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Growing up my parents did not pay for Prom or any related expenses. What should I do if my daughter is expecting us to pay for everything (dress, hair, limo, flowers, pictures, etc.). This is expensive for us and something we do not want to start a tradition of doing in our family. My teenager is very upset by this, especially since "all" her friend's parents are paying for this. I asked her to write a budget and she got annoyed that I would ask her to do that. Any ideas on what to do?

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Keep up the good work! You're raising a self-sufficient, money-concious child that will appreciate what she has. It's not easy and she will fight you. My parents did the same to me, and I will do the same with my 3 when they are that age. Just because everyone has or does something, doesn't mean they get to, too. As long as she is working, she should save the money for this. If she is not working, you may want to give her a reasonable (frugal) budget that she can work within - and nothing extra. The only thing necessary for prom is a dress. If she has all of this for prom, then what will make her wedding special?

well if she has a job.. maybe you all could agree to match whatever she can save... that way she is still responsible and will work hard to save. I would also explain the situation... we just don't really have the money... she would just have to deal with that. Good luck

I guess it's time for a job? This way she gets what she wants - Or does she want it bad enough? If prom is to close to make that happen, maybe she would be able to line up a job before prom, you guys front her the money and she pays you back with money from her job? Prom for my daughter was $600. She worked two months, part-time prior to prom to pay for it. She was happy and got exactly what she wanted.

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"All the other parents are doing it?" Makes me laugh. Of course not. We aren't. Our senior is paying his own way (although we've decided that if it comes up, we'll pitch in on a few things to ensure he's safe for the night, like the Post-Prom party tickets).

Hold to your values. My parents didn't shell out oodles of money, either. My mom paid for my dress. I went to Prom in my date's car and we ate with friends at a local Chinese restaurant. I think in some ways, Prom has gotten out of hand.

If she doesn't want to budget with you, she apparently doesn't really want your money. I'd tell her that if she wants help (not a blank check), she needs to sit down and discuss it with you, or she's on her own.

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Hi L.,
Set the rules now. If you can help her, by all means do so - but with structure you set. Get a budget and have her "earn" the items. You could have her do extra projects around the house. I have my girls pay half of expensive items they want that aren't necessities. (with chore chart money,etc) I always make sure they get what they want (within reason) but I make them put toward extra things so they appreciate it and think before asking.
Annoyed teenage girl? No kidding, really? Get used to it. If they aren't annoyed you aren't doing your job. My soon to be 15 year old is the one "working" me right now. She is getting a job this summer. As I told her when she tried telling me I'm cheap..."You want too much, you need a job." (I also told her if she called me cheap in front of her friend again I would show her cheap, she was trying to shame me into doing what she wanted. Which btw was buying her shorts on October just because they were on sale-shorts, in October when I was busy buying her fall clothes)
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

here is my response to my son when he says "all the other kids...etc" I tell him I am raising HIM...not THEM! anyhoo...my son went to TWO ring dances this year...I paid for the tux...he purchased the tickets, dinner and limo. We split the responsibility within reason! He had to use his own MONEY and it was hilarious to see someone who hates to part with his hard earned money make BUYING decisions!
Keep it simple and choose your battles! hopefully she will only go to PROM once!

1 mom found this helpful

Growing up I too was expected to pay for the extras at prom. My first prom I had to wear my sister's old prom dress!!! How embarrassing! I was the youngest of five kids. When my teenage sons started going to HOmecoming and prom, I paid for the flowers. If they wanted a limo or dinner out they had to come up with the money. Ask your daughter that if all of her friends were jumping off a bridge would she as well. I know that is something our parents used to say but she has to learn within limits. If she wants what everyone else has then she needs to pay for it. If you think it will help tell her you will meet her up to a price. If she has x amount of dollars then you will contribute x amount but no more. Check out consignment shops for dresses. Find a friend who is good with hair and have her/him come over to do her hair. If someone else is good at makeup do the same. It is a special night so make it as special without going broke.
Good luck.

My daughter graduated in 2007 and all her friends split expenses with their dates. My daughter has held a job since she was 16, so she paid for half the limo, tickets, flowers and the after-prom party. Her date paid for dinner and her flowers, which I think is proper (call me sexist!!??). I bought her dress and paid for her to have her hair done as a special treat...prom is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, right? We found a beautiful dress at Lord & Taylor for less than $200. In my opinion, there's no need to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a dress as I know some of her friends' parents did! Also, the kids picked a reasonably priced restaurant which kept costs down.
Just remember, it is the only prom she'll ever go to, so I would kick in some monetary help IF you can afford it (or find ways for her to earn it around the house). I'm not a big supporter of trying to "keep up" with other kids on a day to day basis, but your daughter should feel really special for this one night :)

L. ~

Does your daughter babysit? We have our 15 yr. old pay for things like this with her babysitting/Christmas/Birthday money. That includes movies & bowling w/friends, BD gifts for her friends, trips to the mall, etc.. Have you been paying for all the other stuff and just don't want to pay for Prom? If they know what's expected of them, they can prepare for it. Maybe she can do some extra work around the house to help pay for some of it. Prom is pretty special, especially if she's a Senior. Offer to take her to one of the nice consignment shops to look for a dress. My kids are accustomed to shopping thrift and consignment. I let them know it not only helps our budget, but is good for the environment to RECYCLE! The kids don't have to take a limo or eat at the most expensive restaurant. You can help her with her hair. It's spring outside - lot's of flowers blooming. There's lots of options - I'm sure you can make it work for her.

