back in another category. Buy cute, affordable things, but make sure you have comfortable stuff; you will be stuck in it all night.
If frugality doesn’t matter to you, please disregard this message and have fun at your prom. However, if it does matter to you, I hope this helped you save some money, at least in the long run. Enjoy prom!