Prom on a budget

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Prom is an important time of the school year for many high school students. Some spend hundreds, if not thousands, trying to achieve the perfect prom night. From the expensive outfit rentals alone, prom can be a costly time for families. However, it doesn’t have to be: there are many ways to have a lovely prom while staying on a budget.

Many prom outfits are infamous for their cost alone. One easy way to cut the cost of a prom outfit is to buy it used. Seniors, especially girls, may sell their outfits from the year or years prior for a discounted price. Many online sales, such as Facebook Marketplace, also boast a wide variety of prom outfits for sale. Another easy way to get an outfit is to rent one. Lots of males have rented tuxedos for prom, and any student can use apps like Rent the Runway to find a discounted outfit. Both outfits and shoes can be found cheap at secondhand stores such as Goodwill: I found my prom dress for $5, when a similar model from the same brand was upwards of $200. If you want to buy your own jewelry, it can also be found at trendy discount stores like Rue 21 and Forever 21.

One option that Berea Community offers is Cinderella’s Closet, run by the Family Resource Center. Anyone can participate; all you have to do is sign up at the Family Resource Center office and they will allow you to take a free prom outfit with makeup and jewelry. Permission slips must be in by February 22, and Berea students will visit the off-campus event on March 16.

Second, hair, makeup, and nails can easily be done on a budget. Going to a professional for all three can quickly rack up hundreds of dollars. One easy way to save money is to do it yourself! Stores sell press-on nails and nail kits, as well as drugstore brand makeup. If you’re not good at makeup or hair, ask skilled friends to do either, and usually they will. If they charge, their fees will be minuscule compared to a cosmetologist’s. Some people choose to get spray tans, but those really aren’t necessary to make prom memorable. Tanning lotion is available as a more affordable alternative.

Corsages and boutonnieres for prom are also widely used. They are expensive when bought, and it can be hard to find an affordable one. One solution is to simply make them. It may be hard, and take some time, but it will be a lot cheaper than buying one.

Prom photos can be easily taken without a professional present. Choose lighting and a location that you and the others in the photo love, and use a photo editing app for the desired effect. Both Samsung and iPhone devices have high-quality cameras, such as the iPhone’s portrait mode designed to mimic a professional photo. Choose a location that is open to the public, such as a park.

Finally, the arrival to prom doesn’t have to be anything fancy. If a friend or parent has a nice car, you could ask to be dropped off in it, or borrow it for the night. Dinner should not be expensive: most restaurants don’t charge extra for prom or making a reservation.

It’s easy to make a cost-effective prom night one to remember. Money is not the most important factor; it’s the time and memories that you’ll cherish.