If she's not a Senior and wants to go next year, let het know she needs to start saving now. But, do try to work it out for her this year. This is a once a year event that most kids remember the rest of their lives.
Best Wishes!


Does your daughter have a job? My kids had jobs, we could not afford to pay for Prom, so they paid. I bought the dresses--but only from a discount store--we sure didn't pay more than $100 (and one was less than $20). Your daughter needs to begin to realize the old "money doesn't grow on trees" thing--just because Mom and Dad pay the bills doesn't mean they can pay for everything.

If she doesn't have a job, then you need to take a different approach--like making a budget and figuring out how much she can spend on each item. That's an adult reasonable thong to do. Kids are affected by peer pressure (everyone else's parents are paying--which I'll bet they aren't)parents should be too old for that. Isn't having teens fun????

A million years ago, I paid for my dress and my date paid for my flowers; my mom did my hair and took pictures as we were leaving in his beat up high school guy car.
Last year was my daughter's prom. We found a great vintage dress in a consignment shop, she spray painted an old pair of heels silver (dancer trick), borrowed a beaded purse and fancy barrettes from a neighbor who was excited as we were about decking the girl out. She was going in a group that all bought their own flowers and split the cost of a ride. Neither of us thought the price of the photos the official photographer was charging was worth it, so we took pictures before and they all brought cameras there.
Your daughter has to know that "all" of her friends parents aren't paying for everything, usually. Although my kids go to a school where some parents do, most of them have more sense.

Greetings!! Does your daughter have a job first of all? If not, then this is what I would do. Regardless if my parents didn't do for me I would do what I can to help my daughter for her prom. 1.You set the budget. 2. You tell her what you can afford. As for her writing a budget...NOT!!! You know what you can do and what you can't.It's alot of things that you can do to cut cost. Her hair you can set it yourself. Her dress you can find cheap gowns. Her flower. If she has a date then her date takes care of her flower and the pictures. Tradition shouldn't have anything to do with it. Last!! Why does she have to ride in a Limo. A parent can drive her or if she has a date. Tradition shouldn't have anything to do with it. You are the parent you set the budget.

Hi, L. - I agree with you. Your daughter should share in the expenses. It is absurd what it costs now for prom night! My feeling is that parents who hand their kids everything on a silver platter are not doing them any favors. How does that prepare them for the real world - especially today's world? Stick to your guns. Don't worry about what all the other parents are doing; that could very well be a line. Or maybe the other parents don't care about being in debt & charging everything. I would always say to my daughter, "I feel sorry for them that their parents don't care any more about them than that!" She appreciates now how she was raised. Decide what you can afford & do what you feel is right. I think we did the dress and limo & figured the "extras" had to be up to her. It was still a chunk of change, but she learned a good lesson. If you want nice things in life, you have to work for them! Good luck. N. B.

Your daughter does need to learn to budget. Everyone in life earns differently, & spends different. You are not wrong about that. To cut expenses for our daughter, I did her hair & nails. She had earned money babysitting, so she helped with the dress, which we found on clearance/sale. There was never a limo. The boys cleaned thier own, or borrowed a nice car from family. But that would be some all her friend could share. This is a once or twice in a lifetime event, that they will always remember. My girls only went to prom for 11th & 12th grade. It would have been nice to find a used dress, but we couldn't. Just try to make it special for her, you don't have to spend alot of money for that. When I looked at candid shots my daughters took at thier prom...no one had thier shoes on, they all took them off, because they are not used to heals. So, don't spend alot there. Sparkly flip flops work great! Have fun, don't stress.
mom of 3, 2 girls-22&19, 1 boy-14

Hi L.,

My name is A. Conny and I am 24 yrs old. Reguarding your question about paying for prom. What my mom did was helped me pay for all the expenses of prom. She bascically split every cost with me. If your daughter works than I would recommend that because it not only lets her make the decisions of what she wants but the biggest lesson it taught me was to value money and to get the things that you want you have to work for it.

A. Conny
Mom of a 3 year old.

I have not had to deal with these things yet, as my girls are still young! But if it were me, I think I would pay for the basic things for my girls, such as the dress (within a reasonable price that you give) shoes, and flowers. That is the basic needs of attending a prom I think. As for anything else, I think it would be more the responsibility of the child to come up with the money. Someone can always take pictures of them at home, so the professional ones aren't completely necessary, and a limo is not necessary either, and they can have a girlfriend (or you) help with their hair...or for her to just save some money! But I agree, you shouldn't have to pay for all those things.

I know every school is different but when I went to prom (7 yrs ago) The guys paid for the tickets, and the girls paid for the picture. As far as the cost of the Limo etc, there are other ways to get to the prom that cost less money. We borrowed a nice car from a parent etc. One thing my parents did that I appreciated was that they did buy my dress (it was never over $100 my parents wouldn't go for it if it was. That was the one thing they did for me and I appreciated that support. I had a job in High school so pretty much everything else was on me. When you have to pay for it yourself, you're more likely to spend it wisely. Your daughter could get her hair done at a beauty school for way less than half the cost of a salon. And those girls do a good job, they are young and stylish. Or she could have a friend do it. I did both growing up and my hair looked awesome. Just inform your daughter that there are other resources and no matter what she is going to have a good time. She may be mad at you for the time being (isn't that what teenagers do) but in the long run when her kids want everything paid for she'll appreciate what you made her go through.

