Our oldest, Cierra is entering her senior year of high school this year and I have began thinking of ways to stretch our budget with all the extra expenses. If you have a child preparing to attend his or her senior year of high school, your head may be spinning with dollar signs. As if the stress of paying for the upcoming college career isn’t enough, you have all sorts of senior year expenses including senior pictures, graduation announcements, a cap and gown, and so much more. You want to make this final year of high school a memorable time of course for your child, so skipping out on these items may not be an option. So what should a parent do who still wants to give their child the ultimate senior year experience while still staying within budget? No worries! Take a look below at some simple tips that can help you find senior year savings worth getting excited about.
You will find that you don’t have to scrimp and skim on the senior year experiences you want your child to have. You just have to get a little creative.
1. Book a local photographer.
Senior portraits can cost up into the hundreds of dollars if you are not careful. To avoid spending big bucks on senior pictures, look for some smaller, local photographer options. You may even be able to find a local photographer willing to give a discount if you refer other students to them. For basic headshots that are still colorful and full of quality, you can also try the photo studios at Walmart and Target who offer packages for as low as $9.99. Check your Sunday paper or even the websites for these retailers for coupons.
2. Look at local retailers for discounted spirit wear.
Your child’s school may offer spirit wear for order, but it can come at a steep price. When schools offer spirit wear, they typically end up paying a high overhead and need to pass this overhead onto you. Instead, check out local grocery chains and other retailers who may offer spirit wear for less. You can end up paying around $12.99 for a t-shirt as opposed to $25. Now that is a significant savings! We have been shopping Remke Bigg’s wide selection of Oak Hills Spirit wear. If you are here in Cincinnati, Remke is the go to for inexpensive Spirit Wear.
3. Shop ahead for a homecoming dress or consider second hand.
Don’t spend $200 or more on a homecoming dress and accessories. Instead, try scouring summer clearance items now and find dresses, shoes, and other accessories for up to 75% off. Or, consider browsing your local consignment shop for gently used dresses and accessories. Many of these items have been only used once and are still in great shape and very stylish. Plus, you can snag items for more than half off retail. We purchased Cierra’s graduation dress with a retail of $109 for just $20 last week. Watch the sales right now.
4. Be a savvy prom shopper.
Everyone knows how pricey the cost of prom can be. When thinking about dresses, consider buying summer clearance items now. You can also consider consignment and thrift shops for like new, gently used dresses and accessories. Consider some online sites such as eBay where a recent search for formal wear showed a $125 David’s Bridal formal dress that was only worn once for just $20!
If you are in the market for a tux, try this savvy suggestion. I once knew a tuxedo shop who allowed one of the local seniors to wear one of their tuxedos to school for a day. The student then passed out fliers for the tux shop that also included a money saving coupon on it. In exchange for being their walking billboard, the tux shop rented the tux to that senior for free! See if your local tux shop will take advantage of free advertising such as this. It’s worth a try!
To save money on dining (don’t worry, I won’t suggest using coupons as we all know a high school student won’t want to whip those out!) consider grabbing some of the great gift card deals. I quite often list discounted deals on gift cards.
Last but not least, to save on flowers such as the prom corsage or boutonniere, order from a local grocer who has a floral department instead of a florist. A grocery floral department can typically get their stock cheaper and the savings gets passed on to you. A recent price comparison showed a single rose boutonniere at a local grocer was $6.99, while the same product at a local florist was $12.99. Your grocer florist will still customize your floral pieces as much as you desire, so just give them a call and see what they can do.
5. Shop around for class rings.
You don’t need to purchase class rings from the school or the company that the school suggests. You are free to shop around and see who offers the best prices. Walmart offers custom class rings in a variety of styles at a fraction of the cost of some of the bigger suppliers. Dunham also offers class rings starting at just $55 as well. Visit www.walmart.com and www.dunham-mfg.com to learn more.
6. Shop for graduation announcements at VistaPrint.
VistaPrint is not only popular for the all of the custom paper products you can buy, but because they are always offering discount coupon codes. Order your announcements as soon as possible so you can choose the cheapest shipping option which can take up to a few weeks.
7. Snag a frugal cap and gown.
You would be surprised how many thrift stores and second hand stores carry caps and gowns. If your student is wearing a common color gown such as black, don’t spend big bucks ordering one from the school. Shop around and see if you can find one secondhand. You may even be able to find an inexpensive one on eBay or Craigslist being offered. Again, this is an item people wear once and never wear again, so you are sure to find one that is in great shape and perfectly good.
As you can see, you don’t have to go broke getting through senior year. All you need to do is follow some of these simple tips and you will find how easy it is to keep some cash in your pocket while still showing your child the ultimate senior year experience!
Give these tips a try and get senior year started off right! Good luck!