Going to prom is a rite of passage. Youthful enthusiasm rules and practicality can go right out the window.
Emotion has a hefty price tag. Spending several thousand dollars for all the pre- and post-prom parties, clothes, limo, flowers, dinner and other hoopla is easy. Parents are challenged to balance being a buzzkill and not busting their budget.
Here’s how to keep a smile on your kid’s face and some money in your wallet.
Check out alternatives
- “If you have a cosmetology school nearby you can have your hair and makeup done by a student for a fraction of the price,” says Kim Collins, style expert and senior vice president at PromGirl.com in Manhattan.
- Watch YouTube videos for hair, makeup and nail inspiration. “Have a friend or family member try the look on you a few times before the big day,” Collins says.
- Try Rent the Runway for a dress, or scour consignment shops, discount bridal shops and thrift stores.
Forget the limo or party bus
Split with friends the cost of a service like UberLUX for a high-end ride with a professional driver, suggests Natasha Rachel Smith, a personal finance expert for TopCashback.com.
Rethink your Kodak moment
Without doubt, you want great photos. But they don’t have to be shot by the school’s photographer. Says Smith: “Those packages can cost more than they’re worth. Pool together friends and organize your own photo shoot at a designated house. Purchase or rent props and backgrounds for half the price. Have an underclassman from photography class take pictures for a small fee.” You can print them at home or go to a drug store for a professional, inexpensive result.