Ball on a Budget

In High School, the ball is the one event that almost every senior looks forward to. However, this special night sure comes with one big bill; on average, ball spending is around $1,500 per household. Ball is definitely a quintessential high school experience, but lets face it- is it worth all the stress? Here are some tips that will make May 9th a night to remember:

  • Plan everything in advance
    If you wait until the last minute, you’re more likely to buy something too expensive due to desperation and stress. Stores also tend to bulk up prices during ball season, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find some sweet deals, just don’t leave your shopping to the last minute. Plan out everything you need with a goal of having everything prepared at least 2 weeks prior to ball.
  • Shop smarter
    Smart shopping can go a long way:  if you do find something you like, check at least 5 different stores before making your final decision. Oftentimes, you’ll find a website selling the same thing for less. Shop sale racks or look through last season collections on designer styles. Also check various websites for transport options and call them up to see the best price they’ll offer: they need you as much as you need them.  You can also receive a helpful discount if you buy in bulk: go with your friends to buy suits and the retailer may be open to giving you a bulk discount.
  • Borrow or Rent
    If you know someone who’s attended a ball before, you might find luck borrowing items from them. You can possibly get your own dress or suit for free! Even if you insist on a new dress, you can potentially still save on accessories such as ties, clutches, shoes etc. It’s an easier alternative that saves you the commitment of buying an item that can only be worn once. Renting a dress or a tux is another alternative. Check out the Facebook page Walk in Wardrobe– people are always happy to rent out what they wore and you won’t have to pay ridiculous shipping prices.
  • Shop second-hand
    Buying your dress or tux brand new is something I understand, but a lot of your overall expenditure is gained through over-priced accessories and utilities. Shopping second-hand can lead to finding amazing and unique accessories, such as ties or bags. Gather your friends and have a great time thrift-shopping, or better yet, just try to use something you already own. Don’t buy a pair of shoes if you’ll never wear them again.
  • Go classic
    Ball is a night of elegance, so you don’t have to go for something over-the-top. Keep your preferences simple to look good and this can also allow you to utilize accessories you already have. You might not wear that mermaid dress again but your accessories can become a part of your closet essentials. Try go for neutral colours regarding your accessories; it’ll add that spark of elegance and simplicity while also complimenting your wardrobe.  After all, will people really be paying attention to your shoes?
  • Skip the Salon
    You can also try to find an entry-level makeup/hair-artist. This will save you a ton; they won’t charge you over $80 and they still have enough experience to actually do a good job. Plus it saves you the tension of doing it yourself. If you still want to get it done by a professional then you can visit makeup counters in department stores, such as Farmers. They’ll be willing to do it for free, just make sure you’ve confirmed the correct date and time.
    You can definitely do nails yourself- having professional coloured nails that you’ll have to remove in a week’s time is a waste of money.
    Make ball night even more special by inviting your friends or asking someone you know for help. Keeping your hair and makeup simple will give you a less tired look and you’ll also avoid the over-caked look in photos. You can find many tutorials on Pinterest, Youtube and most fashion/beauty blogs. Practice makes perfect so begin to try out new makeup and hair routines now and by the time the ball rolls around, you’ll be experienced enough to do it yourself.
  • Have a joint pre-ball
    Pre-balls are very popular in New Zealand, but the stress of getting ready while also hosting a pre-ball can be overwhelming. Have a joint pre-ball with a friend, that way you’ll be sharing the tension and will also get to invite a few more people.
  • Photography
    A lot of those professional photos can look horrible, and sometimes they even charge you for the photos. Instead, ask one of your artistic friends or relatives to take some pre-ball photos or even recruit a photography student from University. If you own an iPhone or a phone with equal camera quality, then there’s virtually no reason to hire a professional camera as most smartphones come with excellent cameras!

    The Ball is definitely a highlight of all your years at school but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Saving money doesn’t need to squash the fun; with discretion as to how you spend, you can make the most of this special occasion and have a night of inevitable fun and memories with your friends.

    Written by: Ananya Grover, Edited by: Annaliese Wheeler

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