When you’re in high school, prom can seem like a magical, once-in-a-lifetime event. But if we’re being really honest, the reality is that it’s just one night. (If we’re being really, really honest, there will even be even better nights that involve awkward dancing in your future.) The point being, prom can be a great night, but it isn’t a night worth breaking the bank over.
With that in mind, we’ve put together eight tips on how best to save money while planning for prom.
Rent a Prom Dress from Rent the Runway
I discovered Rent the Runway a few years ago and I don’t know how I used to live without it. RTR allows you to rent a designer dress for a fraction of the retail price. It’s simple – browse through the inventory online, choose two sizes of a dress you like (just in case the fit is off) and it arrives on your doorstep on your designated date. When you’re done, just pack it up in the provided envelope and drop it in the mail. Dress rentals start at just $30!
Check out Consignment Shops or Online Garage Sales
Another way to avoid purchasing a brand-new dress or tuxedo you’re only going to wear once is to buy a gently used one. Search local online garage sale groups on Facebook for people cleaning out their closets. Or spend a day checking out the selections at consignment shops – you can make a day out of it! Deja Vu Consignment Boutique in Point Pleasant Beach has dresses, handbags and shoes for juniors and women. Westwood’s Fabulous Finds Consignment Boutique offers formal wear, prom dresses and more. All items are in excellent condition and freshly laundered. Plus, when you purchase a used dress, you are helping the environment by keeping it out of a landfill.
Buy Prom Dresses in the Off-season
If you have your heart set on buying a new dress, make sure you shop around to get the best deal. A discount store like Rissy Roo’s in Linwood has an entire section of prom dresses under $100, plus a low-price guarantee.
Have your Makeup Done at a Cosmetology School for Cheap
Empire Beauty School has locations in Bloomfield, Bordentown, Cherry Hill, Paramus and Union, with makeup applications that start at $8. Robert Fiance beauty schools offer a prom package that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – just $50 for hairstyle, makeup application and manicure/pedicure. Robert Fiance has five locations in New Jersey.
Borrow a Prom Dress from a Friend or Family (Alter it)
Does someone you know have the perfect dress for you but it’s just a little too big? Solve the problem by bringing the gown to a dry cleaner that does alterations. Moline-Kronberg Cleaners in Upper Montclair, Amelia’s Cleaners in Mt. Laurel and Pat the Tailor in Point Pleasant all offer professional tailoring services. Prices vary depending on the extent of alterations. Even better? Pat the Tailor also has tuxedos, dress shirts and all other prom accessories for men available for rent.
Purchase your Corsage or Flowers from a Grocery Store (Not a Florist)
Floral arrangements can get pricey if you go to an actual florist. Check out the floral department of your local grocery store instead. Many offer corsages and flowers at a significantly lower price than a flower shop.
Rent a Van Instead of a Limo
Limos are overrated. Get your group of friends together and chip in on a van or bus rental to take you to the prom. A Shining Star Limousine Service, which provides transportation in Central and South Jersey, has passenger van rentals in addition to the traditional limos and party buses. It also offers special prom packages, so call for a quote.