Yes- Pay for her Prom. You are her parent- you have to make sacrifices even if it means sacrificing to help her pay for prom. You only live once and it's a wonderful memory. it doesnt have to be "overboard" monetarily and Im sure if you get creative you can find ways to save on prom nescessities- Dress from a thrift shop, A friend to do her hair, No Limo, but a nice ride from her friends or family..etc. Dont let her miss out on this...

Have you sat down with her to write a budget? I know that sounds funny but to me when someone says "sit down and write a budget" my heart starts to race and I get anxious. It's a natural reaction and I have no idea where it comes from! I'm just saying that it's easier for some people than others. Your daughter sounds like me (20 years ago!!!) but I can clearly remember thinking, feeling, and acting the same way. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to pay for everything, but where does she get extra money from? Does she work? If so, I think it's a parents responsibility to teach our children how money we earn equates to the money we spend. This is a lesson that comes naturally to my mother and my sister and is lost on me and I was never "taught" how to do this and to this day do not have any fiscal responsibility (at least I know this and married well). But that's not the lesson I am teaching my girls - that's my survival but not one I wish on my children because there's a harsh reality for those of us who didn't learn this and don't have the natural ability to deal with money. Good luck with her and no, there's nothing wrong with not paying for everything!!!!


I remember wanting to go to prom myself and sadly I didn't have a date. My dad helped me pick out my dress and paid for it. My prom however was on a boat because I am the class of 2000. When my daughter reaches that age (which is not actually for another 15 years), I will be telling her that we'll pay for her dress and here is the limit on what you can spend on a dress and maybe pay for the prom ticket if her date (if she has one) doesn't pay for it. It's not a must that her hair be done by a stylist. Something simple will do, and as for the corsage, the date is supposed to pay for that. Accessories for the dress should be paid for but don't let her go dramatic. Your the mom which means you are in charge and if she doesn't like the limit you set then she'll have to find a way to pay for what she wants herself. I saw that you asked her to write out a budget and she got annoyed. I think she may not understand that you're asking for prices on the things she wants. Ask her and be patient and understanding. She doesn't think you understand and get it that this is the most important event in a young woman's life, when we all know you do. Hope this helps and hang in there. Put yourself in her shoes and ask yourself what you would do in her situation.

Hi L.. Speaking from a daughter's point of view, I had the same similar situation (where my mom didn't want to pay for everything).I'm 25, so it really wasn't that long ago that I encountered this :-)
The first thing you did correclty was to tell her to write a budget. My mother did the same thing. The next thing you have to take into consideration is if she isn't working, you may have to ay for everything and in exchange, have her pay a portion back over the summer from a summer job or have her do some additional things around the house.If she is working, you and I both know that her part-time job checks probably won't cover everything that she wants, so you may have to help, but the best thing SHE can do is to find a few close friends that are willing to share the cost so it won't be so expensive. Have her pay for the things that she may be able to handle like her nails, hair, shoes, special bras (if needed for the type of dress she wants)and her ticket to the prom. Your daughter should be able to pay for some of those expenses...all together the above equals to be about $200! Then if at all possible, you could help with big item...the prom dress of course. She can find a nice dress from David's Bridal between $100 - $189. Some dresses are more of course, but she can still find a REALLY nice one. And the last piece, transportation. If you trust your daughter, let her use your vehilce. Now you know she's not going to want to show up to the Prom in a 2005 Focus or something similar. She's going to want to show up "in style", so let her borrow the "nice" vehicle for the evening (if you have two) and if you don't want to go that route, again, have her a few other friends share the cost of a limo. It's better paying a quarter of the cost versus 100% of the cost. Like I said, I've been there with my mom and in the end, it turned out to be a very nice prom...oh, also by the way, if you have a close knit family as I do, have your family pitch in. They'll be more than happy to help.
Trust me on this... A little short snipet....There are a number of years bewteen my sister and I, so by the time I was 6, I was already an aunt. Last year I helped my neice with her prom, we didn't spend more than $200 - outfit, shoes, hair & nails included (not pictures...thats another story - yur daughter will need to get the smallest package and make copies at Walmart). It can be done. Just don't be so adamant about not helping her. Remeber times have changed, things are expensive, but it's also a life long memory.

I would simply let her know what your budget is and not give her the control over the budget. You can only do what you can do. If she wants things beyond that, I'm sure that she can work to get some extra money to pay for it. It's a prom not a wedding!! And, even weddings can be a bit out of control. I have a 17 yr old and two proms. My son will be paying his own way beyond my contribution.

I agree with you. One of the most important things we can teach our kids to be independent people and succeed in the world, is the VALUE of money. If you just give it to her, she won't appreciate it or understand how hard someone has to work to earn a paycheck. I suggest having her "work" to earn half of her expenses and you will "match" her earned dollars. Whether that's getting a part time job outside the home, or extra home projects that you'll pay her for or babysitting, etc. And I think it's totally reasonable for you to expect her to do a budget to figure out how much prom night, one night of partying is going to cost. That's not to say that she shouldn't attend even though it's expensive. It might teach her to consider the price tags when looking at dresses. Good luck!

