how to do prom on a budget
Because not everyone can afford to spend a ridiculous amount of money on one high school dance, but that absolutely does not mean that you can’t enjoy your evening to the fullest.
- Your prom dress definitely does not have to cost several hundred dollars. Amazon.com has some really nice formal dresses, and most of them are in the $50-100 range! (I know there are other websites specifically for discount prom dresses, but in my experience Amazon has better quality and lower prices. Plus prime shipping can be a lifesaver if you’re in a rush.)
- And if fifty bucks is still out of your price range (and I know that it is for a lot of people), check your local thrift stores. Second-hand prom dresses sell for a fraction of their original price, and they’ve usually only been worn once or twice. Seriously, I got my first prom dress at a thrift store; it was a very pretty, very well-made dress, and I payed $15 for it. Check. Thrift. Stores.
- Or, if you just don’t like second-hand clothes or if you couldn’t find anything good in the thrift stores, check Ross or a similar store. (Ross is just what we have in my hometown.) They usually stock some formal dresses around prom season, and they’re almost all in the $20-30 range. I’ve gone to formal events in dresses from Ross before, and they hold up really well and look great in pictures.
- All of the stores I just mentioned are also really good places to get shoes, jewelry, ect. to go with your dress. Even stores like Walmart and Target might be good places to look for shoes, bags, and other accessories. And definitely check your own wardrobe – you might already own stuff that will look good with your dress. (I’ve worn the same pair of heels to, like, three different proms at this point tbh.)
- Get a dress that fits you well without alterations. Seriously, tailors are so pricey – you’ll probably end up paying several times more for alterations than you did for the dress itself. You’ll save yourself a lot of money if you just buy a dress that already fits and looks good.
- Do your own hair and makeup. There are approximately two billion “prom hair and makeup” tutorials on YouTube – find one that you like and practice it a couple of times before the big night.
- And if you aren’t confident enough to do it yourself, call in a friend for help. I’m totally useless when it comes to hair, but my best friend is a hair genius. We would always get ready for dances together, and we’d do a trade-off; she’d do my hair for me, and I’d help her with her makeup, and then we’d both go to the dance looking amazing. It’s a good system, and makes getting ready a lot more fun.
- Or, if you don’t want to do your own makeup and don’t have a friend you can ask, a lot of department stores that have makeup counters (Macy’s, Belk, ect.) will do free makeovers, even if you don’t buy any of the products! I had a friend in high school who always got her makeup done at Belk for school dances. I don’t like trusting a stranger to do my makeup, but it is an option if you want to get it done professionally without spending a lot of money. (MAC and Sephora both do “free” makeovers, but only if you make a $50 purchase first, so probably not the best option if you’re trying to save money. Always make sure that the makeover service really is free before you sit down in the makeup chair.)
- Also, you absolutely do not have to wear dramatic makeup or complicated hairstyles to prom if you don’t want to. If bold makeup isn’t your thing, you can just do mascara and a little bit of lip gloss. If you don’t want to spend two hours on your hair, just wear it down, or pin it up in a really simple bun, or whatever works for you. You don’t even have to wear a dress if you don’t want to – if renting a tux is more your speed, then rent a tux. Feeling comfortable and confident in how you look is more important than following trends.