Prom On A Budget

Okay.  Let me start out by saying that the title ‘Prom On A Budget’ is misleading. I certainly DID try to save money and be careful about what I spent but let’s be honest.  Going to a prom is crazy expensive.  So here’s my prom story. Michael shares his prom story at the end.  It’s a little different than mine.  We had a wonderful ‘Evening In Paris’!

Prom on a budget

This is where a Parisienne street artist sketched passersby.

Eva’s Prom Perspective

I found out that my homeschooling group was going to be hosting a prom.  At first I didn’t really want to go (because I thought it was going to be lame) but my mom talked me into going.

So it began.

There were a few things to consider:

Buying a ticket to the prom…

And most important?  Finding a date.

So let’s start with the most important. Finding a date. This is my first year involved in this homeschool group so I don’t have many friends and don’t really know any of the guys. But I do know Michael. You know. Mike – the technology genius who has taken leave of his senses and left Apple far behind. Other that this sad fact he is a pretty awesome and I thought it would be a lot of fun to go with a friend. So I texted him and asked him to go. I was a little nervous to ask and didn’t do such a great job. He may not have realized I was serious. And he said no. Yep. That’s right. I asked a guy to go to prom with me and he said no. Sigh….

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was getting desperate. So I texted again. And I am not ashamed to admit that I begged him to go with me. After the begging and whining and begging him some more not to ruin my last chance to go to a prom he finally agreed to go with me. We each covered our own expenses which worked out well, especially for him…

Prom on a budget

We had a great time!

Hair – I found some hairstyles I really liked on Pinterest.  Found out that having someone fix my hair could cost almost $100.  Looked at hairstyles again, chose the easy ones, and asked mom if she thought she could do any of them.  We watched some you tube videos for ideas and mom did my hair.  It turned out great. And it didn’t cost a hundred bucks!  $4.99 for a cute pin.

Prom on a budget

This is how many bobby pins mom had to use. And yes, it hurt…

Makeup – my first phone call was to Noreen. She is so amazing and I really wanted her to do my makeup.  Sadly, she was going to be in New York the weekend of the prom. I wanted to look special for the prom and I’m terrible at eye makeup. We went to a couple of makeup counters at the mall and I just wasn’t impressed with the people who said they would do my makeup – and the prices were really high! Finally we found Denise of Sephora right inside of Penneys! Denise has been doing makeup for 20 years. She was friendly and really listened to what I wanted.  I even got to go in about a week before prom for a trial run. There is no charge to have someone at Sephora do your makeup for a special event but you do need an appointment and they ask that you purchase $50 in product. So I went away looking great and with product that I absolutely LOVE. Thanks Denise! $115.00 – yup. I went a little crazy but in my defense I did have $40 left on a gift  card that I was able to use.

Prom on a budget

Denise did a wonderful job and my makeup looked exactly the way I wanted!

Prom on a budget

Who knows what I would have looked like if I had tried to do this at home – not so good with the eye makeup…

Dress – I didn’t think I was going to prom so I didn’t put aside any money for a dress. Big mistake. However, I did have a gift card to Penneys that still had about $110.00 on it. I was worried that I wouldn’t find a dress at Penneys that I liked. Mom and I talked about it and she mentioned that I could go ahead  make up my mind that I was going to find a dress at Penneys. So that’s what I did. We went in to the store and looked at every single dress they had. We took about ten into the dressing room and I tried on every single one. I did find one that I loved.  It was $100.00. I had just enough to get it! When I got to the register I found out that the dress was 40% off and was only $59.99!  Score!

Prom on a budget

I know that $59.99 is a lot of money but at 40% off I think it was a pretty good deal.

Shoes/jewelry – My dad took me shopping one afternoon for the accessories. We went to a few different stores but I really couldn’t find what I was hoping for. My dress was navy blue and I decided that I wanted to do coral accessories. We eventually wound up in DSW. I found the perfect shoes and was so happy! I was a little surprised at how much jewelry they had and found a bracelet and earrings that were exactly what I was looking for! Thanks dad! $75.00

Prom on a budget

Navy blue toes and the new shoes!

