Prom on the Cheap

It’s prom season and believe it or not I have only been to one dance during high school and it was prom.  Well, I had a girlfriend and she forced me to go to the senior prom if I wanted to keep her around.  I think back in 1999 I spent a total of $100 for my prom, and according to the newest information out there for 2017, kids are spending between$733 in the Midwest up to $1,169 in the New England area.  I also read that these kids are spending around $300 on “promposals.”  I was just told I was going, and told what was happening.  I spent $50 for my share of a limo for 8 people and $50 for a lobster dinner cooked by a parent and we dined at their house.  My girlfriend bought the prom tickets.  I really do hate school dances though, and still to this day do not understand what is fun about wiggling to music and sweating in my best clothes.  But, I know my daughter will want to go to dances one day and she is 12 now, so in a perfect world this is how you do prom on the cheap.

1. No spending money on “Promposals”

Keeping it real and real cheap.

If you have to spend $300 to impress someone to say “yes” to going to a senior prom, then you probably are not meant to be.  You should not do this for social media or bragging rights, and you definitely don’t want someone who expects this treatment.  They are a money trap, that if you marry one day will suck you dry.  (I know people…)  Just ask in a sweet nice voice and do something cute using puns.  Just be yourself and the right person will always say yes.

2. Wear what you already own

I know this is easier for guys than girls, but, I think every young man, by 17 or 18 years old, has a nice shirt and some sort of suit for weddings or other nice occasions.  So, just wear that and don’t buy something new.  Girls, you all have nice dresses and you don’t wear them that often, so just wear your nice stuff that no one outside of church as seen on you.  You probably have a cousin or older sister or some relative who has a nice dress to use also.  If this is just unacceptable then, go shopping in your friend’s closets, and you can make a little party of it a few weeks out and trade some clothes around.  Buying new for one night is just crazy, especially spending $500 or more for these things.  There are free clothes everywhere if you just ask around.

3. Share you mode of transportation

Limos, large SUV’s, your buddy’s dad’s RV turned party bus, or your old pick up truck, it doesn’t matter what you drive to prom.  The idea of being “cool” is just an ego thing, and having a big ego always makes you broke.  If you must rent a “cool” vehicle, then you must share the price with a group of people (8-10 people).  $500 for a few hours can be broken up by the group and made more affordable for all to enjoy.  Plus, time with friends is what will be remembered more then anything else. I hardly remember many details about our limo at prom.

4. Hair, Nails, Makeup, etc.

Just throw a party with your friends and do each others hair, nails, make up or what ever needs to be done.  Guys, just take a shower, brush your teeth, and wear deodorant please.  Trust me ladies what you think guys notice is really not noticed, and you will find this out later in life (ask my wife…).  I don’t even notice sun burn on myself until a few days later, we don’t notice anything except hunger.  We like your personality and that is why we asked you to prom in the first place.  You are a fun person and that is the most important thing of all.

5. Dinner can be fancy at home

Perfect Prom Dinner

I didn’t come up with the idea of a lobster dinner at my friend’s house, but it was genius, and it was special.  My friends dad bought and made the dinner with a full three courses, and they strung up white Christmas lights in the trees in the backyard.  It looked awesome, the weather was perfect, and the food was first class.  No restaurant could have given us that kind of experience.  It cost $50 a couple and we left so satisfied that we did the same thing again the following summer.  My friend’s dad loved the attention and we all felt special and had great food.  Other couples, who ate pricey meals out,  where jealous of our story about the lobster dinner.

6. Flowers, Photos, and Extras

First of all if you ever buy live flowers, know they will be dead the next day.  I hate buying flowers because I feel it’s throwing money out the door.  I prefer my flowers in pots and living so they can last a season or years.  But, I know you need flowers to wear on you wrist and jacket, so buy flowers that are in season, and not the exotic ones either.

As for photos, in this day and age you really don’t need a professional photographer to charge you $20-$100 for photo packages.  Just use a phone, set up an online account with photobucket or some other photo app, and you and your friends can all dump and share photos of the night.  You will get tons more photos that way, and it costs you nothing to get cherished moments all in one place, that you and your friends can share forever.

As for the after party you can do a large group late night at Denny’s, or at a friends house with some land and a campfire.  You can’t beat a nice campfire and s’mores with your buddies.  You don’t have to spend tons of money on after party tickets sponsored by your school.  However, you do have to buy your prom tickets and those are just robbery if your class is going to some fancy hotel or other high dollar venue.  Be creative on your post party ideas, and most of all be safe and have fun.

Overall,  Prom doesn’t have to be a nightmare for you and your parents.  Credit cards shouldn’t be out, and stress should not be a part of the prom process.  You can spend the price of the ticket to prom and some gas money if you want, or you can just go all out and spend the price of a used car.  But, I have found over time that friendship and creating happy memories are the most valuable thing you can have in life.  Those things are always free.  Be safe, have fun, and be smart with your money.



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