How To Have An Amazing Prom While On A Budget

From the expensively beautiful dresses and tuxedos to the fancy rides; the 21st century has seen a steady increase in the cost of prom and the craving teenagers have to go through this day luxuriously. The element of dressing to impress your friends or high-school crush increasingly plays a part in the expenses of this one seemingly crucial night, leaving the less wealthy students nervous, and other less wealthy families spent. But, what if I told you that there’s a way to look luxurious without deflating anyone’s wallet?

Here are the 5 major things I did that kept my prom expenses under $200 (which was less than the price of some of my friends’ dresses) but had everyone thinking that I  spent a fortune.


TIP 1: Create a budget.

Given that the title of this article surrounds the idea of shopping on a budget, the first step will have to involve establishing the funds available to you, and how much of these funds you would like to spend on each aspect of planning.

How wealthy is your family? Where are you getting your money from? Will extended family members chip in? How important is prom to you and your family?

I advise that you consult an adult or whoever is inputting the most money into your prom and graduation expenses as you possibly will not be paying for everything on your own. After you take account of the money you have, you can then decide what you’ll be spending that money on, and figure out if you would have to put in personal money that you have saved in order for it to be enough.

Remember: The aim is to spend less money than you plan to spend, or at least not surpass your budget, so you’ll need a bit of wiggle room in case you make some last minute decisions.


TIP 2: Shop during a discount period. 

Whether you want to get a head start and shop during Boxing Day, or you’re like me and are okay with the lesser discounts during Valentine’s period, the best way to get your dream dress at an affordable price is to shop when stores have major discounts. Even 20% off makes a huge difference.

However, keep in mind that if you’re planning to get a particular dress or buy anything for prom during this period, there are probably hundreds of people who are thinking about doing the same thing – especially if you live in a city or plan to shop at a major store. So, be prepared for whatever you want to buy (more likely a dress or tux) to run out, as there is a chance that it will. Always have a backup option, or plan to be at your store of choice early in the discount period in order to secure your choices.

Note: Black Friday is by far the most hectic shopping day of the year, especially for anyone who lives in a city or plans to go to a more popular mall to shop. If you are not ready to join in on the struggle, I do not advise you to aim to get an outfit for prom on that day. The day is also very far away from prom, so doing any prom shopping on that day is not advisable.


TIP 3: Shop online (optional).

I’ve found that the best deal can be found in online stores. That is only one of the benefits of online shopping. Online shopping also offers ample shopping time, a wider variety of options, and a more relaxed shopping experience. I would suggest this option to people who have little time in their schedule to stress about prom, or who have difficulty finding things they like in stores. However, online shopping is by no means ideal for last minute shopping – shipping can be rather unpredictable, especially when your package is being shipped from a different shop. For last-minute prom shoppers, I do not suggest online shopping.

I got my prom dress online, from Fashion Nova during Valentine sales and considering the way it looked, it was definitely a steal. It took me days to find one on their website that was to my taste as I had a strict budget and would not spend a lot of money unless I believed it was worth it, I got a 40% discount so it was USD$42 but looked like it cost hundreds of dollars. That being said, I also am not much of a risk-taker, so I only used that website because I had bought clothes from there before, and was familiar with the sizing. For anyone who has difficulty finding the perfect fit for their body, or feels uneasy about the uncertainty which comes with shopping online, I suggest that you either try a less significant purchase from your  online store of choice or a variety of them, so you can get an idea of what the fit could potentially be like if you invest in buying a prom dress from there.


TIP 4 (most crucial): Shop with someone.

Whether it’s your friend, a professional, an adult, a family member – your mum, your dad, siblings, etc. The best piece of advise I can give is that you should have a second opinion and even a third.

Not only is it great to have more eyes to help you make decisions, but it makes the shopping experience a lot more fun. You can decide to take a break and go get some food or drinks in between the day, or just spend some quality time with people that you’ll soon have to leave behind as you move on to the next big stage of your life; university.

Also, for those of you considering online shopping, shopping with a friend who wants to do the same can help you get free shipping or extra discounts; either way, it’s a win-win.

I hope that these tips help you as much as they helped me. CONGRATULATIONS on graduating; I hope that your prom night is everything that you wish for. Don’t forget to have fun!