Quinceañera on a Budget

Gracie Maldonado created a quinceañera for her then 15 year old daughter, Gabby, with a year’s worth of savings. Despite some negative complaints of neighbors, says Maldonado, she was able to create a quinceañera with little expense and a strong support system.

Gabby Maldonado, 18, says, “I actually never knew how much money my mom spent, but one day I heard her talking to one of her cousins. She said, ‘You can make the cake. I’ll make the decorations with Cousin Crystal.’ She was talking to her friend Michelle.”

“Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to know. Whatever I heard didn’t disappoint the rest of my night. Once I stepped into the dance hall it was so much fun. Everything was like magic,” adds Gabby.

Gabby says, “Even if my mom spent less money back then, than other girls, I know she did it because she wanted me to have a quinceañera. She wanted me to experience this chapter in my life. She never had one and she didn’t want me to be shy anymore. I didn’t want to either.”

Ayuda from the familia

You too can save money on a creative quinceañera by approaching this festivity with detailed attention to what your cousin, sister, daughter or friend would like to contribute — a family celebration! Get as many people involved that way you could cut down on material costs. Gracie says, “I do not have sisters, but I do have friends and cousins. They helped me set up the location. Quinceañeras are expensive, but when we work together, we get it done!”

Anayeli Martinez, 16, agrees. She says, “Just don’t [ask] for too much expensive stuff [and] you can do it at your house or a family’s house.”

If your quince is one that would take place in a relative’s home, splitting who does the food can help with limiting the amount of food one may eat. Making plates with Hispanic staples, such as frijoles, rice and chicken guarantees that every person deciding to eat has their fair share of protein and starch and iron. This method guarantees others from comparing their plates and wanting more of what they can no longer fit.

Maldonado says, “[My friends] Josh and Liz sponsored some of the food.”

Gabby says, “I loved it all.”

Personal Hairstylists

Avoid the expensive hair dos and makeup styles by asking your certified Tia or amiga to do your hair. The hairstyle may be better than what a certified saloon can do. Amie Ann, 18, says, “My mother happens to be a hairdresser. She did both my sisters’ and my hair for our quinceañeras. Plus, it was easier to express what we wanted because our mother knows us so well.” However, if you or your family do not have that someone to make fabulous hair, do not be afraid to go with the natural style your hair is accustomed to. Hair shine makes dull locks look glossy and kept up. Curling your hair while spritzing hair spray can help keep that hairstyle in place. Besides, because it is your day, you are more than welcome to take as many rest breaks as you want. This is the moment to spray more hairspray if need be.

DIY Centerpieces

Ready made centerpieces can often come at a high cost. Instead, Anayeli suggests looking at online stores like Etsy which have original styles that caught her and her friends interest. “I even look at Facebook. Sometimes girls have these photos of themselves and behind them are their rooms. Their rooms often inspire me,” shares Anayeli.

Another example to cut back on buying state of the art material is to make diy centerpieces. Maldonado states that all the centerpieces at her daughter’s and her friend’s daughter’s quinceañera were handmade. “Our daughter’s table center pieces were very inexpensive, but our family time became decorating time,” she says.

She says, “My family helped out a lot. We did all the center pieces. My aunt sowed all the overlays for the tables. I couldn’t have done it without them. My cousin Michelle and Aunt Mary did most of my leg work.”

Like Maldonado, you too can suggest your tastes to family members in hopes of someone knowing how to sew, cut or even draw in order to save money!


Having sponsors to support such a big occassion is often a ready made deal. Family is almost indebted to participate.“We paid for most of it, but we also had sponsors. My aunts and uncles sponsored and chipped in for the hall, cake, and limo. Everyone helped out in some way. My grandpa paid for Gabby’s dress. We had an inexpensive hall.”

Though not all family members are required to participate, like paying the limo ride for one night, they can instead ask their very own quinceañera to have her and her friends get together a month in advance to make T-shirts commemorating this event. Selling the T-shirts for five dollars will help the quinceanera fill her college donations.

Usually calling on Fridays to any hall leads to cheaper rent deals. So what are you waiting for? You have one year to prepare and starting now is defenitely easier. Think of the thousands of $1 balloon packages you and your friends will blow up (all the while burtsting into giggles) and the amount of tamales, tacos con queso being prepared by our abuelitas, mamás and hermanas as the day gets nearer!

Have fun, chicas!

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