Consumer Advocate: Money saving tips for prom

Look familiar? That's NBC 10's Emily Volz on the left at her prom. She's smiling with her sister. (WJAR)

The average teenager in the Northeast spends $1,200 on prom.

Let that settle in…


On prom.

It doesn't have to be that way, said Kristen Regine, a Johnson and Wales marketing professor.

Start with the dress.

You're only wearing it for one night, so why buy a $500 gown, especially when you can rent a designer dress for less than $100?

“You have Rent the Runway, which you can get two dresses for the price of one, and it comes to you dry cleaned and you just ship it back,” said Regine.

What good is a gown without gorgeous hair and makeup?

Cosmetology schools like Paul Mitchell in Cranston will get you red carpet ready at a fraction of the price.

“It's usually about half the price,” said Rhonda Poulton, director of Paul Mitchell the School in Cranston. “They can get an updo for $30, makeup application included with that would be $45.”

No one wants a ride from mom or dad, but hiring a driver is pricey.

If it's just you and a date, consider using a ride sharing service, like Uber or Lyft.

Or find a group to split a limo.

“Look for the limos that have 8 to 10 passengers and split that,” said Regine. “It's a lot easier to split a limo with 10 people than one or two couples.”

It's a lot to keep track of, which is where free apps like Plan'it Prom come in.

“What you can do is set your budget, and really look at all the pieces that go into your prom planning process,” said Regine.

While guys used to pay less, they're now inching closer their dates thanks to "promposals." It's a concept that's really taken off in recent years.

Visa estimates students are shelling out more than $300 on average just to ask their date to prom.

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