Mani/pedi – Sponsored by dad. We went after our afternoon of shopping. My toes looked great! $38.00

Purse – My friend Lexi and I took another afternoon and went to the mall. She needed a dress for her prom and I just went along for the ride. I did keep an eye out for a clutch or purse that I could take. Normally I wouldn’t worry about having a bag but I wanted to take these little flat shoes for dancing and didn’t want to walk into my prom holding an extra pair of shoes. Lexi and I ended up in Charming Charlie and I found the perfect purse. $25.00

Prom on a budget

The dessert table was gorgeous!

Prom ticket - Tickets were $100. I just about fell over but I know how expensive it is to find a good location and they were also having a nice sit-down dinner. The theme was ‘An Evening In Paris’. We had a photographer with Paris themed backdrops, a ‘street artist’ doing sketches, the Eiffel Tower projected on the wall, and a great DJ that played all the songs I sent in to the organizer! The meal was delicious and we had a really wonderful time. Huge thanks to Cindy Mantay our prom organizer – it was truly amazing what she pulled off! $100.00

Prom on a budget

The tables had different centerpieces and were all beautiful!

My total cost?

$307.98 (this figure is minus the $110 I had in gift cards since I didn’t really spend any money, so it really cost over $400 but we aren’t going to think about that right now)

17 total shopping and prep hours for the event

Going to prom: Priceless!

Not feeling so centsible,
but not caring because I had a GREAT time,
and remembering that prom is a once in a lifetime event,


Mike’s Prom Perspective

So it started with me being all chill about not going to prom this year, but after some serious recruitment from Eva (and a bunch of other people) I was persuaded that this was going to be a fun night that I should totally attend.

Prom on a budget

Hi. I’m Mike. I’m a PC. Hi, I’m Eva, I’m a Mac… Let the tech wars continue!

My plan for getting ready up to prom day? Get the suit cleaned, buy a matching shirt and complementary tie, check to see if I still had some shoes, and I made sure that I had a haircut the week before. That whole process was finished on two separate days but only because of the haircut. Probably a total of about 2 hours.

Prom on a budget

We had fun and I’m glad that I agreed to go with Eva

When prom day arrived I woke up at 6 A.M. not to get ready, mind you, but to go to SAT testing. That took like half the day, so when I got out I met up with my family. We ate some Chick-fil-A and then just relaxed at home till about an hour before prom. I think I got dressed in 20 minutes and then spent the rest of the time learning my tie tying technique (say that three times fast). We went outside and took some pictures then left for downtown and pictures with Eva before prom officially started.

Prom on a budget

I would just like to point out that at the end of a night of dancing MY hair is still flawless. Eva’s looks pretty good too.

Besides tying the tie it was a pretty stress free experience. My total cost?

$126.70 for a prom ticket, dress shirt and new tie that would match Eva’s outfit.

3 hours – Haircut, shopping and prep time

Going to prom: Priceless!




  1. says And you, Eva. Michael is fun, too.

    And I want to borrow that dress- don’t take it to consignment (though you could likely recoup much of your $ that way).
    ~Mrs. O

  2. says

    Eva I am so impressed that you asked your date to go with you! I was such a chicken when I was your age, I would have never been able to get up the nerve. Kudos. Sounds like you had a ton of fun and you looked great. Prom is a huge deal and I think it’s good that you went. I almost didn’t go to my prom and I am glad I did end up going.

    • says

      Thanks Daisy! I was nervous but Mike and I are good friends so that made it easier. We had such a great time without any of the drama that sometimes happens in a boyfriend/girlfriend situation. I’m so glad that I went!
      Eva recently posted…Prom On A BudgetMy Profile

  3. says

    My wife and I never went to our prom and while we didn’t really like our high school class that much we really regret not having the experience. Fast forward 12 years later we have 2 beautiful kids and a lot to be thankful for but prom memories are something that we’ll never have.

    I wouldn’t beat yourself up too much about that prom budget ;-) I know it’s so cliche but it is indeed a once in a lifetime experience. Glad to see you had a great time!
    Marvin recently posted…Outline On How To Buy Municipal BondsMy Profile

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