Prom is an important moment in the lives of many students, as it’s a time to celebrate years of hard work. It’s a night to share with close friends and that special someone and to make lasting memories — but it doesn’t come cheap. On average, a family will spend $919 on a prom, with nearly three-fourths of that cost being paid by the parents or guardians. With so much that goes into the evening, from pre-dance snacks to transportation, it’s critical that you examine your potential expenses to make sure you stay within your budget. Check out these four simple ways to save on prom costs:
1. Skip the Limo
The limo may be a symbol of prom, but the fact remains that it simply costs way too much. For models that hold eight or more people, you can expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $300 per hour, with rates varying depending upon your location and date of your prom. This can easily become an expense of more than $100 per person if booked for several hours. If your heart is set on a limo, consider renting one for either pick up or drop off, cutting the cost in half. Always check out flash sale sites for any limo deals in your area.
Or instead of splurging on a stretch, see if you can borrow your parents’ — or a friend’s parents’ — SUV or van. Ask someone’s sibling or parent to drive. The vehicle can still be decorated in traditional prom fashion, but you’ll be paying a fraction of the price for it.
2. Save by Going Consignment Shopping or Rent a Dress
A prom dress can easily cost well over $250, and tuxedos and suits are almost as pricey. A good alternative is to go consignment shopping. Although you’ll be buying another person’s dress or tuxedo, you’ll cut down what you spend by roughly 50 percent. Also, you should have no problem finding designer and brand-name dresses and suits that are still in nearly brand-new condition. To further increase your savings, consign some of your old clothing with the store. The owners will take a percentage of off what they sell the item for, and you’ll get the rest.
If consignment isn’t your thing, consider renting a prom dress. Rent the Runway offers a wide selection of designer prom dresses for you to rent for a fraction of the retail price. Plus, first-time users get an additional $25 off their rental fee.
3. Use Coupons and Member Discounts
When buying clothing and party supplies for prom, make a point of shopping at stores where you can take advantage of coupons, discount offers and rewards programs to decrease costs. For example, some suit rental stores offer a 15 percent discount if the customer spends more than $500. By purchasing suits in one large group, students can get that discount.
4. Have Dinner at Home
A group of eight students can easily spend from $200 to $400 on a meal before prom. That’s money that just doesn’t have to be spent. See about having dinner at someone’s house — order takeout, or have a parent cook the meal. The dinner table can be decorated romantically, and the whole environment can be designed to give off the type of vibe you want. The added privacy of being in a private residence may make the pre-prom meal even more enjoyable.