Lehigh Valley

Expect to break out big bucks this prom season

Prom season is here

ALLENTOWN - $1100.  No, it's not your mortgage payment.  Believe it or not, that's how much the average teenager will spend on prom this year.  But there are easy ways to curb the cost.

Hundreds packed into Bethlehem's ArtsQuest Center for Sunday's "My Super Sweet Event" Expo.  It was a prom princess' dream, but paying for prom can be a parent's nightmare.

"The budget has gone from about $150 to $400," said Nancy Sykes of Bethlehem, whose daughter will be attending prom in two weeks.

A new survey by Visa says the average teen will spend $1,139 this year.  That's five percent higher than 2012.

"It seems like it adds up quite a bit," said parent Carol Rivera.

Prom tickets alone can cost up to 150 bucks now.  Then there are the dresses and tuxes, shoes, a limo, dinner, flowers, hair, makeup, and jewelry.

It doesn't have to be that way, though.  There are some simple ways you can save big money on prom.

Consider getting your dress online, at a designer consignment shop, or from an outlet.

"We do buy liquidates stuff, like, we buy other inventories, and we do sell it for a reduced price," said Ebbie Surita of Sue Ames Bridal Outlet in Allentown.  "Everything in the store is from 20 to 50 percent off."

Instead of going to a salon, get your makeup done at a department store or through a home service like Mary Kay.

Take your own prom photos; skip the professional.

And believe it or not, sometimes you can even barter with smaller companies like Balloon Works.

"I suggest to [customers], 'Well, how about if I come in and I do elaborate decor for you, and in exchange for that, if you own a lawn care business or you're a plumber, and I need that kind of work for my home or my business, we can barter that?'", said owner Karen Ford.

Of course, you could always follow Nancy Stykes' lead.

"My mother made my dress and I did my own hair," she said.

It's prom, D.I.Y. style.


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