Saturday, April 21, 2012

Proms for Pennies


Spring is in the air along with the whining of daughters for expensice prom formals. Dresses can run from a few hundred to a thousand dollar. The high schol prom is growing out of the price range of the average family. It is hard to finance one prom, let alone two if you have children close in age, as I do.
The Prom Dress
Buy out of season and category, best time to buy a formal is when it is 75% off. Many a girl has snagged a cocktail or even bridesmaid dress for a song instead of the traditional prom dress. Then there’s my daughter’s personal favorite, the borrowing of a friend’s prom dress. Schools are often having prom dress sales of used dresses to help offset the cost of formal wear.
Even formal dress shops are selling gently used dresses at reduced prices.
Remember you will wear this once.

The Tuxedo
Tuxedos are almost as expensive as the dresses. Some companies will allow the early bird to rent his suit at 50% off if he wears it to school for promotional purposes. Sam Meyers, as well as other formal wear companies, have annual sales where a traditional black tux goes for as little as $50. Forget the cummerbunds and bow ties, the modern tux looks more like a suit. If the boy has a dark suit, he could wear it. Even buying a suit is a good investment. The wild and crazy guy might enjoy wearing his father’s powder blue leisure suit to the dance.

Part of the whopping expenses is dinner at a fine restaurant, which can easily add on an extra $100. A group of parents can go in together and host a meal. It can be breakfast or dinner. The candle are lit, there’s no waiting, and best of all, no major discussion about what to tip. For a brief moment, the parents actually know where their children are. Another variation on this is the fast food pitch-in. Each couple brings a bag of fast food that includes one item for everyone. Many schools are also offering dinner at the prom, which may or may not be a bargain.

The Limousine
Split limo fees between several couples to cut down on expense. Shine-up the oversized SUV, and you can be the chauffeur. There’s something about dad dressed up in a suit opening and closing car doors that delights teenagers. The more couples the better, if your child thinks the idea is icky, her friends won’t. There is always borrowing the nicer car from a friend or relative. There is usually some exchange of a blood oath on this last one.

Flowers, Jewelry and Everything else
If you’re willing, three or more girls can get ready at your house. This allows them to fix each other’s hair and make-up, a major savings of time and money. Silk flowers are a better bet than real. There should be at least one person in the family with floral design experience. If not, go to Krogers to order your flowers. The grocery is much cheaper than a regular florist and they have actual floral
designers. Order early because they do get backed up.

As for jewelry, make it costume so there aren’t any regrets about lost earrings or broken necklaces.

The last major money outlay is photos. Why pay huge prices for portraits when every prom participant and parent will take numerous photos. One good professional photograph of the couple is enough. The best way to cut dollars is have your child pay for everything. You’ll be amazed at what thrifty shoppers children become when they foot the bill.

No comments:

Post a Comment