Bust out the fancy shoes, the elegant dresses, the limos...it's prom season. Prom is a major milestone in a teen's life. Unfortunately, that often translates into a huge price tag for parents and kids. But don't despair; there are plenty of ways to please the Prom Queen or King and still save. Follow our style guide and the celebration will go off without a hitch.
In recent years, Prom has become analogous to weddings. If you are so inclined, you could easily spend thousands at boutique shops. For most of us, this is not an option. With a little ingenuity and careful planning, you can score that perfect, unique dress for less.
- Be like Macklemore and head for the thrift shop: Who doesn't love to go treasure hunting at your local thrift shop or Goodwill? Make an afternoon of it, dive deep, and you may come across some great finds, for next to nothing.
- Put Out Feelers on Your Buy Nothing Group: check to see if anyone in your community has a formal dress from last season that they no longer need. You'll save money, and recycle all in one. Afterward, you can pay it forward on to someone else.
- Plan Ahead and Buy Before Prom Season: this is key. As Prom approaches, formal wear prices will rise in anticipation of consumer demand. Hit up the after holiday sales, and you could save a bundle.
- Don't Be Afraid of Knock-Offs: many lower priced brands offer similar styles to the high end designers, and no one will know the difference.
- Borrow from Friends/Family: chances are, you may know someone who still has their prom or formal dress just taking up space.
- Clothing Swap: gather her girlfriends together for a clothing swap of formal wear, and you're likely to come out with some great finds.
- Check out retailers like Overstock, Target or Walmart: There are great stylish deals with these retailers, $100 and under. Search for “formal wear” as opposed to Prom, and the discounts will be deeper. Some retailers like Target tend to offer designer collections for less.
Just because it's Prom, doesn't mean that the guy is required to wear a tux.
Opt for a Nice Suit: this is becoming much more common, and is also super convenient if your son already has one in his closet. Brighten it up with a splash of color, such as a new handkerchief with a matching tie. Check out Target, Walmart or your local thrift shop for some fun accessories, and you'll be saving big while creating a fresh new look.
The Tux: if this is a must, shop around at various tux shops with a bunch of friends, and see who will offer the best group discount. Some tux shops will even hire guys to be models in exchange for free tuxes – the guys agree to wear the tux to school on a given day as a means of advertising. The tux then pays for itself, and he gets to look pretty sharp at school.
Go for Used: again, consignment is your friend. Make the rounds at your local second-hand shops, and you're bound to find some trendy deals.