Saving Money on Graduation
Senior year is extremely expensive. Here are just a few of the ways we saved money during my daughter’s senior year. Hopefully, these tips will help you save money as well.
My husband and I led a youth group for several years. The amounts the kids who were seniors paid for their pictures had my jaw dropping. Some paid almost $1000 for a portrait package. I knew we needed to keep it a lot less expensive than that, but I also wanted some beautiful photographs to commemorate the occasion. Since I’m an avid couponer, as many of my blog fans know, I began to keep an eye out for a good deal. It didn’t take long before Groupon came out with an excellent coupon for a local photography studio whose pictures I like. It was a senior portrait package. The package was only $55. That package included:
- Photo session (both indoor and outdoor)
- Up to five outfit changes
- CD with all the pictures from the photo shoot for our personal use
- 8 x 10 print
- 5 other sheets of our choice (fine to mix and match pictures)
I actually did buy a few extra wallet sheets for my daughter to give to her friends and wound up paying about $90 for the entire package. For under $100, I got everything we needed and some truly gorgeous pictures that my daughter was thrilled over. I saved hundreds of dollars.
Most schools offer a senior package. This includes items like a senior memory scrapbook, key chain, tassel, senior T-shirt and invitations. The basic package was about $250.00. I did some research online and discovered that we can order some beautiful invitations with my daughter’s photo on them for a fraction of what this company charges. I then spoke to her about that possibility and she liked those invitations better anyway. We talked about which items in the package she felt were must-haves. She really wanted the memory book, the hoodie, the T-shirt, the key ring and a necklace. By purchasing these items individually, they were around $125.00, which I still think is ridiculous. The invitations will be another $25.00, unless I find a better deal. So, we saved about $100. The items she didn’t get were things like flip-flops. She had zero interest in those items.
When it comes to a class ring, you don’t want to skimp on quality. Class rings are expensive. One way we combated this additional senior year cost was to order the class ring early. We actually purchased my daughter’s class ring her freshman year. This way, she was able to wear it all through high school and get the ring she wanted, because we didn’t have a lot of additional costs that year. We did get a ring that featured a warranty in case she lost it or outgrew it, etc. Consider buying the class ring early. However, if your child is already a senior, you can still save money by shopping around for the best price.
Not every school does this, but my daughter’s school takes a senior trip. Theirs is to New York, which is an expensive place to go. The trip is about $750 (plus spending money). One way we reduced this cost was to participate in fundraisers the school offered. While my daughter didn’t fundraise as much as I would have liked, she is also working part-time and keeping a Straight A average. We cut her some slack on this one, divided up the payments and have sent them in throughout the year. She did a little fundraising, which did help some.
The final big bash is the graduation party. It is January and I have begun shopping for this event. By the time the party rolls around, we’ll have saved a few hundred dollars. I belong to sites like Hip2Save.com and DealSeekingMom.com. These sites offer announcements about the latest deals and steals.
I can’t remember which one, but last week, one of these two sites posted that Shindigz was offering a $1.00 banner sale on 18 x 54 banners. These banners are normally $14.99 and I would probably skip purchasing one. However, for $1.00, I wanted one for her. I ordered one with her photo and some lettering along with the graduation year. If I had been thinking, I would have left off the year and we could have used it again for college graduation. That’s okay. We can always put a little sign over the year with the new one or find another sale. I did have to pay shipping, but the sign was still under $9. Great deal and will be a focal point over our fireplace as people enter the front door.
My next plan is to purchase cups, plates, tablecloths and other decorations in simple, yet elegant, black and white a bit at a time. Both Michael’s and Hobby Lobby offer 40% off coupons almost every week. Each week when I do my grocery shopping, I will pop in with one of these coupons and buy one package of something until I have all I need. Another option is to hit the dollar stores, but for something so special I wanted a bit higher quality products.
For food for the party, I will begin to purchase appetizers and items that can be frozen ahead of time using coupons and shopping sales.
You can see how planning now for an event that occurs in May or June may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Be sure to check back soon as I’ll also be writing about beginning a stockpile of items for your college student.