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How to Enjoy a Cheap Prom

Updated on January 31, 2010

Save money on prom!

With prom season just around the corner, some of you are already agonizing over the costs involved. These can be staggering! Add them up yourself: $300-$1000 for a prom gown, $200-$500 for a limo, $50 for flowers, $50-$150 for prom shoes, $100-$200 for tuxedo rental, and $100 for a meal in a nice restaurant. And this doesn’t even take into account the cost of prom jewelry, an evening bag, the prom tickets, hair and makeup, or breakfast after the prom.

Is it possible to have a cheap prom and still have a good time? Yes! Read the following:

Cheap prom dress or prom gown

This is one place the girls can really save some cash. Forget those fancy boutiques and shop online for a cheap prom dress. The gowns are just as beautiful as their pricier counterparts, and you’ll have a much larger selection. You’re sure to find the exact style and color you want. I have an entire article about cheap prom dresses, and many of them are under $100. The link is below.

If you want o personalize your gown to make sure it’s uniquely yours, add some rhinestones to it yourself! This is super easy to do. Follow the directions in the link below in “How to Stone a Dress.”

Cheap prom shoes

First, try to borrow a pair of prom shoes from a sister, cousin, or friend. If that’s not possible, shop online for the perfect pair of shoes. Click the article link below to find cheap prom shoes online.

Cheap prom jewelry

Borrow your mom's diamond stud earrings - that's even better than cheap prom jewelry, and it will be totally glam. If you want your own, shop online for cheap prom jewelry, and be sure to check out the links below!

Limo rental

If you’re planning on renting a limo, you don’t need one for the entire evening. You could hire one to take you to dinner and then to the prom. Better yet, if you’re dining out, have someone take you to the restaurant. The limo can pick you up there and take you to the prom. Why pay for a limo to sit in the parking lot while you’re inside eating or dancing? Also, find the largest limo with the largest capacity possible and split the cost among friends. Not only is this cheaper – it’s also a lot more fun. The more the merrier!


Girls, don’t pay an arm and a leg to have your makeup done by a professional. Get to know the makeup lady at your local department store. In our town, you can have your makeup done for free if you buy just one product from the salesclerk. Try Merle Norman and Estee Lauder. This is much cheaper than paying someone just to do your makeup! Ask around now, and go ahead and make an appointment.


Get a friend to do your hair if you can’t afford to have it done professionally. A simple updo or French twist is elegant and easy to do. Make a trip to one of the hair supply stores for fancy barrettes and hair clasps, or add your own stones to a plain one to “bling it up.” Follow the same directions for stoning a dress to stone a clasp.

Dinner and breakfast

Most couples go out to a nice meal before prom, but this doesn’t have to be in a fancy, expensive restaurant. If your parents belong to a private club that serves meals, this would be an appropriate place for dinner. You could also ask your parents to host a meal for several couples. They could ask the other parents to help. Ask Mom to get out the good china and to polish the silver! Each set of parents could be responsible for one course. One could do the appetizers, one could do the salads, one could do the entrée, and one could do dessert. Ask your parents to get your kid brother and sister out of the house while you and your friends are eating. Dim the lights and light the candles, and this will be just as good as an expensive restaurant! In fact, the food might even be better.

You could do the same thing for an after-prom breakfast or for an after-prom party. Of course, neither of these would have to be as formal as the dinner. If several parents pitch in to host the after-prom party, it won't be very expensive for any of them.

Tuxedo rental

To save money on a tuxedo rental, shop around. There’s a huge difference in prices for this. Do you really need a designer tux? Compare prices among different styles and brands and among different stores. If you live in a small town, get your guy pals together and make a trip to the nearest city to check out their prices on tuxedo rentals.


The same goes for prom flowers. Sure, you want to get your prom date attractive flowers, but shop around. Don’t judge the outside of the store for this. Sometimes small mom-and-pop florists will do a beautiful job and will charge much less than big fancy boutique floral shops.

If your mom has a florist she uses regularly, get her to go with you to order the flowers. As a regular customer, she might get a discount!


It's possible to have an elegant yet cheap prom experience!
It's possible to have an elegant yet cheap prom experience!

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