Money Problems | Prom Edition

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I Can’t Afford Prom Dinner with My Friends

You’ve already spent all your babysitting money on your prom dress and shoes. Mom and Dad have agreed to pay to get your hair done. And now, the group of friends you (or you and your date) were going with want to eat dinner first at a restaurant that’s too expensive for your budget.

How do you get out of this situation gracefully, and still have a memorable prom night?

Consider other places to cut costs. Do you really need a prom picture? Chances are, in 15 years you won’t even know where the photo is, let alone the other person in it.  Do you need $100 shoes? Can you and a friend get together to do each other’s hair, rather than going to a salon?

Suggest a venue that’s more interesting (and just happens to be less expensive). A restaurant with outdoor seating (so everyone can see you) or rooftop tables is an idea, and they don’t have to be pricey to be cool. Or, order Chinese takeout and eat it on a grassy island by a busy street, on picnic tables under tiki torches. Your friends will love the attention the group will draw!

Have each couple get together to make a dish to bring to a pre-prom pitch-in at someone’s house, a clubhouse, a pier or other interesting locale. Cooking together is fun, and sharing food builds camaraderie like almost nothing else.

If the group remains adamant about the expensive restaurant, call ahead and see if you can negotiate a group discount.

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to tell the group that you’ll meet them at the prom. If you’re part of a couple, you can say you’ve made “other plans” with a wink and leave it at that. Better yet, you can tell them that you’re at your limit for prom spending because you’re saving money for college. Odds are, others are wishing they didn’t have to spend so much, either.

Bottom line: Be yourself, and don’t apologize or feel guilty! Your prom night is your experience. Make sure you can enjoy it!

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