8 Ways to Save Money on Prom Without Missing Out on One Ounce of the Fun

promA high school promenade is the stuff legends are made of. Sneaking drinks! Making out! Drama! Sex! Dresses! DJs! After-parties! But before that magical night can even get off the ground, a lot of money is spent. According to a new study, the average American household spends just over $1,100 sending their teen to prom. A thousand dollars!

Am I old-fashioned, or is that just absurd. Even though the average teen covers 41 percent of the cost of prom, it's still a lot of cheddar to spend just for one night. Prom should be special, naturally, but it shouldn't put you in a financial crisis.

Here are 8 tips to get the whole prom experience ... for less.

  • Create a budget. With any costly event or purchase, a plan of action will help you stay on course and just say no to those $100 corsages you think you just have to have.
  • Shop smart. Why run the risk of buying the same designer dress as someone else when you can avoid that altogether and save money by shopping consignment shops, eBay, and Etsy.
  • Better yet, don't shop at all. No shame in wearing a dress you already have, or borrowing a suit from your dad, or raiding your friend's closet. There is zero to little chance you'll ever wear your prom dress again, so borrowing is a very wise decision.
  • Get your makeup done at Sephora. Here's a little secret. You can make an appointment to get your makeup done at Sephora for free, as long as you spend $50 at the store. Use that money to check a Mother's Day gift off the list, or stock up on some basics you'll need and it'll save you money in the long haul.
  • Granted, it might be hard to get an appointment there day of -- so cheaper still is firing up the old YouTube. There are some excellent makeup tutorials on there. Have fun trying them out a few weeks in advance, then DIY makeup prom night like an effing boss.
  • Paying for photos is so 1998. Everyone and their mother, including yours, by the way, whom I'm sure would be thrilled with the request, have a digital camera, if not an iPhone, with which they can snap extremely high-quality photos of you and your date. Gone are the days when the professional photographers have all the fancy equipment -- that thing you're texting on is pretty much just as good.
  • Limos? Ummm. Limos and/or any kind of car service is super fun, I can't deny that. They're expensive, but they may be worth the splurge, especially if you think you might accidentally have a glass of grape juice that's gone bad. Consider, though, paying a family member or a friend to be your driver all night. For half the price, it might be worth it.
  • Fancy dinner is for losers. You're too amped up to enjoy that $30 halibut you ordered anyway, so play it cool and convince your prom group to go to an awesome burger joint, or pre-game with some grilled meats at home, or put that money you spent on the stretch Hummer to good use and get drive-through McDonald's and eat in the car.

Most importantly though, have fun and be safe.

Any prom money-saving tips?


Photo via Rosies Helping Hands/Flickr

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