Hi L.,
My parents had 3 daughters and a son that all attended at least 1 prom a piece. They NEVER rented a limo. If a group of friends went in on one, they helped us chip in our portion, but NEVER a limo for just us. If your daughter has a date, the date should buy the corsaige. If she is going with a group of friends, its a nice gesture for Dad to buy it. For hair, we all had parlor parties at the house and had friends do it. For the dress, who paid varied, depending on the cost. My mom's max contribution was $50, unless you could convince her otherwise. if you live near Potomac Mills, there is a store, Group USA that has GREAT prices on dresses, shoes, and accessories. The dresses usually range between $80 - $100 (and they have them year round). Sometimes you can find good deals in the clearance area near the dressing rooms. My sister found a GORGEOUS dress marked down to $20! Another good place to look is David's Bridal. They mark down the bridesmaid dresses when the season turns. A friend found a beautiful dress there for $45. Also, they have a seamstress on site if needed.
For pictures, if she has her friends do a group pic, then they can split the cost.

Prom is important in a girls life. Buys dresses all year long - there are sales going on at many different times. (David's bridal has $99 dresses alot - not just white ones)The same as shoes - get a black strappy pair and she can wear them to other events not just prom. Borrow purses - a limo is not needed. You take her and pick her up - this way you keep on top of her schedule. Also, once she has gone to a couple of dances - maybe they will trade off on dresses with other girls. That is what my daughter does and always has done. Explain that you want to help with making her dream come true but she will have to go on a budget. Also, if you know a hair dresser - see what your daughter can do for a trade - like babysit, move her lawn or walk the dog. Put your daughter in charge of some of the details too and the responsibilities that go along with it.

Good Luck!
(44 year old, with two daughters, 9 years old and 18 years old - full time massage therapist)

you do what you want to do you're the mom and if she doesnt like it she doesnt have to go to the prom. tell her how much you are giving her for the event and let her decide how she wants to pay for it. too bad you didnt see this coming she could have gotten a weekend job and be saving up for it. she still can but it wot be as much. oh and you aren't her frieds mom.

My opinion is that I think you should pay for it. I know it can be expensive and with girls even more. I would just set a limit on how much you can do financially and anything beyond she would need to help. Such as I will by the dress, and hair at a reasonable shop. If you want nails done, eyebrows, limos and the works then you will have to do those yourself. Does she have a job ?
I dont think prom is something one should miss out on. Until they have a full time job and on there own they will need help with things. But thats just me, my kids always come first. I would hate for them to miss an oppertunity to experience something. Life can be taken away very quickly.

I have twin daughters going to Prom and Graduating this year...whew...yes it can be expensive! I also assist and coach young women ages 13-25 and those who have aged out of the foster system that still need assistance and guidance.

Both my girls work and when they first started talking about Prom (2 yrs ago) I told them to save their money because I wasn't going to pay for it. One borrowed a Fredericks of Hollywood elegant dress and one found a beautiful designer dress for $6. at a second hand store. Shoes at Rack room or payless for $30 each. Nails for $20 and Hair for $25, eyebrow wax for $7. So for less than $100 each they are ready for Prom. Their date's will pay for dinner and the shared limo.

They made their own Graduation annoucements on the computer and had their pictures taken at Walmart for a 1/3 of the price of the school photographers.

They both wanted dresses that no one else would be wearing so we've been looking for over a year, even when we traveled we checked second hand stores for vintage or different styles. This has been something that we've done together and having fun with it!

Yes, other girls they know depend on the parents for everything but they feel really good about taking care of themselves. They also witness and 'see' the attitudes of unthankfulness in some of their friends who expect things to be given them and show no value or pride towards the expensive items they recieve.

Not everyone's parents can afford to pay for Prom! I'm a single parent currently out of work. I would love to be able to pay for it all but it's ok that I'm not able! They are ok with it too!

When my adult children went to Prom, they too paid for it even though I could have done it for them. I started including/teaching my children at age 10 about money and finances. They participated in paying the household bills and decision making process of 'who' and 'when' things would be paid and how much would be saved and spent/invested in fun, vacations, clothing, extras, entertainment, etc. It taught them the value of earning, saving, investing and the tools to be able to manage on their own.

So you may want to sit your daughter down and show her what's what! and see how she will manage home expenses and choose where the extra funds(if any) will go!!

Funny story...years ago when I showed my son the utility bills he was shocked it cost so much for electric. When I explained why, lights being left on, TV's, etc. he very quickly started turning things off! Even was willing to eat sandwiches instead of using the stove to cook! LOL I gave him the difference he saved us on the monthly bills and in 3 months he was able to buy a skate board.

This teaching is not to be accomplished with "lack" thinking, it is all about making choices to invest not spend and being conscious of one's choices.

My parents paid for my dress and I paid for everything else. I think it's important for kids to learn the expense of things if they want things then they need to budget for them. The sooner they learn the principles of finances the better there life will be for it.
Don't feel guilty it's part of a parents role to help their children learn how to survive in life, not to give them free rides consistently.
My parents had rules and guidelines set up for everything so ahead of time we always knew what we could and couldn't expect, that it a good thing to do for all parents. My husband and I have already started setting up guidelines for our kids so they will have a clear understanding as they grow up.
For any child the most important thing is to be loved by their parents that is the most important thing we can give them and being there.
Good luck figuring out what to do.

Dear L.

Proms are special and no you do not have to pay for everything! She should have a date and he is responsible for the ride, flowers and dinner. This is a date right! She is responsible for her dress, shoes and hair. There are places she can get a dress at a very reasonable price. It is time for her to act like an adult, one that is about to graduate to a new life. She needs to understand responsibility [ money ] and that comes with age. The responsibility part!

