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29 Ingenious Ways To Save Money On Your Prom

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their smartest tips for saving money on prom. Here are the top suggestions.

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1. Instead of expensive spa treatments, get ready at home with a bunch of friends.

"We put on spa music and did DIY facials and makeup tutorials instead of paying for getting ready." —Sophie Gabel-Scheinbaum, Facebook
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"We put on spa music and did DIY facials and makeup tutorials instead of paying for getting ready." —Sophie Gabel-Scheinbaum, Facebook

2. Skip the trips to the tanning salon and use self-tanner.

"I bought self-tanner and applied each day rather than paying at a salon."


3. Save money on a pricey updo by getting your hair done at a local cosmetology school.

"I always got my hair done at the local beauty school. The work was overseen by professional instructors and the price of an updo was considerably cheaper than at a salon. One of my favorite formal hair styles was from a beauty school." —PandaVike

4. Find online tutorials for makeup tips you like and practice at home before the big night. / Via

"Buy drugstore makeup and do your own makeup — YouTube and Pinterest tutorials, along with a bit of practice, can result in a beautiful look." —Anna Marie DeMarco, Facebook

5. Use nail stickers or stamps instead of getting a full manicure.

"Instead of going and getting a manicure and risk it chipping before, I got nail stickers. They were cute; I got them from Walmart for less than $10." —Quay'onntra Walker, Facebook

6. Or just wear long gloves.

"I wore evening gown gloves so that way I wouldn’t have to pay for a manicure." —heathers42b44c3f7
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"I wore evening gown gloves so that way I wouldn’t have to pay for a manicure." —heathers42b44c3f7

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7. Shop for dresses in the off-season and get a better deal.

"I buy my dresses in October to December. Most of your big stores are selling them cheap since they’re 'last season'! I’m about to go to my sixth prom and have yet to spend over $60 on a dress." —caityb469f0d5a0

8. Find deals on one-of-a-kind dresses at vintage/consignment shops.

"Vintage shops for a dress. I wore a gorgeous 1940s wedding dress that was the prettiest thing I’ve ever put on my body that was only $40." —arayahl

9. Get something you can dress up or dress down for future wear.

"I got my dress for $45 off of Etsy. And it's an infinity dress so i can wear it casually too!" —Carrie Callaway, Facebook

10. This goes for shoes too.

"BUY SHOES YOU’LL WEAR AGAIN! Bought shoes I’d be able to wear all night (unlike all the other girls) and that I could wear after prom!" —kympriestley

11. Ask older friends and family members for formal wear they don't need anymore.

"Secondhand dress! I found a girl who had just graduated from high school with the same dress size as me and bought an old prom dress of hers for $75. I also bought a pair of heels that could match other dresses on clearance for $9." —helenb430daebc0

12. Stores that are going out of business offer deep discounts on everything from dresses, suits, shoes, and accessories.

"I'm not sure of all the details for my sister's prom this year, but she just bought her dress and shoes for 70% off from a store that was going out of business. What would have been the biggest chunks in her budget (dress and shoes), turned out to be cheaper than her jewelry." —Kaytlyn Porter, Facebook

13. During prom season, smaller bridal and dress shops will offer discounts.

"Sometimes small local wedding boutiques have prom dresses and they’ll cut you a deal or you can pay off the dress over time (which I did for senior prom)." —kaylat459dd939a

14. If you find a dress or suit in your budget that doesn't fit well, have it altered. Most dry cleaners can do this starting around $10 and you'll look like a million bucks.

"Do your own alterations or find someone who can. Alterations allow you to buy a dress that doesn't fit quite right or make a cheap dress look much nicer." —Elizabeth Block, Facebook

"I bought my suit at a Salvation Army for $18, marked down from $36 because of a tear on the sleeve. I fixed the sleeve, and went on to wear it to five proms throughout high school!" —ohhheytaytay

15. Find a simple dress and embellish it yourself.

"Bought a cheap, blank canvas dress at the thrift store and got creative with some decorations to personally jazz it up." —Chlo Fae Bethune, Facebook

16. Look at other formalwear you may already own. Just because it's not a ball gown, doesn't mean it won't look stunning.

"I had reserved to buy a typical dress from a boutique when I woke up the next day and realized I already had a closet full of perfectly dazzling Indian outfits calling out to me. So I wore a mint green half sari heavily embroidered with gold beading that my mom helped me put on. #IndianAmericanPride" —thysharona

17. Have a dress swap with friends from different schools.

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"Senior year a group of four or five of my friends and I from different high schools got together with all our formal dresses worn throughout the years and swapped dresses for the night…." —alices4f2566fdd

18. See if the school or local theater department will rent you something from past productions.

"I rented my dress from a local theater and they even tailored it for me." —Ida Kalliokoski, Facebook

19. If you're only going to wear the dress once, just rent it.

"I rented my dress. I spent $80 on a designer dress listed for over $400. I had the most unique look, for so much less than anyone else!" —aschbug

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20. Just rent a vest if you already have a band or show choir tux.

"My boyfriend rented a vest to match my dress but used his band tux from the school for free!" —rachelm44e161edc

21. Sign up for a referral program to get your outfit for free.

"I signed up for a rental referral program and had to get five referrals in order for my date to get a free tux." —susanb49f6a9500

22. Just buy a tux or nice suit. Costs as much as a rental and you get to have a formal outfit for years to come. / Via

"First off, I was the escort for my friend who was homecoming queen in 10th or 11th grade. So my mom and stepdad bought me a tux and shoes for $115 (tux: $95 and shoes: $20). I wore that tux for the escort and both proms. So that saved every time." —Daniel Ashley Patterson, Facebook

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23. Let family members help out where they can. They want to be a part of the special evening too.

"We also didn’t rent a limo. My grandparents have a nice car and my grandfather dressed up and drove us." —kendelh

24. Ride with friends in whatever car you have. It's way more fun all getting there together.

"Also spending a ton on transportation is so overrated. Senior year a group of friends and I drove in my friend’s old minivan — no transportation costs but no one cared how we got there and we had fun driving together!" —jackies45d8bceb9

25. Look outside your own driveway for a ride. A local church or smaller school may be able to rent you a school bus.

"My church had a school bus that they never used so they let us take it to the prom. We had it decked out with window chalk, streamers, and glowsticks and arrived in style." —Brenna Jaco, Facebook

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26. Have a potluck instead of going to an expensive restaurant.

"My senior year of high school I didn’t want to do the whole going out to dinner with a huge crowd and waiting 30-plus minutes to be seated and spend $18 per meal so we threw a potluck in my beautiful backyard. The day was perfect and we all got changed at my house which made things more fun and easier to eat!" —Mary-Margareth, Facebook

27. Hit up the grocery store for corsages and boutonnieres.

"We got our flowers from the grocery store rather than a 'real' florist! We spent half the money we would have spent for flowers that looked just as nice." —kendelh

28. Or make your own.

"I also ended up making some money by making and selling fabric flower corsages/boutonnieres that I made. Friends would show me a picture or swatch from their dresses and I'd find similar fabric and just go at it. Hypoallergenic, lasted forever, and I sold them for cheaper than real flowers." —Katie Cannamela, Facebook

29. Borrow some jewelry.

"I wore my grandmother’s jewelry from the 1940s. I cleaned it up and it was beautiful!" —joanniec2

But above all else...

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