Prom Money Saving Tips: The High Price Of Prom Can Go Down

ByMaria Kogan

As your average, teenage, high school girl, I’m currently surrounded by prom hype. The stories, the excitement, the tears, the parties. Prom is today’s coming of age for most people; attending prom with a perfect date your senior year is, for many, the high school dream. But not every girl stops to think about the cost.

Prom has changed drastically over the years. The formal dance we now call prom was first christened “the prom” in the 1890s. The word prom is a shortened form of promenade, meaning a march of the guests at the beginning of a ball or other formal event.

Originally, prom was created for privileged, upper-class guests to attend and simply flaunt their wealth and have a good time. Throughout the years, it has become a coming-of-age event, especially for girls who simply can’t wait for the date of prom to arrive.

Seventeen magazine polled its readers and found that an average price for a prom dress is around $231, plus $45 for shoes, and $23 for a handbag. These dollar amounts are in addition to an average of $50 for hair, $68 for makeup and a manicure, and finally $32 for jewelry.

Girls aren’t alone in the high cost. Not only is it a big deal for a boy to step up and ask a girl to prom, but boys also have the added pressure of being expected to pay for many of the prom activities. A girl’s date can expect to pay, at the very least, $227 for the tuxedo and accessories, $100 for a limo rental and another $125 for the dinner and dance itself.

When you add these numbers up the figure sounds ridiculous. These numbers come to about $450 for a girl, and another $450 for the guy.

Seventeen magazine also tells us that reality TV shows may be to blame in the rising cost for a girl’s dream prom. Some experts say that teenagers often watch celebrities and want to mirror their red carpet moments.

After taking a look at all the money that basically goes down the drain for one night of feeling like a princess, it’s time to ask; is it worth it?

I don’t think I’m willing to pay a total of around $1,000 for one night, a fancy dress and a dinner I won’t remember. Then again, maybe I’ll change my mind when the time finally comes.

There are a few ways that you can easily cut prom costs. Take away the average jewelry price of $32 away by borrowing your mother’s necklace and earrings. Curl and straighten your hair in your own bathroom, and there goes the $50 styling costs.

Even your dress can come from a second-hand shop; many girls resell their dresses to these shops, which can let you rent the dress for less than half the price or buy it for a much cheaper amount than the original dress would have cost. Another option to consider, if you don’t mind not owning your dress forever, is borrowing an older prom or homecoming dress from a family member or a friend, which could save you that $231.  

If you consider all these easy ways to cut your prom costs, it becomes more of a possibility for people with smaller budgets to attend. By acting on the three options I’ve given, you can save up to $313, which is more than half the average cost for prom according to Seventeen.

There are many pros and cons that must be taken into consideration when preparing for prom; in the end, it comes down to your personal choice. I’ll think about it when the time comes, but for now, prom is a worry that is far in the future.