Frugal Debutante

Instilling the value of saving money, and being frugal into your children is a long and arduous journey, but over the last few months we have had a bit of a breakthrough with our youngest daughter Megan.

Megan is at a stage in her life that she wants to fit in with her friends. She is in her mid teens, and the peer group pressures she receives from her circle of friends must be constant, and she (and all other teens) is bombarded with information from the media relentlessly. The images that modern advertising portrays to entice these young teenagers to have this season’s “look” is never ending. You only have to look at any of the popular teen or womens magazines to understand what I am talking about. Brad & Angelina/Jen/Vince, Becks & Posh, Brittany, Lindsay, JLo, Paris, Nichole, new make-up, latest fashion, latest diet fad, ad nauseam….. WHO CARES? Not I. But, unfortunately, young women, and probably young men are influenced by these magazines, and are therefore driven to excessive consumerism to keep up appearances. This is a vicious circle that must be broken in our children’s young minds.

So, back to the Debutante ball that Megan desperately wanted to go to. We said she could go on the proviso that she saved as much money as she could, and that she asked her mother, Anne, for some of the cash for her ticket (we are divorced). Kim would help her find the outfit within her budget range.

Kim found this wonderful recycled clothing shop in Ballarat called C.K’s Bridal Recycle, that had second hand wedding, and debutante dresses for sale. The great thing about this shop was that we could buy the dress and gloves cheaper than we could rent a dress for. Kim then found the perfect shoes on Ebay, and won the auction. Megan borrowed some diamante hair clips from Kim, and Adam’s girlfriend Stacey, had a friend Rachel, who does hair and make-up, did her hairdo for free. The cost breakdown was as follows:

  • Dress & Gloves – $220
  • Shoes – $16
  • Hair & Makeup – Free
To rent it would have cost about $400+ for the entire ensemble. Megan had to save up for her ticket for the ball which cost $220 ($170 paid by her mother), which included the dancing lessons, her meal, DVD of the event, a photograph, and a wrist corsage. Pretty good value, when you think that a three course meal for one person would probably cost about $60 at these sort of venues, and that a DVD would be about $20 to produce. She had about 8 hours of dance lessons which normally cost about $150 at a dance studio. The corsage ranges from $11 to $25. So that is $255 of value. Not a bad package from the school, me thinks. Megan also paid $70 to catch a limo to the event with friends.

Megan now has an outfit to get married in if she so desires (hope she waits a few more years yet) or to resell on Ebay and recoup some of the money she paid. She looked absolutely beautiful on the day as you can see from the photographs. And I believe she learned a valuable lesson, and that was that you don’t have to pay a million dollars for these types of events, and you enjoy it more if you save and pay for it yourself. I feel sorry for the parents who had to fork out full price for their sons and daughters and from what Megan was telling me, over $1000 for some poor suckers!

Now, the sad ending to this story is that I couldn’t attend this event, because of my back injury! I was sore as hell and would not have lasted the entire evening. I felt so sad that I couldn’t go and share this with Megan, so as a consolation prize, her mother and partner attended the evening event. Adam, Stacey, and Amy also went along, and Adam danced with Megan to fill in for the Fathers Dance. From all reports, everyone enjoyed it. Tear…….

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