The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Prom On a Budget

How to prepare for Prom without breaking the bank
Kalise Miller
The collection of dresses available in the Comfort Closet for those who wish to save!

Prom is an excuse to have fun, let go, and dress up. The last part, however, is the hardest part for many people. To take pressure off your bank account, you can shop on a budget and still dress your best.

A Prom ticket at Gateway this year is $95, an increase of $10 from last year. And next year it will be $100. On top of that, the cost of dresses, suits, shoes, hair, makeup, flowers, and other accessories pile up and consume all of your money. 

To maximize your budget and still have a great time, stick around until the end!



An average Prom dress can range from $50 to over $1,000. Many families do not have extra money to spend at a dress/gown store. Luckily, these shops are not the only options out there.

Stores like Windsor, Boscov’s, and Macy’s have discounted dresses in all different styles and colors.  If you want to order the dresses you can do so on their websites. Or if you need to try them on, you can do that in person as well. Windsor frequently has $7  or $20 racks of clothes and dresses. Many dresses I wore at pageants or events have been found on these racks, and ended up being frequently complimented!

You could also go to consignment stores or thrift stores and find really cute dresses! One day, I just so happened to be shopping at 2nd Avenue Thrift Superstore when a unique, green dress caught my eye. I tried it on and it was just my size. When I wore it to the event, I had so many people wondering where I got the dress. And I was proud to say I found it at a thrift store.

If you’re not looking to take anything out of your bank account, find a friend who is close to your size and ask to borrow one of their dresses! Borrowing is one of the most common ways to find a Prom dress for underclassmen.

Junior Molly Sholders attended Prom both of her underclassman years and had no dress costs either year. 


I borrowed a Prom dress from one of my close friends because I was an underclassman going to Prom and my mom didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress. So, our simple solution was borrowing. I still had a good Prom dress without having to worry about any costs.

— Junior, Molly Sholders


Another pay-less option is Gateway’s Comfort Closet, run by the one and only Mrs. Norton! 

Mrs. Norton explained, “Girls can get Prom dresses, shoes, maybe even jewelry from the Comfort Closet, AT NO COST to them! You can’t get a better deal than that!” 

The Comfort Closet, located in Gateway’s 400 wing, holds items that meet the needs of students and staff so they can have their focus on learning or working.


If you are in search of a tux or suit for your Prom, you know how expensive they can get. Suit rentals range from $90 to $180. All that money just to give the tux back after one night. Many cheaper options are just right for you and will even allow you to keep it for future events.

You can find a variety of colors, patterns, materials, and sizes at discounted prices right now! When I went out shopping at the K&G in Deptford there was an entire section of the store dedicated to pants and jackets that were on sale. You can also sign up at K&G to receive notifications for promo codes and discounts along with their start and end dates.

If you don’t feel like going out to shop and want to order from the comfort of your home, Amazon has everything you need! There are multi-piece sets in all different styles that won’t break the bank.

Teacher Mr. Pridy, who attended Proms when he was in high school and has high school-to-college-aged sons, believes in saving money any way you can. Although his sons won’t listen to his advice, he remarked, he hopes you will when he says, “Don’t rent a limo, find a friend who has a nice vehicle to loan to you, and get a dress or clothes from the Comfort Closet.” 

The Comfort Closet is not just for Prom dresses, but suits as well! The Closet houses so many options for pants, jackets, dress shirts, ties, and shoes in all styles, colors, and sizes! If you are in search of any of these, the Comfort Closet is open for you!


Dress shoes are an unexpected cost that not many people speak about. However, there are so many affordable options that will serve your look just how you want them to. 

You can find gently used shoes at resale and thrift stores like Plato’s Closet and Goodwill. If you don’t want to take that avenue, head to your local mall or shopping center and find sales racks in stores like Shoe Department, Windsor (who always has $20 heels), and DSW (head to the back and there is a ton of cute, sale-priced dress shoes)!

Once again, the Comfort Closet is also there to save your day! Although, there aren’t many pairs there, so get them while you still can!

Three examples of shoes being offered in the Comfort Closet. There are heels, flats, men’s dress shoes, and more!


Coming from a girl who wears necklaces, earrings, and rings every day, jewelry on Prom does not need to be extravagant. Simple, classic pieces are what make a look timeless and elegant. 

Instead of going out and searching for real gold, silver, or jewels, look for something that simply serves the purpose it needs. If you are wearing your hair down, your earrings are not going to be easily noticeable. So a simple stud would suffice. If you are wearing your hair up/half up, a longer, dangle earring would stand out beautifully.

There are options for earrings everywhere! Jewelry stores all have clearance or sale prices on jewelry. Though, an online price may be different than in-store, so be sure to compare and get the most bang for your buck. You can even find pretty earrings in Walmart and Target (where I got my Prom earrings from!).


On top of all of that, there is still hair, makeup, and flowers. These may not be necessary for your Prom day, but they are typical expenses.

Prom hair and makeup can be a hassle, from finding the right stylist, to finding the time, to questioning whether or not you like it or if you just want to skip Prom altogether. But, doing your own hair and makeup can be a great start to your Prom night. When going to a makeup artist, you can’t be 100% sure what you’re going to get or if you’re going to like it. So doing your own makeup can save you the extra stress and money.

If you aren’t sure where to start with getting ready by yourself, shop the drug store! There are soooo many great and affordable cosmetics brands with amazing quality! Elf is well known on social media for having great “dupes” for high-end brands. Another brand is L’Oreal, which is known for its various viral mascaras.

If you aren’t into the idea of doing your own makeup or hair, find a friend or a parent who would be willing to lend a hand. If you know someone who frequently does their own makeup/hair for events, ask them if they would like to do yours. Not only does it save you money, but it also creates a great bonding experience for the two of you.

Another easy money saver is making your own bouquets and boutonnieres. Flowers can get so expensive, but you don’t have to fork up all that money. You can buy single flower-type bundles at your local ShopRite, Walmart, Acme, and other grocery stores. Put them in your desired formation and tie them together with some string. Voila! A fresh bouquet of flowers made just for you and by you!



Prom is costly. It just is. Dresses and tuxes are so expensive on their own, but the accessory and ticket costs pile up as well. But, there are so many places for you to shop on a budget and still get what you want and will love!

If you want direct resources for where to get your Prom items, here is a breakdown of things I found online with other store ideas!

Good luck with your shopping and have fun at Prom!

View Comments (2)
Donate to The Chomp

Your donation will support the student journalists of Gateway Regional High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kalise Miller
Kalise Miller, Managing Editor
I’m Kalise Miller! I’m the Managing Editor for The Chomp, the Class of 2025 President, and an officer of multiple clubs at Gateway. I participate in fall cheer and competitive dance as well. In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and spending time with my friends! Typically, I will be writing about school sports featuring quotes and insights right from the athletes. I also write about Gateway-specific events, like Prom and Mr. Gateway!
Donate to The Chomp

Comments (2)

All The Chomp Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Ms. PowellMay 20, 2024 at 8:21 am

    Great Article! I love thrifting! Such a great way to find unique items while not breaking the bank!

    • K

      Kalise MillerJun 4, 2024 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you so much! Thrifting is so fun!