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How to budget and plan for matric dances Part I

Who knew a matric dance could cost as much as some people’s weddings? But don’t worry – we have plenty of ways to keep both parents and teens out of the red

The dress. The shoes. The flowers. The car. Yes, it’s that time of year again – all across the country matriculants are preparing for their matric dance. Peer pressure and modern-day hype have raised expectations about matric dances. Many parents will be torn between wanting to spoil their youngsters and wanting to resist the extravagance of handing over thousands of rands for a dress or suit that will probably only be worn once.


Here are some practical budgeting tips for parents to follow:

Tip 1: Make budgeting a family affair

Sticking to a budget isn’t just the responsibility of one tight-fisted parent, but something every family member should contribute to. Explain the bigger picture so that the teenagers can see the benefits of sensible spending. Set a budget of what you’re prepared to spend on your son or daughter’s matric dance and get them to help find a way in which to look stunning within that budget.

Tip 2: Give your teenagers tips and opportunities to save and generate extra income

For example, they could offer to wash their relatives’ cars over the weekends for a fee. Selling biscuits during lunch breaks at school is also a good way to make money. By encouraging this, you will cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in your children while teaching them about wise money management.

Tip 3:
 Make it relevant 

Some youngsters might not be too interested in the implications of “double-dip recessions”. But they will relate to the idea that lowering their expectations of one night’s partying might enable them to save towards, for example, the deposit on a second-hand car. The advantage of having their own transport while their friends remain dependent on lifts can help shift their expectations.

*Tips courtesy of John Manyike, head of financial education at Old Mutual

Three money-saving tips for your daughter:

1. Free makeup

Get your makeup done by professionals at a makeup counter in a mall. You’re not requited to buy any products, but it would be polite to buy something small like lipgloss or mascara.

2. Borrow a car

Why spend hundreds (if not thousands) of rands on a ride that will not only last a few minutes, but which most people won’t even see. Ask around – perhaps a friend’s parents or a family member has a really nice car you can borrow. You could always offer to pay for petrol

3. Accessorise!

You can always dress-up a simple, affordable dress with a large necklace, long earrings, a belt or even pretty heels.


 And for your son:

1. Rent a tuxedo – it’s a lot cheaper than buying one, plus, chances are you won’t be wearing a suit sometime soon again.

2. If you want to get your date flowers, pay the florist in advance to avoid spending more later. (Like dresses, flowers tend to be more expensive during matric dance ‘season’.)

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