I understand that you want her to pay for her way. But depending on your situation and hers she may not be able to. Only you know that. She may be able to do it all with a little help. Sit down with her and tell her that you can’t pay for it all and work together. Offer to help her but do not pay for any thing till after she has tried and you see that it is some thing you can do to make this work for her. This will help her to become more responsible as an adult and if you work together I know it can be special for you and her. If she will not work with you on this then tell her that she is on her own then to figure it out.

I have bought dresses for my daughter and others at http://www.shopshop.com they offer a new dress every day for $29.00 with free shipping. Your daughter should be able to do that. Just check the site every day. And click on Today’s Special.

Hair, well I can’t tell you what to do about the hair. Not knowing where you live. I live near a college and they have a solon that does hair cheep. She may be able to do her own hair. Or with your help or a friends help. Does she have a friend that is going? They could spend the day together getting ready? This makes the day even more special. Doing each others hair make-up… you know what I mean.

As for the Pictures well, that is not a hard one to call. Yes pictures are very expensive if bought from the people that take them at the prom. But if you take pictures at home in front of a curtain or out side by a lovely tree. With a nice Digital camera you can take it to Wal-mart and get nice 8 x 10’s cheep! She should also buy or take a camera to take her own pictures. This is not that expensive. Remember that Since the Date [Guy] is providing the Ride, Flowers and Dinner that she should make sure that the he gets copies of the pictures of them together. The portrait ones.

I hope that this helps you.

How about suggesting that she get her dress from a consignment shop? I did and so did my daughter. It just doesn't make sense to me to pay ALL that expense for something she will wear only once. And don't kid yourself, no matter what she says, she will not wear it again. We can not afford to let our pride get in the way. My husband and I could have afforded many things for our 3 kids but did not pay for them. Kids today do not know about sacrifice or the value of money because parents continue to give to them when they don't really earn it. And what about a little part time job. And if that's not an option, how about making her pick up a few chores in the home or with sibblings to EARN the right to ask you to HELP pay expenses.

I know a prom is a big thing for young ladies but we have to learn how to budget. When it was time for my prom my Mama told me she would match what I had saved up by a specific date. After babysiting for a while I saved over $200. So in total I had $400 and a family friend made the dress I designed.

As a parent with a teenager who has gone to homecoming and anticipates going to prom, I feel like there are several ways to handle the situation. First, your daughter should understand that this is an expensive event and that she should be able to contribute somehow. That might not necessarily be monetary. She can help you around the house, around the yard, with your other children (if you have them) and help with other things that you need help with so that she is "earning" what you are paying for. My daughter does that and that way she knows that things are not just handed to her with no effort whatsoever and I can feel like I'm not just indulging her. Plus, its great to have someone helping with the dishes, laundry, housecleaning, etc. Also, ask her to negotiate with you what the expenses will be. She needs a dress and her hair done and shoes. It doesn't have to be crazy expensive, but you also can't ask her to shop at the thrift store. The limo is not a necessity so if she wants to do that, she can find some kind of job (babysitting, paper route - whatever it takes if she really wants it). If there are more chores around that house that she can earn an allowance for (such as outside work that is usually done by your husband or the boys in the family) she can earn some extra "credits" with you to go toward additional items for prom. It is unfortunate that your parents didn't or couldn't do those things for you. If you are financially able to do this for her -- it is a memory that lasts a lifetime and it isn't something that I would want to take away from my daughter just to teach her something. I think you can be teaching her values while giving her what she desires. If she is your oldest, this can also be a lesson to the younger ones that they should start "earning" their "credits" as early as possible so they have alot to work with when prom comes up. If there isn't enough time for her to earn the "credits" before prom, make sure that she knows that she will be doing lots of helping out for several months to come after prom is over. My daughter does it that way and it works well. She is now able to take care of herself with cleaning, cooking, helping out with the kids, etc. and she got what she wanted without feeling entitled. She and I are both happy with the outcome and she feels she has actually learned something. Many of her friends just get stuff just to get it and she has realized that she is much better off in the long run.

Although my prom was nine years ago, this is what my parents did: they bought me a dress, shoes, hair and a purse.I don't rmember if they paid for me to get my nails done but I think they did. I used my own car as transportation to and from prom (my date was a little younger than me and did not have a car). My date paid for dinner and a corsage, as well as breakfeast after the after prom but that was it. I know have 2 daughters of my own and when they have thier owm prom I ma sure I will pay for the basicis, mentioned above. Other than that I would not do all the fancy stuff like the limo and etc

so, where did your daughter get all these unrealistic expectations of what your limited family budget can provide?
i find the word 'NO' to be a very useful one.
employ it often enough when they're young and you almost never have to use it when they're teenagers.
at this point, use it anyway and resign yourself to having an upset and annoyed teenager.
i assure you she'll survive it.


She may have a point depending on where you live. Too many parents pay for everything. It is very annoying and I do not know how this happened, because we all know that 90% of us paid our own way.

Dress-- can be shopped for very carefully...there are so many stores now that offer big time sales. Look in the JC Penny's, almost any junior department, David's bridal, look, look, look.....you will be able to get a dress for less than $30 if you try really hard.

Boutineer --can be bought at Safeway or any local grocery store. Better yet, buy the carnation, a pin from a craft store, a leaf, and some wire, make it, put it in a little bag from the craft store, and tell here you took care of it for her. She will never need to know you made it.

Hair- this may cost no matter who does it.....get her to babysit for it...really---my girls do. In no time they can earn $50. Put your foot down. Try to quickly find a frined of yours who may do it cheaper, and come to the house...serve pretty sodas with cherries or whatever to make it special. She can choose from some styles. Also- haircuttery is pretty inexpensive---but it doesn't always stay in the pins.

