Friday, February 11, 2011

Saving Money On School Dances

(my latest floral creations)

Now that I have teenagers, especially one that has taken a keen interest in the opposite sex, school dances have become part of our social repertoire. Any one who has high school age children, knows that school dances can be major budget breakers! I don't claim to be the know it all of saving money in this area, but I have discovered a lot of ways to save a little money.
  • I know I have brought this up before, but  making your own corsages and boutonnieres is one of the major ways to save money. I had a little hissy fit the first time I went to order a corsage for my Big Boy's date, and realized that the cheapest one I could find was $24.99 (which consisted of two measly flowers and a bazillion yards of ribbon). I found an internet tutorial, purchased basic supplies, and made a much nicer one than I could find at a florists for about $10.00.  Now  I watch for ribbon, corsage pins, and other supplies on sale or clearance. School Dances usually coincide with Holidays, so I can usually find flower bundles at Fred Meyer's or the grocery store on sale. An average corsage costs about $4.50 to make, a boutonniere about $.75. It makes it even cheaper share the cost of supplies with other parents that have children going to the dance. Today several ladies and I made an afternoon of it and created five corsages and three boutonieres.
  • If you have a daughter try dress swapping with a friend, or shop consignment and thrift shops. Check clearance racks at department stores after Christmas and after the prom season. I have seen gorgeous semi formal and formal dresses for 60% to 90% off. My neighbor just bought her daughter's dress off the clearance rack. She noticed that the zipper was broken, when she pointed it out to the sales clerk they gave her an additional 20% off. She had the zipper replaced for a minimal fee at an alterations shop. Sometimes if you let the word out you are looking for dance dresses, mothers with girls who have graduated will let you borrow, or buy their used dresses. If you are really lucky they will just give them to you.
  • If you have a daughter check out your local beauty school for hairstyles, manicures, and pedicures. Most beauty schools are much, much cheaper that a salon, and all their work is checked by an instructor. Another alternative is barter with a friend or neighbor that is hair savvy, to create the perfect updo.
  • If you have a son think about investing in a basic black suit at a thrift store. A nice suit with a cummerbund and tie look just as nice as a tux, and it's much cheaper. In my area a tux rental is around $100.00. I can buy a used suit and have it altered for $100.00 or less. You can buy a selection of basic ties at thrift stores that will usually match most dresses.
  • Instead of paying for dinner at a restaurant, host dinner at your house. If it's a spring or fall dance, dinner outside on the deck or in the backyard is kind of fun. It's amazing how festive your backyard looks with a few strands of clear Christmas lights strung around. Don't forget to dress up the table with pretty table linens, add a few candles, have some mood music, and place simple party favors by the plates (the last dinner dance I hosted I filled Chinese take out container from the Dollar Store with flavored popcorn and tied ribbon around the box).
 This is just a starting point! I'm sure there are dozens of ways to save money.  Have any of you, my dear bloggy friends, found ways to save money on your children's School Dances?


  1. I started making the corsages and the boys flowers when my son was in his freshman year. The prices are insane.

    My daughters school has a gown and shoe swap. Everyone brings in dresses, gowns, shoes, accesories that they have worn before. They are labled with the original persons names, worn for the dance and returned to the original owner after the dance. It works great for everyone involved and the girls have a blast.

    Also I bought my sons tux at todays man. They had a whole rack of them for 45.00 and my son has worn it for his jr and sr prom and also over his last 4 years of college.

    What a great idea of hosting dinner though..we could have saved tons on that with the first two. But I will suggest it to my youngest.

  2. Those are all such great suggestions. I love that you make the corsages and boutonnieres!!!

  3. Your corsages are gorgous! I made a couple last fall for homecoming dances. They really are quite easy.



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