Don't Waste Your Money: Prom costs can break the bank

(Toledo News Now) - If you went to high school prom in the 70s or 80s, you probably remember big hair, big shoulder pads, and big lapels. Nowadays though, something else is big when it comes to prom: the price tag.

We all know that weddings are expensive. But long before most parents get to that day, there is another event hitting them with sticker shock: high school prom.

However, there are ways to cut those costs without staying home.

School prom is a rite of passage. Unfortunately, the rising costs of dresses, tuxes, and dinner is making it out of reach for many.

"I can't afford prom!" said Jenn Maurmeier.

Maurmeier is a mom of a teen ready to go to prom. She cannot believe what a simple corsage costs.

"I was shocked at the price. The most economical I found was $27.95," said Maurmeier.

Indeed, a check of FTD's website finds corsages as high as $65. Just the boutineer can cost $25.

A recent study by Visa found the average prom now costs more than $1,000 per couple:

  • $231 for the dress
  • $127 for the tux rental
  • $75 for dinner
  • $20 for the corsage

That does not even include hair or a limo.

Maurmeier finds it hard to believe what some girls in her son's class are paying for gowns.

"They can range like bridesmaids dresses, $200 to $300, and that's insane!" said Maurmeier.

But there are some ways to lower these costs, according to several shopping blogs. Among the suggestions are finding gowns at second-hand shops. Some, with names like Cinderella's or Kenzie's closet, are set up specifically for proms. Check with your school to find shops near you.

For the hair styling, try local cosmetology schools, which may do it free.

For a tux, get a handful of guys together for a group rate.

For the corsage, check with your local grocery store's floral department.

A little ingenuity and you can keep that magical night from breaking the bank.

Why is today's prom so much more expensive than mom and dad's prom back in 1977? USA Today blames it partly on reality TV shows. It said girls want to look like the Kardashians or the Real Housewives and you are not going to do that for $50.

Try some alternative choices so you don't waste your money.

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