Pictures- if you can do it, then do it, but here is where the date and she can split one, and go and get them copied. Who cares?

LIMO--you got me here---what is with this?? I dread it myself. Find out how many people are going, and they should all be splitting this up. This might also be where you can say--Because I love you, I will pay 60% of what your share is, as long as it is reasonable, and you pay the 40% from babysitting. Unless you can swing for this for her.

DINNER---if she has a date--he can pay because it is a date. It is really O.K., unless one girl already announces that everyone should have to pay. Whatever, she needs to go with the flow--and eat a salad-they all do anyway. Really---it will not cost that much if she orders well.

Hope she has a great time--it is very very special!!! Take lots of pictures and enjoy the preparation with her. It can all be in the way it is presented. Tell her you are so excited too.


How about BOTH of you sitting down and figuring out a workable budget together. That's fair. Let her see what is affordable.

BUT --

I think you should pay for the dress, hair and flowers for sure. Everything that your daughter is wearing -- it's your daughter's big night. Be there for her. I think the pictures are a nice throw in for the memory of it all....or maybe this is one thing she can help pay for with you -- go 50/50 maybe. Let her own some part of this night with you like the photos. You must have pictures of her throughout her life right? This is a BIG deal for a girl. I'm sorry your parents didn't take care of you the way they should have -- that was their mistake -- don't make it yours.

I do think the limo though is negotiable based on what you can afford. Limo to me is a bit much. Make a compromise...Does someone on the block you live on have a great car that you might borrow and drop them off yourself? Then leave like a limo would? OR rent a nice car for the night and drop them off? Find good options that will work for you both.

You don't have to over indulge your daughter either. My prom dress was a beautiful dress that had a train to it and because of that was on sale for $12. My Mom was a seamstress and said she could take the train off and it would be just fine. So that's what we did. Everyone loved my dress. By the way I became Prom Queen in that dress. And I looked the same as everyone else. Ok, you won't be able to find a $12 dress. But there are good dresses that won't break the bank out there. I still have the pictures to proove it.

Please create a wonderful memory for your daughter. Start a new good tradition for your daughter to continue one day with her own daughter. Take care.

Just have to say, I'm with Patricia on this one!
I'm one of four kids, we each saved up to pay our way for more than just prom - senior trips, contacts (my folks paid for the glasses), trendy clothes, movies, etc with friends.

Oh, and I wouldn't rest on the old sex stereotype that the date/guy is responsible for the limo and dinner. That kid's parents are in the same bind! Every kid should pay their own share, they are kids after all. When did prom start being a mini-wedding in the production values, anyways?

If you're daughter isn't willing to work for the money or through chores/whatever, then she obviously doesn't want it badly enough.

Stand firm on this one - if she hasn't learned the value of money and that it doesn't grow on trees yet, prom is one of your last opportunities to teach her before she's heading out to the rest of the world.

(Keep in mind that how you approach this and what she 'wants' and her expectations are also going to come into play years from now when she is planning her wedding.)

Good luck!

Stick to your guns. This is real life, and in truth, I'm sure that some of "all her friends" are facing the same thing and not complaining loudly enough for her to hear.

Hi L.,

You are exactly right about what you expect from your daughter.

She will have to accept what you are able to provide. She will just have to be upset. It is only for one night and all that expense can be saved for when she either goes to college or get married.

Prom night is the most dangerous night of all in the school calendar.

You are the parent and she is the child. You are doing the right thing, don't let her play the victim with you.

Hope this helps. Good luck. D.

My sister and I are 12.5 years apart. When I went to prom I borrowed my cousins dress, I bought my own shoes, I bought my own tickets, my friends mother got us a limo & I think my mom paid to get my hair done. Now my sister is a whole new story. She has gone to every dance that her school has had, including both Senior and Junior Prom last year (with expensive, brand new dresses for each and new shoes and accesories to go with each) They took a huge limo to the Senior prom, which they will be doing again this year. My cousins are hair dressers and do make up & they come over and pamper her (which my mother does pay for), I have gone to the pre-prom pictures and I have to tell you all of the girls have these things and are getting their hair done, tanning, make up even professionally done for a lot of them, & this is at Eastern Tech in Essex. Do what you and your family feel is right and can afford. I think they do go a bit over board, but it is what it is. My daughter is 13, so I know I have it coming. I think a budget is resonable and a wonderful idea. Good Luck

Stick with your original decision to not pay!!! This is the best time for your daughter to learn a little money management and that it doesn't just grow on trees and you can whip it out at any time. She may be upset now, but in the long run she will thank you for it.

Not sure how many kids you had in the house growing up, but I was the oldest of 6.
By the time prom came around I had a job and paid most of my expenses myself, which unless your family has a specific situation that prevents her working, her butt should be working so she can enjoy those sorts of things.
My parents paid for my Ticket to prom. That's it. There was no limo nonsense and I got my dress from the mall for about 100 bucks. I did my own hair or my sister helped, a boutineer is about 5 bucks (which the ticket and bountineer combo might be what you can offer and afford...guessing the tickets aren't more then 30-50 bucks a couple) and as far as pictures...is the guy shes going with her Boyfried? how long have they been dating and do you see them making it beyond this grade year? If so...then maybe offer to pay half on pictures (but specifiy a price limit) and if he seems like a flake or last-choice guy, just say no...chances are she'll hate the pictures in a few years and wish there was no proof she'd gone with so-and-so ANYwhere!

