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Money Saving Prom Fashion

There is a lot of pressure on making prom the biggest night of the year, or even the biggest night of your life until this point. If you're not careful, you could end up shelling out big bucks to give the night the most sparkle possible. It is possible to create a flawless evening without emptying your wallet or charging a fortune on a credit card. You want to make this night memorable without big monthly credit card bills or a debt to your parents as a lasting reminder of the fun!

Dress for Less

Your prom dress doesn't need to be new to suit you perfectly. Second-hand stores and consignment shops are great places to find gently worn dresses and tuxedoes for a fraction of their original cost. Rental places sell gently worn clothes, and may even make necessary alterations or adjustments for you in the shop. In fact, you don't need to own the dress or tuxedo to own your look. Rental shops are great places to pick up the perfect item, especially when you're probably never going to wear what you wore to prom ever again.

Looking to go the zero cost route? Borrowing is also an option. Older friends, cousins, or even your mom probably have closets full of prom-worthy dresses that you can wear for the evening.

We asked Terra Wellington, actress, author and green living enthusiast for her tips as well. Here's what she suggested:

"Re-use/vintage is also a way to go, but you can be more sophisticated about it.  If you love the Boho-chic style, you'll find loads of style options for yourself at second-hand stores.  And, if you're crafty, it is simple to add a little embellishment, a little extra dart or pleat, or some fun accessories to put together a very happening re-use combo.  At Etsy.com and Ebay.com you can find a number of retailers who re-purpose and re-sell vintage wear. 

Because I live in Los Angeles, second-hand stores are king.  We get such amazing designerwear with virtually no wear donated or on commission to these stores. One store I particularly like is Crossroads Trading -- they have a fun blog you can follow to get style ideas using vintage finds.  They have stores in Chicago, New York, and along the West Coast, and they will let me trade in my gently used clothes (if they are in season/style) for credit I can spend in the store."


Getting your hair done professionally is a nice experience and it can make your hair look great. If you are due for a trim and your stylist blows out your hair for free or a few extra dollars, schedule your trim for the day of prom. Don't schedule a complete haircut with a new style, though, or you may be disappointed with your final look. Another way to save money on hair is to do it yourself, of course. Check out several styles and choose a few that you may like. Updos (messy or neat), braids, headbands and other hair accessories can make your hair look terrific without getting it professionally done. Practice on your own or with a friend, sister, mom, etc. when you have time to spare. Take photos of each one and choose your favorite look. Then give yourself plenty of time to do (and possibly redo) your hair on the big day.


Getting your makeup done professionally is another nice luxury if you can afford it. If you live near a department store that has makeup counters, you can schedule a makeover and consultation the day of prom and get your makeup done for free. Purchase the lipstick or gloss for touch-ups the night of the party. If that's not an option, drugstore brands of makeup can be inexpensive, come in sets of several different colors and are many brands are made just for teenage skin and coloring. Go in with a few friends on sets of eyeshadow and lip gloss, bronzer, concealer and tinted moisturizer. Don't share lipliner, lipstick, eyeliner or mascara, however, since you apply those directly to your eyes and mouth, you could share germs and possible infections. Practice applying makeup with each other and help each other out on the big day.


Borrowing is the way to go with accessories. It's better to have one really special piece that means something to your mom, sister or close friend than buy a chunky piece of costume jewelry you'll only wear once. Secondhand stores are great sources for solid pieces of jewelry that will look better and more important than something plastic and fake from a teen accessory store.

Use Your Head

Be a sharp shopper when you're looking for ways to make your night special. If the options are to have a beach bonfire (inexpensive) or a night out on the town (expensive), keep fun and finance in mind and make smart choices. Prom is a right of passage from childhood to adulthood. Since you're on your way to becoming an adult, think and act responsibly and you'll be sure to have a night to remember!

Have Your Say

How do you save money on big ticket items? Tell us your thoughts on spending less money and having more fun!




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Where Will You Buy Your Prom Dress?

  • I'm going to get a dress from The Princess Project!
  • I'll buy it at the most expensive boutique in the city.
  • I'm wearing my sister's hand-me-down gown.
  • I'll try to find a cheap, but pretty dress at the mall.

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Dear Dish-It in the forums

Kirsteeeeen posted in Friends:
Maybe he likes you, as a friend or as more.
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Kirsteeeeen posted in Friends:
Friends grow apart as we grow up and change at different rates. It's fine to stop being friends, but it doesn't have to be in a mean way. The best thing to do is talk to her (nicely). You don't have to tell her she's being childish or you feel as if you've matured more. That would be terrible. Talk about things you guys like to do in common or make plans to try new things together. Or don't mention it at all, but don't just begin ignoring her. Eventually the friendship will fade the less time you spend together. 
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Amalegend20 posted in Friends:
You should be nice to her. If you have to break the news gently don't make her feel bad just talk to her about and see what she says  
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hugebear posted in Friends:
My bff and I were best friends but weve grown apart im getting older and she still wants to do kid stuff I have new friends now I feel like im being mean to her but like doesn't she get the memo I feel both guilty and mad:} Gosh.... put the shoe on  the other foot and see how would you feel if your bff done this on you. You has been bffs for the long time [Im guessing] and your maturing faster than her.  I agrees you are being mean to her if you doesnt discuss how your feeling with her and ignoring / avoiding her or whatever your doing.    She has been the good friend to you and she deserves to understand if you is growing up faster than her.  I really feels sad for how she could be feeling right now. She didnt do anything wrong.  You changed. Not her. Please be nice to your friend/ex friend and let her down gently [if you really has to] ^^ Me opinion  
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Desiixx posted in Friends:
Don't worry about it. Friends grow apart. That's how things go. Just talk to her about it, she'll understand. 
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