Disney has a really cute movie coming out all about Prom coming to theaters April 29, 2011., capturing the teenage ritual in a very tasteful way. At “Prom,” every couple has a story and no two are exactly alike. Several intersecting stories unfold at one high school as the big dance approaches; “Prom” portrays the precarious passage from high school to independence as some relationships unravel and others ignite. For Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), it’s a battle of wills as she finds herself drawn to the guy (Thomas McDonell) who gets in the way of her perfect prom. I remember Prom and my desire for a perfect night, only to realize it just wasn’t possible. But having the perfect dress was and I had to have the perfect dress and I went to about five different proms. Yep, any excuse to get dressed up and go dancing (with yet one more chance to have that perfect night LOL), and I didn’t wear the same dress to any of them, and even then I knew how to save money. So while your kids are starting to think about prom and where to find the perfect dress, you can keep them reigned in on a budget. It can be done! Andrea Woroch, a media expert source featured on NBC’s Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ABC News NOW and many more, is sharing 8 Frugal Tips To Help You Feel Like Prom Royalty with us. Here are her tips for Prom on a Budget with my opinion mixed in here and there.
1. Borrow Accessories
Dig through your grandma’s or mom’s jewelry box to find retro costume jewelry or a vintage clutch to pair with your dress. You could also ask your sister, cousin or friends if you can borrow a fabulous pair of earrings or necklace for the special evening. If you decide to invest in jewelry, make sure it’s a style you can wear for many years to come.
2. Find Frugal Frocks
Every teenage girl wants to look like a princess at prom, but blowing your budget on a formal gown you will wear only once isn’t a smart purchase. Consider a simple cocktail dress that will serve double duty for post-prom celebrations, like college formals and weddings. Browse consignment shops and thrift stores for fabulous vintage frocks at prices that run as low as $20. Or, search sale racks at stores like Nordstrom and Dillards, which offer a large discount dress selection. Don’t forget to compare prices online and search for dresses and women’s shoe coupons to score even better deals from sites like CouponSherpa.com.
My two cents – raid your girlfriend’s closets. We traded dresses all the time, someone else’s dress is new to you. You can even have a dress party, everyone brings their dresses and you all trade or take home your favorite pick. It’s a fun way to share.
3. Do Your Own Grooming
Extremely formal up-dos are no longer popular, so consider doing your own hair. If you’re old enough for prom, you’re probably capable of handling your own makeup and nails. You could also swap services with friends. You could easily save up to $200, and ultimately look more like your real self. Include your mom or aunt, who may also be able help curl your locks and your lashes. Gather ideas from online photos or magazines and be sure to practice the hairstyle before the big night.
You can sign up at the malls to have the make up counters do your make up. They hope you make a makeup purchase at the end of your session and it is the polite thing to do, but it’s not required.
4. Use Simple Floral Tricks
Make your own boutonnieres and corsages, or order them from your local grocery store. Often, their prices for flowers are 40-percent less than a traditional florist. Go for a more minimalist look, like an elegant single rose or flower with greenery.
5. Chuck The Formal Photos
Professional prom portraits cost anywhere from $25 to $75, depending on the size and number of prints purchased. Unless you marry your prom partner, that expensive photo will likely end up at the bottom of a box. Nor do formal photos really capture the memory of the night. Instead, share camera duties with friends for an honest record of the evening. Photo prints at CVS or Snapfish cost as little as $0.15 per picture and offer the option to create digital photo albums for a more memorable and less expensive keepsake.
6. Compare Tuxedo Prices
Tux rentals will set most students back $75 to $100 or more. That’s why it’s important to comparison shop. Don’t be afraid to barter for a better price. You may even be able to negotiate a cheaper rate if you recruit several friends to rent in bulk from the same store. Be sure the shop provides all the needed accessories, including a shirt, vest or cummerbund, handkerchief, shoes, tie and belt to eliminate spending extra on these suiting essentials. Better still, skip expensive extras and fill in with your own stuff for a free-spirit look.
My 2 cents – You would also be surprised what you can find at a consignment shop or value village, goodwill type store.
7. Lose the Limo
Most limos have four-hour minimums and require tipping, which could result in a bill of $400 or more. Divided among several friends, the cost can be affordable. However, party buses that hold more people than limos are a fun and more affordable option, so search around for prices and negotiate among several companies. Also, consider the possibility of borrowing a nice car from a parent or relative.
8. Buy Gift Cards at Discount Prices
From pre-party decorations to such prom essentials as dresses, shoes and flowers, students can buy gift cards and save as much as 30-percent. You’ll find them at sites like GiftCardGranny.com for such major retailers as Target, Macy’s, 1-800 Flowers, and many more.
Disclosure: Tips were provided by Andrea Woroch with permission to reprint, and photos and images are from Disney Studios.