Ball season is a great time, but it’s just one night of your life – it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Here are a few tips on how to save money when it comes to your school ball. It can be a good idea to set a budget and save towards that. If you save money on say your dress, maybe you can splurge on getting your makeup done by a professional!



Even if you want to treat yourself to a new dress, there are plenty your friends can help you with. Shoes, jewellery, clutches. Ask around! Someone’s bound to have something to suit your outfit. Though when it comes to dresses, it’s likely someone you know has a bridesmaid dress sitting in their closet that they’re never going to wear again. If you’re going to multiple balls, think of borrowing a friend’s dress for one, and maybe lending yours out, too.



Get together with your friends and do each others’ hair and makeup. There are tonnes of great YouTube tutorials and you can always have a little sleepover a few weeks before and get some practice in. You might know someone else that’s got the skills. Maybe ask an older sibling’s mate, or a family friend. If you do want a professional makeup artist, if there’s a group of you, often you’ll find someone that’ll come to your house and it’ll be cheaper per person.


Shop online

This tip comes with a warning – make sure you buy from reputable sellers. Buying a dress online can save you a lot of money, but I’ve heard a bunch of horror stories too. Friends have had their dress arrive only to find it looks nothing like the picture, is a different colour or cheaper fabric. Light in the Box is good, and you can pay a little extra to have it made to your measurements. Another thing – make sure you read the sizing guides carefully. I had a friend get a dress way too big. I think we measured in centimetres, but the sizing guide was in inches!


Shop second hand

If you’re not so keen on shopping online and want to be able to try before you buy, op-shopping is a great option. SaveMart is a good place to start as they have a bigger range typically, but your cute little local might have some hidden gems to. Think about ways you can jazz up a simple dress with beading or a belt.


Shop the Sales

If you plan in advance, you might be able to get end-of-line dresses from the season before yours. Places like Forever New often have sample dresses or last sizes going cheap. Try going to an outlet mall like Dres-Smart, where you’re more likely to find the better deals. Go shopping with friends and ask for a discount if you’re buying multiple dresses.



It’s great having a stunning dress for your ball, but it’s extra great if you can wear it again. Choose a style that you can dress up for the ball, and dress down with tights and a denim jacket. Or if you go for a full length gown, think about whether you can get it hemmed shorter after the ball.



I saved a lot of money on my dresses by sewing them myself – but I’m not sure it was worth it for all the stress! You might not know how to wrangle a sewing machine, but maybe your mum or an auntie or neighbour can. You can download free patterns online or purchase one at your local sewing or fabric store. You can often pick up fabric quite cheaply from emporiums – I got silk for $7/m (that’s a really good price!).