Don't feel bad. If everyone's parents jumped off a bridge to spoil their kids silly...would you?

My parents paid for my dress and as for everything else the guy paid for and actually when we checked into a limo the price was so out there that we all ended up taking our own cars. That was in 1984 and 1985 and gas prices were only 90some cents then so at $3.25+ a gallon I can't imagine how much a limo might cost. Maybe they can go together with several other couples and pay for it that way. I know the guys all paid for dinner and flowers and I am pretty sure their mom and dad paid for that.
Try going to a higher end consignment store to look for dresses. I have actually seen prom dresses and even wedding dresses in the Goodwill store here. As for Pictures if you have a camera that's good enough I don't know but I remember the guy paying for everything else. Hope this helps!!!!

I guess it's time for a job? This way she gets what she wants - Or does she want it bad enough? If prom is to close to make that happen, maybe she would be able to line up a job before prom, you guys front her the money and she pays you back with money from her job? Prom for my daughter was $600. She worked two months, part-time prior to prom to pay for it. She was happy and got exactly what she wanted.

When I went to Prom in 2001 I didn't have any help. I had a part time job, and I paid for everything. My parents couldn't afford it, but it was important for me to go, so I took care of it. I got a beautiful $400 dress at a second hand store for $60. I had a friend do my hair and makeup, my boyfriend bought the flowers, (I did get him a boutonniere) and we rode to the dance in his 87 Pontiac. We split the cost of pictures of the two of us, and didn't splurge on any group pictures with our friends. From head to toe I spent just over $100, and I guarantee I had just as much fun as anyone else there.

I hate to sound like my parents, but "If ALL the parents were buying their kids mercedes, would you?" A family has to consider what is best for the whole. Is this one night of opulence going to take away from your necessities or even family vacation, or something that is good for the family as a whole. I think todays youth is pampered what too much. My sister just drove for her son's ring dance. And I mean DROVE! She went 45 minutes away to pick up the girl then 50 minutes to the resturant where EVERYBODY was eating, then 45 minutes to the actual dance where she sat and napped in her car so she wouldn't have to drive home and back and THEN she drove another 25 minutes to the "after party" and luckily the girl was going home with a friend and her son was spending the night at the family's home hosting the party, or she would have had to haul the girl BACK HOME. When I heard this I thought "where is her head?" So I say, help your daughter with what you can and let her foot some of the bill. Does she have a way to earn some money (babysitting, etc). You could even front the money and have her pay you back. But set a timeline so it isn't drug out too long. The longer it goes the more she will "need" the money for someting else. Best of luck!

I agree with you. Is her date paying for anything? That would be a must, it's not a wedding where the bride's parents are supposed to pay for everything(which I think is wrong anyway). Also, why does she need a limo? I would say if she wants a limo, she should pay for it or the guy should pay for it. As far as the rest, tell her you'll help out, but she should put some of her own money towards it too. Stand your ground.

I have the same situation with three teens who will graduate a year apart 15th, and twins of 14th.
My husband and I try to spend the same money for each of them. If can afford to pay for the prom expenses we will.

I can only imagine the costs of things now. I will say that dress and pictures are a must, but if she wants special hair and a special car ride, that should come from the child...especially if they have a job. I am no where close to the time to think about the - my children are small, but when I think back, my parents did the essentials, everything else was up to me and I am sure my husband and I will do the same thing with our children.
Good Luck! I know it is a touchy subject especially with all the peer pressures and "keeping up with the jones'"

I believe that it is typical for the parents to cover the costs (not just the girl's but the boy's as well). They are kids so unless they do have a part time job, how could they afford it. In my family, my "parents" (actually my aunt and uncle) paid for my dress and hair. I was working and paid for the flowers and anything else that was "extra". In my son's case (he's a junior but is only 16 and is just about to be able to drive unsupervised), he has wanted a job for several years but we couldn't miss time at work to get him to and from anywhere that would have hired hiim before he could drive on his own. It isn't his fault that he couldn't get a job and his main concern should be school at this point.

Now if you are not able to afford it, that is a different story and your daughter should be old enough to understand that. If you are willing and able to, maybe you could help her find a reasonably priced dress (on sale or secondhand). Give her a limit of how much you can spend and whatever it covers, it covers.

Hi L.,
I understand. We bought my daughter's dress at a thrift store/consignment shop - it was like new. I, actually, saw two other girls who had done the same thing. My daughter did her own hair, and the only flowers were either a corsage for her (if she attended without a "date"), or one for her date. We bought the corsage/boutonniere at the local grocery store for a lot less than the florist. They took their picture with their own camera, and it actually came out better than the photographer's, and we used the same pose. About the limo, I told my daughter that we were saving the limo for her wedding.
It helps if you're fortunate to have other friends that are not being so extravagant for a prom.
Pray daily about it, God has a way of blessing things to work out.

First of all L., you are the parent. So what if she got annoyed, she is the one wanting to go to prom. As for paying for everything, if she is going with a young man then he / his parents need to pay for the limo and her flowers. As for her dress - there are plenty of places to get a gown from that is inexpensive. Do your research online for inexpensive prom dresses. Hair, do you know to put her hair in a bun or a style that is elegant. When I was a teenager I found some friend of mine that hook my hair up if I could not do it myself. We have not even gotten to the nails, there are plenty of little kits that she can use just for one night and look beautiful.

Best of luck to you. I hope things work out. Shucks, she can work some of that money off around the house if you feel you are just giving the money to her. Explain to her that you are not trying to keep up with the Jones' and your dad's name is not Donald Trump.

