You’ve been assured it will be the best night of your life. That’s why you’ve been scouring magazines for dress ideas or getting up the nerve to ask that cute girl in your Trig class.
Before you pull the trigger on this whole prom thing, though, you may want to consider just how much coin you’re shelling out for this single night and all of its taffeta glory. Last year, the average amount each student spent on prom was a whopping $978 -- a substantial chunk of change that you’ll likely be missing next year when you’re at college and on day three of having ramen for breakfast.
To illustrate just how much you’re spending (even if that dress is splurge-worthy), here’s a rundown of what you could get instead, should you decide to forgo the whole crappy-pasta-under-a-disco-ball thing and just meet up with your friends later.
Flight to Mexico and six days at an all-inclusive resort
Yep. You could fly yourself from the middle of the country to Cabo San Lucas, and spend nearly a week snorkeling in crystal clear water, feeling the sand between your toes as you house unlimited enchiladas and fish tacos, all for what you’d pay to slow dance to that one Ed Sheeran song.
Brand new 13-inch MacBook Air
Is your old computer slow, busted and covered in faded stickers that you kind of regret putting on now? Chuck that thing for good and roll up to college in style with a sparkly new MacBook, which, with your student discount, comes in just below prom prices.
One month of rent in your very own apartment
The current average monthly rent for a one-bedroom pad in the center of a U.S. city is $953 a month. That means you could be the king or queen of your own castle without having roommates whose weird stank and constant failure to buy their own milk will sour the whole deal.
Two courtside tickets to an NBA game
Why watch on TV when you can be close enough to see the intense look on Pau Gasol's face right before he hits a free throw? Take in your next b-ball game like the baller that you are, rubbing elbows with celebs, not just the same fools you see every day in homeroom.
Louis Vuitton wallet
Put your money where your money is, by investing in a timeless designer piece like a Louis Vuitton wallet. Sure, $805 for a wallet seems like a big splurge, but remember that it’s actually $173 less than that cheddar you were gonna drop to spend three hours in a hotel ballroom.
Two months of unlimited rail travel in Europe
Before you are weighed down with a double major (and then, worse, life in the real world), give yourself the once-in-a-lifetime experience of backpacking through Europe. An unlimited Eurail passlets you bop around the entire continent and will expose you to people, food and cultures that will forever turn your worldview on its head. Or, you could stay in your hometown and make smalltalk over Caesar salad for one night.
An Xbox and nine games for it
Panicked because you’re headed to the dorms in a few months and you’re leaving behind your best bud, and, more importantly, his console? Get your own damn system, along with enough games to keep you blissfully unproductive for your first two semesters as an official grownup.
A year’s worth of regular mani pedis
That delicious scraping of dead skin off your heels. The glisten of freshly painted polish. Getting a mani pedi is a sublime indulgence that keeps you relaxed and sandal-ready. It’s tough to justify shelling out $44 for a glorified cuticle cutting when you’re a starving student, though. If you pocket that prom money, you’ll have enough cash saved to get a fresh mani pedi every 16 days for an entire calendar year. Forget being Prom Queen and happily rest in the throne that is those massage chairs instead.