Prom on a Budget

Ashley Hughes

Shop in advance

The closer it gets to prom, the more expensive dresses, tuxedos and accessories are going to be. Why is this? Because the shops can afford to raise them! People who shop at the last minute still need prom attire. Depending on how long shoppers put off their prom shopping, retailers may be able to raise their prices quite substantially because the shoppers begin to reach the desperate stage where they are lucky to even find something in their size. On the day of prom, dresses go on sale. This is a pretty risky plan, unless you are planning on getting a neutral colored dress that you can easily buy makeup, accessories and other last minute details, for ahead of time.  Another tip for girls planning on attending prom next year is to buy your dress after prom season has ended. They prices of gowns will drop dramatically because they will need to try and get rid of the soon to be last year’s dresses. Trust me, no one will know.

Eat Cheap

Rather than indulging in the expensive delights of Benihana or the Cheesecake Factory, consider a less expensive alternative. Restaurants that still serve good food, but are affordable will be just as successful. Most people’s favorites aren’t the upscale dining establishments anyway. Dinners at Applebee’s or Friday’s could be just as delicious anyway.

Rent, borrow, share or recycle

An alternative to buying your own tux or dress is to rent one. It’s cheaper to rent a tuxedo every time when you need one (which probably isn’t very frequently) than to buy one. Al’s Formal Wear and Men’s Wearhouse located in Lakeline Mall both specialize in tuxedo rentals. Remember to order your tuxedo a minimum of three weeks prior to prom. Try and pick it up the day before prom so that if any last minute alterations are required, you have time to complete them. Return the tuxedo back to the rental location on the next business day! Girls, chances are, you really won’t ever wear your dress again. You may have a friend who attends a different school who already had her prom that would be more than willing to lend you a dress. In fact, if you go prom dress shopping with a friend from another school and find a dress that you both love, you could split the price of a dress. Just make sure that your proms are on different days! Also, you have the option of recycling a dress that you already like, and having it professionally tailored into the perfect prom gown. This could save about half the money that you would spend on a new dress.

Skip the limo

There are going to be several limousines at prom. On the way there, there may be a long line of limos behind and in front of you. Somehow, the concept of the how special a limo is declines when everyone in the school is getting out of one. You no longer look cool, or stand out. They are somewhat of a waste of money. Even if you get a whole bunch of friends together and split the price, it’s not worth it in the end. Having a date drive you to prom or driving with your friends will get you there. It’s not how you get there, but how much fun you have when you arrive.

Get your nails done for cheap

Instead of spending a lot of money at a salon, go to a beauty school to have your nails done by a student. They do just as good of a job, and they are supervised so they won’t mess up. Plus, they will do nails for cheap. You can find beauty schools who will as low as five dollars. One beauty school in this general area is Baldwin Beauty School Incorporated located on 3440 Burnet Road Suite 140.

Do your hair at home

Unless it’s a complex up do, you can probably style your own hair or have someone you know that is willing to do it for free to complete the task. Try investing in some quality hair rollers, rather than spending more money by getting your hair done. There are online sites that help create prom styles. Although you can do simple styles by yourself, your mom, sister or friends can help you when they are more complicated. To return the favor, you can help your friend with her hair too.

Take your own pictures

Getting your pictures professionally done is expensive. However, taking pictures with your own camera is just as effective and much less money. The candid pictures taken with your friends are often the pictures you like the best anyway. Also family members are usually willing to play photographer, and they won’t charge a thing.  A professional photographer isn’t going to capture the essence of the night with a few good pictures, as much as you will with dozens of your own pictures. Pictures are supposed to worth a thousand words, not a thousand dollars.

Borrow or reuse your accessories

There is no need to splurge unnecessary cash on accessories. More than likely, a friend or family member can loan you the jewelry, purses and hair embellishments. If not, there are probably accessories of your own that you never even use that would be perfect for the occasion. If you just can’t seem to find the right kind of jewelry on your own, Claire’s has a selection of prom focused jewelry that generally costs way less than department stores. For shoes, Payless is the place to go, and they generally have nice shoes at a decent discount.  Remember, if your dress is busy and has a lot going on, too many accessories will overpower your look.

Over the counter makeup stores 

A lot of the times department stores and over the counter make-up assistants will do your makeup for free. This is called a consultation. I am by no means, declaring that you take advantage of them, but rather, tip them and buy a makeup item that they used on you. A lip gloss or lip stick is a beneficial item to purchase since it will wear off prom night goes on. Places like Nordstrom, JCPenny’s, Ulta and Dillard’s are known for these consultations.