Prom: outrageous expenses are not inevitable

Regina Flores

It’s that time of year again – the excitement of prom is in the air, and the majority of junior and senior girls are beginning their search for the perfect dress. After a suitable dress is found, then comes the hair dying, spray tanning, and nail painting, all in preparation for the big day. While all of this can be exciting, the cost of prom has a tendency to take away some of the fun of the event. However, this does not have to be the case.

According to USA Today, the average cost of a girl attending prom in 2014 is projected to rise to around $1,900 compared to $1,139 last year, and I personally have heard of girls spending that much money on a dress alone. Shelling out such a large amount of money on a dress that will only be worn once or twice is absolutely bizarre to me, but on the other side of the spectrum are the girls who do not attend prom because of the costliness of the dress, shoes, jewelry, or maybe even the ticket. While a prom ticket will always be a little pricy, there are many options for finding a lovely dress at a very reasonable price.

One affordable option is a second-hand store. Just because a prom dress has been used by someone else does not mean that it is poor quality or old. After only one or two uses, a prom dress is still as good as new, contrary to popular beliefs. With a little bit of searching, it is possible to find a nice dress for a low price at a second-hand dress store.

Another good place to find a prom dress is at a Mexican dress store where quinceañera dresses are sold. There are many around, mostly in the downtown area, and often people do not even think about looking there for a prom dress. Speaking from personal experience, I found the dress that I wore to prom last year at one of these stores for only $99. These stores often have elegant and unique styles that no one else at prom will be wearing and sell them at a reasonable prices. In addition to Mexican dress stores, prom dresses can also be found at retail stores such as Ross or TJ Maxx for as low as $30. Fashionable, affordable jewelry and designer shoes can be found at both of these locations as well.

Last but not least is my favorite option: shopping for next year’s dress after this year’s prom. One can often find top-of-the-line prom dresses at stores like Macy’s and JCPenney for remarkable prices immediately following prom season. Last summer, I found the prom dress that I will wear to this year’s prom for only $23 at Macy’s. It wasn’t just a lucky find, though – there was an entire area filled with many different styles of prom dresses for this same low price.

While some girls may have enough money to spend thousands of dollars on prom, I will stick to my bargain-shopping methods. After all, no one else will know how little money I spent on my outfit at prom, but after the dance, my wallet will.