7 Tips to Budget for a Winter Formal & Prom as a Parent

woman in black spaghetti strap top holding smartphone

by Troop Atomic Mommy

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Winter Formals and Prom season. These are the most exciting events in any social calendar during the school year. So, it’s no wonder why so many of us put so much stock into paying for them. After all, they almost mimic mini weddings.

While it may be worth treating your teen to a new dress or tuxedo, especially for their formal event, it’s also no secret that things can get very expensive, very quickly. 

Budgeting for a winter formal and/or a prom, is an important step. But you don’t need to put a giant dent in your bank account to do it up right. Yes, it can be difficult to know where to draw the line when you want the best for your child. Though, being financially savvy will save you quite a large amount of money down the planning road. Luckily, you can budget for prom AND winter formal as a parent, without compromising your wallet.

Here are seven noteworthy tips to help you budget for winter formals and proms, as a parent.

woman in white dress at a winter formal or prom holding a bouquet of white flowers
Photo by Becerra Govea Photo on Pexels.com

#1 Be prepared 

If there’s one single thing which will make a huge difference on your spending, it’s being prepared. The best thing about being prepared is that it doesn’t only help you to stick to your budget, but it also saves lots of time, stress and gives you the best choice before dresses have sold out and jewelry is unavailable. 

Being prepared and ordering your items in advance will prevent any need for rush delivery, or expensive purchases out of desperation when everything else has sold out. It’s not difficult, and the earlier you start to plan, the better. 

#2 Save money on getting ready 

It’s not unusual for people to have an entire hair and makeup team for their special day, and you could spend hundreds just on hair, makeup, jewelry, spray tan, shoes, and more. Alternatively, you could save money by learning to apply the makeup for your child yourself, or ask a makeup talented friend to help out. You could find budget jewelry at accessory stores and for shoes, you could save a great deal of time and money by buying them online at sites like Shein.

This way, you can have your hair and makeup exactly as you’d like, while also saving lots of money. You could even arrange for your child and a friend to do each other’s hair and makeup together, and have a pre-prom pamper session. 

#3 Consider your transport 

You’ve probably seen the typical limousine or fancy sports car arriving to formal events. The cost of hiring a vehicle like this can be exorbitant. There are lots of alternatives and there’s no need to rule out the possibility of exciting transport, altogether. However, instead of a fancy limousine that may only fit 6 people, how about a party bus? 

A party bus could be hired for 20-30 people and then the overall cost would be much lower. If you opt for this, you can even have a little party before things officially kick-off. Not to mention, it’s much more fun than sitting quietly in a fancy limousine. 

#4 Rent or borrow jewelry 

This is something with lots of different options when it comes to budgeting. Jewelry and accessories are very customizable. One option, if you’re looking for eye-catching pieces without a hefty price tag, is to either rent or borrow the jewelry from other people. 

Renting jewelry for just one night will cost much less than purchasing. Interested in saving even more money? You could ask friends or relatives if they have anything to borrow. That way, you don’t have to worry about trying to wear the pieces again in the future, either. 

#5 Prioritize the dress 

If you have a child heading to a winter formal or prom, there’s one thing to prioritize over everything else in your budget. That’s the formal wear. Whether it’s a dress or tuxedo, it is the one thing that your child will remember for the rest of their life. It’ll be the center of attention in all of the photos. This doesn’t mean you should throw out your entire budget, but it should easily be your biggest investment. 

Finding the perfect attire, however, doesn’t mean you need to buy it. If you’ve found something in the right size and your child is happy with it, you could opt to rent something similar. If renting is not a trendy idea, search online for a cheaper version of it. 

a woman in a pink prom dress and a crown
Photo by Becerra Govea Photo on Pexels.com

#6 DIY your corsage 

A https://www.awin1.com/awclick.php?gid=337158&mid=6220&awinaffid=832099&linkid=2162443&clickref=">DIY Craft Projectscorsage can cost as much as $100, and that’s money which could be easily saved using some DIY skills. Unlike other elements of the special outfit, the corsage isn’t difficult or complicated to make yourself. You can even follow a YouTube video. If you want, you could even organize friends to join the corsage-making process. To save extra funds, buy the materials in bulk to make it even cheaper. 

The accessory will still look stunning and professional, and it’ll mean even more when it’s been handmade. Plus, your daughter can choose exactly how she’d like the corsage to look and match it perfectly with the rest of the outfit. 

#7 Be smart with your shoes 

Finally, it’s time to pick and purchase the shoes. There are many ways to approach the shoe section of the outfit and it all depends on your exact budget. Remember, the dress is the real star of the show. So, the shoes don’t need to be too extravagant. Especially if the dress is long and you can’t see much of the shoe. 

Maybe your child already has a pair of shoes that match the dress or tux. If not, you could search family and friends for a pair to borrow or even rent a pair. Alternatively, buy a pair of shoes that can be worn in the future to make the purchase more worthwhile. 

The Takeaway 

In the end, it’s easy to see that there are many easy ways to save money when planning your child’s winter formal or prom. And that you can do this without needing to sacrifice their special day. Just keep track of your spending and you’ll find the whole process much less financially straining. 


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