Prom: the big spend

prom-dresses-for-bidNow, I’m dating myself, but my prom was all about being big. Big dresses and big hair were cool-as were some big expenses around that day.

Fast forward (ahem) a few years, and the clothing and hair are smaller and significantly more tasteful, but the expenses around prom have absolutely skyrocketed. This is partly because of inflation- but mostly because of expectations.

Get real

I’m not crazy. I have a teenaged daughter- and I am in no way expecting you to suggest to your child that she/he sacrifice the prom (and some of the activities) that surround it in favour of frugality. That would be a fiery conversation. Prom is a big deal.

There is an opportunity here though. Peer pressure around money starts at a young age – and this is a good chance for you to have some honest conversations about what is reasonable, and what the implications are in keeping up with the Joneses. This doesn’t change as you grow up.

Set a budget

What are you looking at in terms of events? Is there just the evening, or is there a dinner and after parties?  Break down the costs with your teen so that they can get a big picture idea of the implications.


Does your teen have a job? If not, can he/she help around the house or doing odd jobs to help fund the costs associated with the big party?

Making them responsible for part of the cost will help attach meaning to the spending.

Creative clothing

You’ll need some fancy garb. Guys- you don’t necessarily need a tux. How about a swanky suit that you might get some more wear out of?

Girls- first stop. The consignment shop. Second stop, your neighbour/cousin/BFF’s closet. It’s one night, right? If you’re stunning, you’re stunning. Nobody needs to know where your dress came from.

If you are buying new: another tip. If you are handy with a needle and thread or know a good seamstress, check out the clearance rack at your local stores. Sometimes “as-is” dresses that need a little repair or alteration are little treasures waiting to be found on the rack at a deep discount.

It’s like buying a fixer-upper house. Imagine the possibility.

DIY glam

Yes, going to the spa/salon is an exciting thing, but you can save a lotta bucks by doing your own hair and makeup at home. Splurge on some new cosmetics and hair products.

Alternatively, plan to do one or the other at the salon (hair or makeup) and do the other at home.

DIY manis and pedis are definitely the way to go.