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Prom Costs HOW Much?


For many, going to prom is a rite of passage. It is the last big party with friends before heading off into the real world. Often times, teens spend months preparing for that one special night. “There seems to be so much emphasis placed on this one event”, states Jana Castanon, spokesperson for Apprisen. “Girls daydream about their dress and how they want to wear their hair, while young men try to plan the perfect night. But, do they ever stop and think about much it will cost”? A recent Visa survey of more than 1,200 parents of prom-aged teens revealed that they plan to spend an average of $978 for the event this year. Most parents want their teen to have a memorable experience, but will the amounts they are going to spend exceed what they can afford? Often, these expenses were not planned out in advance and money that should be going to more essential bills might be spent on this one event. That is why it is so important to have realistic expectations on what you can afford. Here are a few suggestions to help you and your kids get started:

  • Have a Budget! Know what you can afford to spend. It will then be up to your teen to prioritize their wants in order to fit within the budget. Anything extra they would need to pay for themselves.

  • Shop Smart.  For many young ladies the dress is everything. They could spend a lot of time researching and shopping for the perfect one. But, even with this being a major expense, there are ways to find a bargain.
    • Second Hand Stores. As these types of outlets are increasing in popularity, so is the quality of merchandise that can be found in them. These dresses have often been worn only once and are in pristine condition. After prom, consider selling the dress to generate extra income.
    • Shop Your Friend’s Closet. They might have an amazing dress that would be perfect. It shouldn’t matter that it was worn previously by someone else, nobody will remember.
    • Shop Online. Shopping online allows the opportunity to comparison shop. You can price the same dress at different retailers to find the best deal. Make sure you know your exact measurements to order the right size. Check their return policy before you buy just in case it isn’t exactly what you wanted or doesn’t fit.
    • Get a Rental. While this is a traditional option for men, many women do not explore this opportunity. Rent the Runway is a popular online website where you can rent designer dresses for a fraction of the cost. There might be local retailers in your area that offer the same service.
  • Research Restaurant Specials. Many restaurants offer deals through sites such as Groupon and Living Social. Make sure you read the fine print and see that the discount is valid at the time you are planning to go.
  • Have a Dinner Party. Invite friends over for dinner before the big event. You can divide up the cost of having food delivered with all those attending. Create a romantic environment by lighting candles and using special dinnerware. 
  • Borrow Your Parent’s Car. You don’t need to spend hundreds on a ride that will last only a few minutes. It doesn’t matter how you get there, you will have fun regardless.
  • Have a Pre-Party. Plan an afternoon of getting ready with friends. You can do each other’s hair, make-up and nails and save hundreds off the price of these services. 
    • Going to prom doesn’t have to cost a lot. It is the people and the experience, and not the way your hair looked or how you got there, that you are going to remember. 


      Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for almost 60 years.


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