The prom, particularly the Senior Prom, is a high school rite of passage. But it has certainly changed over the years!
While I did not go to my own Senior Prom, when I was a junior, I had a boyfriend who was a senior and he took me to his prom. My mom and I shopped for a dress and shoes all day-we were not going home until we found one! I did not get my hair and nails done-only a few girls did that back in that era. I did my own makeup and my boyfriend picked me up in his dad’s car.
Compare that to my daughter’s Senior Prom just three years ago. Besides the dress and shoes, my husband and I had to pay for a fancy hairdo, a mani-pedi, her portion of a limousine party bus, and the prom tickets, since her boyfriend was a junior at another school and it was not his prom. We spent a lot of money!
Can You Really Get a Cheap Prom Dress for Under $25?
Strategies for finding a dress when you are on a budget
If your daughter is going to the prom and money is tight, then you need to sit down together and plan a budget. Besides the dress, there will be shoes and accessories to buy, hair to do, nails to polish…the list is really endless. Some girls have their eyebrows and other body parts waxed, makeup done professionally, and even have their hair colored or highlighted for the occasion.
While there are many ways to cut corners in these areas, the biggest expense is going to be the prom dress. You don’t want your daughter to wear anything cheap looking, yet you need to be practical about the cost. My daughter had friends whose parents forked over $400-$500 just for the prom dress!
If that figure sends your mind into a tizzy, imagine being the parent putting that on their credit card!
Spending that kind of money for one night is not necessary. If your daughter is going to the prom, the number one way to get a cheap prom dress is to shop early and shop often. The first thing to do is to go shopping online for a cheap prom dress. Marketplaces like Amazon have many different styles, colors, and sizes for your child. Check out the reviews, how long it takes to ship and if it runs small or large.
Instead of going store to store, call local bridal shops and dress shops and see if they have a decent clearance rack. There is no point running around to find that no such rack exists. Recently a friend of mine bought her daughter a gorgeous dress for a cotillion from a local boutique for under forty dollars-and it had a price tag of $150! Bargains are available if you have the time and patience to look.
Large department stores also have clearance racks with a variety of choices. Start looking after the holidays and keep on looking. New items are always being added, and the late winter is a great time to get a deal on a cocktail dress from the holidays.
For a really cheap prom dress, you can also look at consignment shops and thrift stores. This method is hit or miss, but if you hit, you can save big!
Borrowing a dress is also an option. All you have to do is pay for the dry cleaning.
More Prom Money Saving Strategies
Here are a few other ways to save money on this special night out.
1. Have a friend or family member do hair and makeup. My daughter had her best friend’s sister, who is a makeup expert, do her face.
2. Skip the mani-pedi and do it yourself.
3. If you know someone who is good with hair, let them do it for you.
4. Borrow whatever you can!
The year after her big night, she went to her boyfriend’s Senior Prom. Because she did not want us to spend so much money again, and they already did the
“big prom thing” the previous year, it was much cheaper for my husband and me. She borrowed a friend’s dress (cost $1.99 for me to have it dry cleaned), used her old shoes and purse from the previous year, skipped the mani-pedi and did her own nails, skipped the limo and went in her boyfriend’s car, and did her own makeup. My biggest expense was her hair. The haircut, updo and tip were the only things I had to pay out of pocket.
There are ways to cut down on the cost of the prom, including the dress.
Featured image from Pixabay and altered by the author in Picmonkey.