So you’re going to the prom: But do you know what it costs?


There are few occasions as important to teenagers as their high school prom.

But by the time they get dressed and out the door, it can be a very expensive night.

Add on things like dinner and a limo, and the night can set them -- or you -- back a few hundred bucks.

The good news is it seems to be cool to do "Prom on a Shoestring" this year, even though most teens don't want to admit it. Several moms said their teens picked one area in which to splurge while cutting costs in other areas.

We took an informal poll of prom costs, and we present here what parents told us.

Hair: $10-$100

Many guys will get a trim, which is at the lower end of the cost spectrum. Some girls do plan to splurge on a complete wash, cut and updo, which is at the higher end of the cost range.

However, many girls will either fix their hair themselves or enlist the help of a friend or mother.

"My daughter has practice straightening her hair and trying to fix it herself, but I think she'll wind up going to the hairdresser," says Kelly Parker of Mount Pleasant.

Shoes: $25

“Shoes are pretty far down on the list,” says Kelly Parker of Mount Pleasant. “I don’t think most of the kids keep them on anyway. My daughter was content to get something comfortable and inexpensive.”

Nails: $10-$50

Some girls plan to do manicures at home, while others head to the beauty shop for full mani-pedis.

"She has cut costs in lots of other places, so this is my present to her," says Charleston mom Laurie Nichols. "She got a very affordable dress and is doing her own hair. I thought this would be a nice splurge."

Dress: Up to $250

One mom reported having a difficult time finding the right fit for her daughter, so they wound up spending $250 when they finally found the "perfect" dress.

But many others found a more affordable way out. One high school senior purchased a dress at Goodwill for $6.99, another junior swapped last year's dress with a friend, although she hopes no one will notice.

Tux: $150

A junior attending his first prom said he paid $150 to rent a tux for the evening, but one mom who has been through this before instead opted to buy her son a suit, which costs about the same.

"He is going to two proms this year, and he'll go to at least one next year, so it made sense financially," says Mount Pleasant mom Betsy Gardner.

Corsage/Boutonniere: $10-$20

"I wish there was something nice blooming in my yard," says Goose Creek mom Latrice Glover. Instead, she says, she found another way to save money. Instead of ordering a corsage for her son's date from a florist, he is getting it from the grocery store, which costs less.

A nice wrist corsage with some baby roses is setting another teen back about $20, he says.

Tickets: $30-$50 each

The only way to save money on tickets is for students who are not taking a date to pair up with a friend. For instance, single tickets at most area high schools range from $30 to $50, but students buying two tickets often get a $5 to $10 discount. Otherwise, teens can expect to spend around $50-$90 per couple for the big night.

Transportation: Up to $50

"A limo makes sense for a lot of reasons, but it's very expensive," says Charleston mom Laurie Nichols. "It's nice if a bunch of kids can go together, and they don't have to be on the roads in their own cars, and it's sort of a luxurious treat, but it also was going to cost about $50 per person."

A group of West Ashley teens found a different way to travel together: They rented a 15-passenger van for the night, which will be driven by one child's dad, at a cost of about $20 each.

Another mom says she is letting her son drive her vehicle that night.

"I just couldn't see him picking up his date in a beat-up old pickup truck," says Mount Pleasant mom Betsy Gardner.