Monday, November 20, 2017

With a little creativity and some research, $100 buys a pretty good prom

RECOMMENDED READING


What would you do with $1,139? • Buy a plane ticket to a faraway country? A brand new MacBook? A fancy camera? • How about put it in your college fund? After the joy of college acceptances wears off, the harsh reality hits: College isn't cheap. Tuition, textbooks and room and board add up to some seriously staggering numbers, and $1,139 would go a long way toward a semester meal plan, or a few semesters' worth of textbooks. • Yet according to USA Today, $1,139 was the average amount American families spent on prom last year.

I made it my goal to spend about 10 times less than the national average on prom, for the sake of learning to pinch pennies before I become a poor college student myself. For under $100, I am determined to provide myself with a wonderful prom experience for a small fraction of the average cost.

Here are some suggestions to help you do the same. Remember that budgets can be flexible and the cost of prom differs from person to person and school to school. A bit of organization and creativity will all be worth it when you've got an extra $1,039 in your college fund.

Ticket: $40 at St. Petersburg High

This cost is clearly inevitable. Ticket prices vary according to school, so find out ahead of time and budget accordingly.

Dress: $0-$50

With a little luck and a lot of planning, you can score a great dress for nearly nothing. Programs such as Belle of the Ball offer free prom dresses for students with financial need, such as qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. If you're not eligible for such programs, get creative. Borrow a dress. For junior prom, I was lucky enough to borrow the prom dress of my friend's sister, and it didn't cost me a dime. Willing to spend a little? Stores such as Lending Luxury (in Tampa and online) or Rent the Runway (online) allow you to rent a dress for the big night; Rent the Runway offers $25 off your first rental. A little digging on Craigslist can yield your ideal dress for a great price. The best way to get an affordable dress is to plan ahead and do your research!

Tip for next year: Shop off season (June-August) for a dress to score the best prices. Proms will be done, and stores slash prices in preparation for homecoming. You can find dresses for less than half the price when you shop off season.

Hair, nails, makeup: $0

This is where you can get innovative. Host a getting-ready party with your friends. Everyone brings their hairstyling tools, makeup and nail polishes to get ready before taking pictures. This way you'll skip the time and cost of the hair salon and enjoy the company of your friends.

Shoes: $0

Yet another freebie. This is an easy area to save. Simply use a pair of heels you already own or borrow a pair. No need to buy something you'll wear one night (and most likely take off to dance anyway).

Limo: $0

Skip it completely. Save the Earth as well as the money in your wallet. Carpool with friends to stay nearer to a $100 budget.

Dinner: $10-$20

Pick a spot that is affordable. Places like Chili's and Applebee's offer two meals for $20, ideal for dinner with a date. If you're willing to eliminate this cost altogether, organize a prom potluck. Guests bring their favorite food and dinner is served for no cost.

As you budget for prom, remember to be flexible, plan ahead and be creative. Even if you spend more than $100, you are learning how to manage money and stretch your dollar. And lessons like these will certainly come in handy during the college years.

 
Comments
32,500 Haitians living in Florida will lose their protected status.

32,500 Haitians living in Florida will lose their protected status.

Update: According to the Miami Herald, Haitians will lose their Temporary Protected Status in July 2019, giving recipients 18 months to obtain legal status or leave the United States.By Thanksgiving, the Trump administration must decide whether to ex...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Seven years after quake, Haitians to lose deportation protection by 2019

Seven years after quake, Haitians to lose deportation protection by 2019

Miami Herald:After years of being shielded from deportation from the United States while their disaster-prone country continues to recover from its devastating 2010 earthquake, tens of thousands of Haitians will now lose that safeguard.The special de...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Gallery: Scenes from Adam Matos' sentencing hearing

Gallery: Scenes from Adam Matos' sentencing hearing

His family described him as a loving, kind-hearted father. His neighbors regarded him as quiet and respectful. His friends recalled him as “happy go lucky,” a “laid-back, fun guy.”Thirteen witnesses told of a softer side of Ad...
Updated: 18 minutes ago

AP Top News at 7:59 p.m. EST

AP Top News at 7:59 p.m. EST
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Justice Dept. sues to stop AT&T's $85B Time Warner deal

Justice Dept. sues to stop AT&T's $85B Time Warner deal

The Justice Department sued AT&T to stop its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Florida Democratic president resigns

Florida Democratic president resigns

The crisis at the top of the Florida Democratic Party continued Monday with the resignation of Sally Boynton Brown, the party's president and chief administrator.Her exit followed last week's decision by chairman Stephen Bittel to quit...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday’s win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team’s struggles running the ball shouldn’t go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason we’re not mo...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Prosecutor seeks probe of US personnel in Afghanistan

Prosecutor seeks probe of US personnel in Afghanistan

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requests authority to investigate human rights abuses in Afghanistan, including alleged war crimes by the U.S. military and CIA
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Manson has endured as the face of evil for nearly 50 years

Manson has endured as the face of evil for nearly 50 years

Other killers snuffed out far more lives than Charles Manson did in 1969 but the murderous cult leader has endured for nearly a half century as the personification of evil
Updated: 15 minutes ago