Skip to content

How to Budget and Save for Homecoming Costs

How to Budget and Save for Homecoming Costs

From beauty costs to your dress and dinner, here’s how to make it all work!

You don’t necessarily have to have a dream paycheck to live your homecoming dream! Your after-school job earnings, summer work money, or any dance budget your family gives you will do the trick. Just follow PromGirl’s tips to save and pay for all of those homecoming costs.

How to Save for Homecoming Costs

Make a Homecoming Budget: Before you can start saving for all-things-homecoming, you have to know how much money you’ll need to save. So, as soon as you can, you’ll want to start budgeting for homecoming. To make a budget, write down all of the potential costs—tickets, wardrobe, beauty, and so on—along with some guesses on the price points. If you’ve been before, you can use last year’s homecoming costs as a starting point. If this will be your first dance, you can check PromGirl’s Homecoming Guide for an idea of what you might spend money on and about how much for each item. The total of all the things you might buy is basically the “price of homecoming” for you! That price will give you an idea of how much money you’ll need to earn and save before homecoming.

Start Saving ASAP: The key is to start saving months ahead of the dance. If you work part-time, calculate how much of each paycheck you’d need to set aside to reach your goal by homecoming. Then do it! Put the money in a special savings account or stash cash somewhere safe in your room so you’re not tempted to touch it. You can do the same thing with your allowance if you get one.

Work this Summer: Because homecoming happens early in the school year, summer is a great time to get your budget together and start saving. Brainstorm ways you can make some extra money with your extra time during the summer months. Here are a few of our favorite summertime ideas to get you started: babysit, pet sit, find a seasonal job, sell old clothes to a consignment store or app (like Poshmark), help your family host a garage sale, tutor, help with odd jobs for neighbors or family members.

Get Thrifty with the Dress and Accessories: Your wardrobe is likely going to be the most expensive part of your homecoming budget, but you can still look red carpet-ready without a celebrity-sized spending limit. Here are a few ways to save on your homecoming style:

  • Host a dress and style swap with friends: Skip the homecoming dress cost entirely by borrowing a friend’s dress! Invite people from your class, other schools, and other grades to trade dresses, shoes, and accessories. You can make it a fun party by setting up racks for the clothes, playing music, and having treats and beverages available like a high-end store. The items may not be brand new, but they’ll be new to you, and everyone goes home with something they love.

  • Shop the sales: You don’t have to start your dress shopping in the full-price section. Instead, start by looking at the sale section (start with ours right here on PromGirl!). This way, there’s a good chance you’ll fall in love with a style at or below your homecoming dress budget.

  • Choose re-wearable shoes and accessories: That wild print may be calling your name, but if you choose something more neutral for your homecoming shoes, clutch, or jewelry, you may be able to wear it again to another dance.

  • Sign up for deals and discounts: Sign up for emails from your favorite stores (like PromGirl!) and follow along on social media. You’ll be the first to know about any special promo codes or sales.

  • Splitting up the costs: What if you find the perfect dress, but haven’t finished saving for homecoming quite yet? Consider breaking down the cost into smaller payments with options like Afterpay. Using Afterpay, you can split your spending at hundreds of your favorite stores (yep, like Promgirl!) into four interest-free installments. That way, you can snag the dress before it sells out and lessen the pain of upfront payment.

Get Thrifty with Makeup and Hair:
The beauty budget can rack up quickly. However, with a little creativity or DIY magic, you can feel 100% beautiful at a fraction of the potential price. Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Host a pre-homecoming spa day: Invite your friends over and everyone can help out with each other’s face masks, nails, hair, and makeup. You can even ask a friend or sibling who isn’t attending the dance to play the part of hair stylist or makeup artist if they have the skills!

  • Hit up a makeup counter: Beauty stores like Sephora and makeup counters at department stores will typically do your makeup for free. Of course, they’re hoping you’ll buy a product. But spending $20 on a foundation you’ll use again and again is more economical than spending the same just to have your makeup done once at a salon.

  • Go to a beauty school: No, we’re not expecting you to learn all the tricks of the trade, but if you can find a local cosmetology school, chances are you can get a homecoming-worthy updo or makeover at a deep discount. The students get to practice their craft, and you get a great deal. Win-win!


Now that you know how to pay for homecoming, are you ready to make your money work for you this season? Be prepared for homecoming costs by starting your budget and saving now. Then you can enjoy your special day to the fullest!

Your cart is empty