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Smile, this is a once in a lifetime moment![/caption]
For young men and women all over the nation, there are few events as worthy of a splurge as their prom. Equal parts new and traditional, it's incredibly fun. It is often the first formal event for many, packing the promise of being the most memorable night of their lives.
Unfortunately, all that celebration and milestone-hitting can promote an attitude that everything's got to be the best, and there's developed a bit of a competitive element to prom. Many teenagers feel compelled – if not obligated – to spend as much money as possible on everything from the most handsome tuxedo
or the most gorgeous dress they can find, to the perfect hair, make-up, shoes, accessories, flowers, jewelry, private limo rides, accommodations, photography, after-prom activities, and more – we're sure – than we've listed here.
Once all is said and done – and every receipt is counted (and recounted, and perhaps wept over) – the average cost, per prom attendee, is over $1,000.
While you could, understandably, recoil from that figure in something resembling horror, we prefer to view it from the perspective of having a whole lot of wiggle room to cut down costs to something more reasonable. Here's a few ideas how.
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Prom is about making a splash, but don't splurge too much![/caption]
SET LIMITS IN ADVANCE
It's very easy for these teens to overspend when there are no guidelines enforcing how much money they can throw into the ether. By working with your kids to find out what's important to them, what they can cut back on, and how much you can pool together without venturing into unwise spending territory, you might just wind up saving yourself – or your teenager – hundreds of dollars.
KNOW WHERE TO SHOP
Sure, that stunning designer tuxedo would make any young man look stylish beyond his years, but it's not the be-all and end-all of formal attire. So keep away from lavishly expensive boutiques and focus instead on online retailers and discount sellers, where you'll often find great deals on everything from complete tuxedo packages
to affordable designer tuxes
offered with sizable price chops.
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You don't need to break the bank to look your best.[/caption]
Ties, tuxedo vests
, cummerbund sets
, pocket squares
, and other formal accessories
can add up to hundreds of dollars on their own. And while kids might be able to discern a designer quality tuxedo from something pulled from the budget rack, chances are they're not going to care nearly as much about where a tie came from. Borrowing these accessories from a generous friend or family member might just be the easiest way to size down the bill.
Having a private limo can be an amazing experience, but it's not one that's central to prom. Attendees can have just as much fun – if not more – pooling their resources together for a shared limousine. Other options include carpooling or renting a bus, both of which will do wonders in enhancing the camaraderie of prom.
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Keep your cool without blowing your credit card.[/caption]
When all is said and done, prom isn't only an opening exercise in the sophisticated side of adulthood: it can also be used to instill teenagers with a sense of fiscal responsibility that will linger with them far beyond the excitement of the occasion.