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Your guide to having a fabulous budget-friendly prom

As prom season approaches. the search for the perfect, well, everything becomes a bit of a frenzy. Finding a flawless ensemble that doesn't empty your entire wallet may seem impossible— and with dresses typically costing over a hundred dollars (not to mention shoes, accessories, makeup, transportation *and* the actual ticket), prom season may seem more like a giant dent in your savings than the magical experience portrayed by the movies. Before you totally freak out, we're here to give you *all* the tips on having a dreamy and affordable night.

Thrift, thrift, thrift


Our number one tip for saving money during your prom shopping spree? Buying second hand! Check out your local thrift shop's dress, shoe and jewelry sections for some amazing (and affordable) finds. (Pro tip: While second-hand shops have a wide variety of styles to choose from, just be sure to check for tears, rips or missing pieces.) You can also check vintage shops for something to fit a period theme. Maybe you'll even invite your crush along, bc the two of you discovering the perfect matching pieces to tie your looks together? Yes, please!

Rent the runway

Rent the Runway, $30

Ah, prom dress season (aka the one time of year spending hundreds of dollars on a dress you'll only wear once is normal). If you're looking for a statement dress that is also environmentally sustainable, check out Rent the Runway. Simply input your size and browse their collection of dresses. Once you find the perfect pick, you can have it delivered straight to your doorstep (dry-cleaned *and* ready to wear, natch). They also send you a free backup size to make sure your dress fits perfectly.

Something borrowed...

"Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue" may be a classic wedding saying, but that doesn't mean it can't also apply to prom (that is, as long as cerulean fits your color scheme). Inspecting your mom's, sister's, grandma's, aunt's or friends' closets (with their permission, ofc) can be the ticket to finding a perfect prom piece. Just be careful not to misplace your bestie's rhinestone handbag, and remember to clean whatever you borrow. 

Helping hands

So you've secured an outfit without breaking the bank... but what about the finishing touches? Hair, makeup and nail appointments can often cost just as much as your actual prom fit, which is so not the vibe. Rather than booking up your day with pricey stops at salons, pitch the idea of doing a giant get ready bash with your pals pre-prom. This way everyone can bring their expertise (your lab partner is an expert at press-on manis while your soccer team's goalie gives the best Youtube-worthy hairdos). And when it's time to leave for the big night? Instead of renting a v. pricey limo or party bus, take up your parents' offer to escort you. It will not only give you time to bond with your fam but also save your precious pennies. Win-win!

Tell us which of these ideas you're going to try on Twitter @girlslifemag!

Slider image: @shayrudolph
All GIFs via GIPHY


by Madeline Morrow | 3/29/2023