We all know going to prom is a right of passage for high school seniors across the country, but the cost is becoming a huge burden -- mostly for parents.

The national average cost of going to prom? $1,139.

In New Jersey, it's more like $1,528.

It's not just the dress that's costing so much money. You have to factor in the accessories, shoes, hair and makeup, corsages and boutonnieres, limo, tickets to the event, and for most students in our area, post-prom festivities in places like Wildwood.

It all adds up very quickly. I remember back in '03 having lucked out in finding a dress I liked that just so happened to be on sale. ($99! Score!)

The savings ended there.

Luckily, my parents were able to help me out and foot the bill for the mani/pedi and all the other crap that makes a high school senior feel pretty on prom night...but many students aren't that lucky.

Sure, prom (usually) only comes around once, but does it need to be so damn expensive? $1500?? There just seem to be much better ways to spend that much money...

My advice? Get the cheapest dress you can find, squeeze as many people as you can into a limo, and find a talented friend with an eye on cosmetology school to do your hair and makeup.

Half the fun of prom is being there with your friends anyway, no matter what you're wearing, or how much any of you spent!

How much did you spend on your kids' prom? How about yours? Tell us in the comment section below!