|Managing the high cost of high school
Boys, too, like to look good for prom, and tuxedos
don't come cheap. Add the price of flowers, travel to and from the
dance, and a dinner out and your teen has big bills. There are ways
to cut corners and still make it special for the kids.
The experts say
several months in advance of a big event. If you know the kids will want a limo,
encourage your teen to go to prom (or homecoming) with a large group and reserve
the car early for the best deals. Their shared ride will be cheaper and they'll
have more fun.
Dresses can jack up the cost of the big dance,
but Ellie Kay, family financial expert and author of "The Debt Diet,"
says a smart parent can find deals on dressy duds on the sale racks right after
Christmas. While some outfits will be in holiday colors, there's usually a good
selection of gold and silver formals, too.
Another option --
turn to consignment shops where last season's prom dresses are real steals. Want
something really fancy? Some consignment shops rent designer dresses for special
And don't forget that tux. One parent found a perfect
fit for her son in a thrift shop for only $10, cummerbund and tie included, and
vintage tuxes are particularly hot right now. For a more traditional look, check
stores that rent or sell them way ahead of the dance. You could score an early
bird rental deal.
You might not be able to cut the cost of
tickets, dinner and flowers, but you can lessen the sting by setting money aside
each week starting at the beginning of the school year. Put spare change in a
jar and, before you know it, prom money is simply a matter of rolling quarters
and cashing them in.
Music for your ears
If you have a musician in your family, then you're probably
already singing the blues. Beverly Haskin of San Antonio saw both a son and daughter
through high school orchestra.