Texas Living

Prom on a Budget

By Kristy Alpert 4.17.17

Yay! Your high school senior has made it to the end of the year — you know what that means. It’s time for prom season. Whether you’re shopping for an elegant evening gown or a handsome tuxedo, creating a memorable prom experience for your teen doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. 

Between spray tans, stretch limos, and stylish attire, the average cost for a high school prom night falls just shy of a four-figure price tag. A recent study found that parents of teens spent an average of $919 for their child’s prom night, with families earning more than $50,000 spending an average of $799. From scoring discounted tux rentals to ride sharing and DIY boutonnieres, here are the top six ways to save big without sacrificing the experience.

  1. Dresses. Who said you have to buy a dress fresh off the racks? Raid your best friend’s closet or head to your local thrift or consignment store to get a great deal on a used gown. Looking for designer without the designer price tag? Check out Rent the Runway for designer rentals at a fraction of the price or Becca’s Closet to see the assortment of dresses available for girls in financial need.
  2. Tuxedos. Although renting a gown may be cheaper than purchasing new, oftentimes renting a tux can end up being more expensive than just buying one. Renting a tuxedo can cost around $120 depending on the cut and quality, but once you factor in a rental for prom, maybe a second rental or two for formal events down the road, purchasing a tuxedo (approximately a $250 expense) could be more cost-effective in the long run.
  3. Dinner. Booking a formal dinner for two (or more!) can quickly take over your prom budget. Instead, opt for a progressive dinner at each parent’s house beginning with appetizers at one home, dinner at another, and so on.
  4. Photos. A professional photographer is nice, but a selfie stick or homemade photo booth often works the same (or better) to document high school romances. Make your own photo booth by compiling a few fun props (oversized sunglasses, fake mustaches, hats, boas, etc.) and setting your camera on a tripod with a timer.
  5. Limo. Just like in safety, when it comes to prom there is more fun in numbers. Gather a group of eight to 10 friends together to share the cost of a limousine or opt for a town car or an Uber to get the duo to and from the dance affordably.
  6. Flowers. Boutonnieres and wrist corsages only need to last one night, so there’s no need to spend a fortune on an exotic arrangement. Save at the florist by selecting flowers in season, or cut florist costs completely by making your own boutonniere or wrist corsage.

Hosting your teen’s prom after-party? Don’t let it become a liability; review these tips before getting the party started. 

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance