5 Cheap Ideas For Prom

Prom — a time for corsages, lots of tulle, and spending money. In some families, prom can be one of the most expensive nights of a teenager’s life. On average, families spend about $919 dollars on this very special day. But it doesn’t have to be this way — we promise.

Here are five ways to do prom cheap… er.

1. UberBLACK or Select instead of a Limo

Instead of renting a limo, why not get your kid an awesome Lexus or Cadillac? Uber Select and UberBLACK, while normally used by important businessmen, is the “luxury version of Uber.” Have your kid roll up in an awesome new BMW, and pay less than a quarter of what you would pay for the stretch limo.

2. Shoes aren’t that important

We’ll go ahead and dispel any rumors that your child will be made fun of for their shoes. The most important part of the night is the dress. Use existing shoes as inspiration for dress options, or try wholesale shoe dealers like DSW.

If you want to get extra sneaky, sign up for a shoe website like, and take advantage of their new signup offer. Get your first pair of shoes for $10, and then cancel your subscription. Or keep the subscription for yourself – we won’t judge.

3. Budget and do your work early

Plan to shop for prom as early as possible. Need help budgeting? Try Mint! Mint will allow you to safely upload your banking accounts, set budgets, and will send you notifications to remind you to stay on track!

Set up a budget that includes a “splurge” on one piece, and then build the rest of the outfit from there! We recommend splurging on the dress or the tuxedo.

4. Try the nontraditional dress — but not duct tape.

If your child’s school doesn’t have a dress code — take advantage! Don’t limit yourself by what’s in the formal dress aisle. Go with a nontraditional dress, like something fun and vintage. They’re usually a lot cheaper.

And please don’t be fooled by the duct tape dress. Unless your child is extra crafty and you know they will stick (ha!) to it, duct tape dresses (the more intricate ones) can cost up to $400 and take months to complete.

5. Rent, don’t buy a dress.

Let’s be real — the only time anyone ever wears a prom outfit again… is to next year’s prom. And really, who does that?! Instead of spending upwards of $200 on a dress that will live in a closet for the rest of your teenager’s life, why not rent one that’s way more awesome for half the price?

Companies like Rent the Runway prepare for prom months in advance. For most dresses, you can even order a free second size, just to make sure that the fitting is perfect. Make sure to order early though, because they do run out!

For your teenager’s prom, set a budget and stick to it. While we know that your teenager will want to do the same things their friends are, you can encourage other parents to buckle down with budgets too. Prom makes great memories that they will keep for a lifetime, and you can do that reasonably within a budget. Remember — the last thing they’ll remember is how much you spent.


Tags: Just for Fun, Holiday Smarts