My daughter is a freshman in HS. We've already discussed her senoir prom! She is earning most of her money thru babysitting and summer jobs. I've established that it is a privelege, not a right to go to prom. We expect that her date will pay for the flowers. And, a limo is a bit pretentious for HS kids. If "all" her friends parents let them drink beer, would that be ok with you? Let her know what you can afford, help her figure out where the rest can be earned. Good Luck!

Meet her halfway... Send her to a consignment shop...Nobody NEEDS a Limo. I never had one until I got married. I would hope that her friends parents point out that not ALL of that stuff is necessary. Some of it is nice, but it's unrealistic and hopefully her friends will come up with comments about how their parents won't pay for all of those things either. There's also nothing wrong with talking to some of her friends' parents to see what they are really doing.

Good Luck!!
R. M

How about spliting it some way. You pay part and she pays part with conditions. Grades, curfews, chores etc need to meet your expectations. If she wants to go bad enough she will find away or learn a lesson.

I did help my daughter buy her dress! I fixed her hair. Her boyfriend bought her flowers. It was only a few dollars to make his boutineer. Easy peasy! I did not pay for a limo. She did her own nails. We are against tanning-not safe!!! She had a great time and was very comfortable the whole night. There are a lot of parents who go overboard! We are now planning a Wedding for our oldest. I will help her buy a wedding dress. Pictures and anything that stays around after the prom would be what I would spend my money on!

well if she has a job.. maybe you all could agree to match whatever she can save... that way she is still responsible and will work hard to save. I would also explain the situation... we just don't really have the money... she would just have to deal with that. Good luck

ok so there are soo many girls whos parents pay for everything which i envy (im going to my senior prom next month) but its totally not helping them. my mom gave me a limit: she'd pay $100 for prom. anything over that $100 we had to pay for. it taught us how to budget our money and not to splurge on unnecessary things (paying $500 for dress your only going to wear once is pretty rediculous.) her date should buy her flowers and help pay for the limo...to make it easier money wise maybe her and some friends could share a limo. you can take your own pictures of them and/or give her enough money to buy a pic from there to. prom is special and she should remember that way but that doesnt mean you have to break the bank. just some thoughts hope everything goes well

Keep up the good work! You're raising a self-sufficient, money-concious child that will appreciate what she has. It's not easy and she will fight you. My parents did the same to me, and I will do the same with my 3 when they are that age. Just because everyone has or does something, doesn't mean they get to, too. As long as she is working, she should save the money for this. If she is not working, you may want to give her a reasonable (frugal) budget that she can work within - and nothing extra. The only thing necessary for prom is a dress. If she has all of this for prom, then what will make her wedding special?

I think that you should pay for it b/c that is nothing that she can relive. You should be proud of her. In the beggining you should have made her get a job to help out but now of course it's to late. I know for me I will help and maybe pay for everything when that times comes for my son's it's called plan ahead. I know your daughter will be so hurt if you don't, I know i have a attitude just by you stating you don't won't to make it a family tradition.

I had a perfectly wonderful prom without it being expensive. If you shop at the right time and place, you can get sales. You can get a perfectly nice prom dress for $30 or $40. It may not be exactly what she wants when her friends have $200 dresses, but I would tell her that it's a dress, and if she doesn't want one that you are willing to buy, then she can buy her own. Same with limo. I didn't have a limo- so what. It's a nice dream most girls have, but most kids don't get limos either.

Plain and simple, flowers are the guys responsibility, so you don't have to worry about that. Hair- well, it's easy enough to tell her no. Once again, it'd be a nice luxury, but certainly not necessary. What happened to having your mom help you do your hair, rushing around in the bathroom last minute before the boy arrives? LOL

I would just tell her plain and simple that you can't afford all of what she wants. I'd give her a set amount for a budget, and if she wants more that that, she will have to get it herself. I personally got stuck doing chores to get the money to pay for my prom pictures. And my date paid for his half of the pictures, so I only had to come up with 1/2 the money.

Hi L.,
The woman who said that it's typical for the girls' parents to pay for both the girl & her date must be from another country. Either that, or she is mixing up prom with a wedding because neither I nor any of the friends that I asked has ever heard of such a thing.

I held a steady baby-sitting job from the time I was 13 until I was old enough to go work for a pizza place so I was always responsible for any expenses above & beyond normal things like school clothes, food, etc. I bought my own dress and paid for my hair, my date rented his tux & bought the flowers and we split the cost of both the tickets & the pictures. My date's parents let him borrow their fancy car for us to ride in. All in all I probably spent around $200 and this was 13 years ago. Now, I don't know how much tickets would cost these days, but I do know you can find beautiful dresses at the mall for $40 & up, and just getting your hair styled should never cost more than $20-$30. If you're willing to give your daughter a set amount of money to work with, the least she can do is come up with a budget. If she's not even willing to do that, then I guess she doesn't want to go very badly, does she?

I havent had to do this yet but i know what my mom did for my neice. I can see paying for a dress,hair and to have pictures. MY NEICE EVEN SPLIT THE COST OF THE PICTURES WITH HER DATE. They dont have to have a limo cars work just as good and are cheaper. I thought the boy was supposed to buy the flower for her. Thats how i always knew it to be he buys her a corsage. I would definently set a price limit for everything and if she wants more then she can make up the difference. My mom did that with all of us and still does it now that my neice is getting married. I hope all this helps you and good luck

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