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Families Spending an Average of $1,078 on Prom: Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Living 2012/04/15 19:58:27
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Schools may be cracking down on sexy dresses, but prom spending is on the rise. According to a recent Visa survey, this year families are spending an average of $1,078 on the springtime rite of passage. That is an increase from the $807 average last year.

Where is all this money going you may be wondering? The most costly item is usually the tux or the dress, and these days, families are willing to spend more for one-of-a-kind outfits.

"There's a general sense of people wanting to be differentiated," said Jatlow Levy, a retail strategist at consulting firm Kurt Salmon. "Going to a national chain and getting the same dress that 18 other girls have is not a chance for me to differentiate myself or express my individuality, which is such an important part of my social experience today."

But let’s not forget all the other prom expenses: dance tickets, corsages and boutonnieres, rides in limos or party buses, professional hair and makeup services, visits to the nail salon, new shoes and jewelry.

And this kind of “social-arms-race spending,” as Jason Alderman (director of Visa’s financial education programs) describes it, is not limited to the extremely wealthy. According to the survey, parents in one of the lowest income brackets reported planning to spend the most on prom. Those in the $20,000 to $29,999 salary range will spend more than $2,600—that’s twice the national average—while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.

So what do you think SodaHeads? Is $1,078 too much (or too little) to spend on prom? Or is it just the right amount to make it a special night to remember forever?

Read More: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/st...

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Top Opinion

  • Sterling 2012/04/15 20:04:43 (edited)
    Too much
    Sterling
    +19
    You kidding me? And they wonder why they're in the low-income brackets? No sense of budgeting or thrift.

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  • Alvin 2012/04/18 21:34:41
    Too much
    Alvin
    Seems like the high school prom has been elevated to that of a marriage, where money is spent heedlessly on a one time affair, while that money could best be invested in tuition, books, housing, etc.
  • Candace Washington 2012/04/18 02:39:15
    Too much
    Candace Washington
    i don't understand how people spend so much on prom in general anyway. why can't you just get a good looking dress/tux out your closet? honestly. waste of money.
  • Mikala 2012/04/17 23:09:43
    Just right
    Mikala
    Prom night is, how I've seen it, the most magical night in a teenagers life. Of course later in their life, there will come many things of greater importance. They want this night to be perfect.
    The magic itself, though, is a possibility, but there is always another. They what to be the prettiest, sexiest guy/girl there. They may also think that if they aren't the best looking, they may get picked on, or put down by others. There is always a fear of rejection, and hatred in a teen's mind, weather the can admit it or not. Sometimes this fear can get the best of them, and they end up going into debt over what others hearing about it may think is stupid.
  • MissTypist 2012/04/17 16:17:25
    Too much
    MissTypist
    Too much! The dress I am getting is really pretty and quality material etc., but it's only £40! And apart from a dress (girls) just need a bag and shoes - To hire a limousine isn't very expensive if you share it with your friends....£200 is the most I'd ever spend of prom....probably even less! :\
  • rimoyen52 2012/04/17 15:04:41
    Too much
    rimoyen52
    +1
    Prom is a celebration of "making it" out of school and should not put families in debt so that their children can celebrate this important passage. Can we do something about making it hurt less financially? Don't know whats possible, but for me, I'd start learning to sew and make my own dress, I'd make the kids earn their own money to pay for it, then maybe they would appreciate it more, as well as learn what struggles are coming their way, respect their parent's and appreciate their parents sacrifices for them.
  • Candace... rimoyen52 2012/04/18 02:40:32
    Candace Washington
    exactly man
  • cupcake 2012/04/17 15:01:37
    Too much
    cupcake
    +2
    My parents didn't spend a dime. I had to find my dress, buy it, fix my own hair and makeup and I still had a great time!
  • ladyfyre 2012/04/17 14:46:25
    Too much
    ladyfyre
    rather take that money and go on a trip.
  • wilsonmja 2012/04/17 13:51:45
    Too much
    wilsonmja
    A bottle of vodka and an abortion are not that expensive. I don't understand.
  • I NEED A HORSE 2012/04/17 13:43:50
  • Flea 2012/04/17 09:55:26
    Too much
    Flea
    I personally think it's insane, bu hey if you got the bucks to blow, it's all yours......
  • Playerazzi 2012/04/17 09:38:22
    Too much
    Playerazzi
    +1
    Take all that money and give it to a poor family.
  • Ericka 2012/04/17 08:43:36
    Too much
    Ericka
    +3
    Given how teenagers seem ruder and more narcissistic these days in general (with occasional exceptions, I'd say the money could be better spent, such as:

    1) Etiquette Lessons

    2) Psychological Evaluation and Treatment

    3) After-School WORK and COMMUNITY Experience Programs
    (noticed I capitalized both those words..."Google It" - or Urban Dictionary)

    LOL, and this is just for the ones who aren't using illegal substances.
  • Candace... Ericka 2012/04/18 02:41:38
    Candace Washington
    +1
    ruder and more narcissistic. EXACTLY! don't forget materialistic!
  • Ericka Candace... 2012/04/26 08:59:07
    Ericka
    Sometimes, I guess.

    I can't really knock THAT, though - I'm a HUGE fan of capitalism :)
  • Candace... Ericka 2012/05/01 23:32:30
    Candace Washington
    +1
    i'm not saying knock capitalism. i'm just saying, if the only thing you care about is material possesions and put them before people
  • Ericka Candace... 2012/05/03 09:48:46 (edited)
    Ericka
    Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't - I always put people and the quality of relationships before material gain. "I likes money" though, too :-) It gets a lot done and affords a level of comfort and security to those I care about, and buys a LOT of furry-baby food (dog). It's okay to Want - in fact, that kind of desire backed with motivation and hard work are the cornerstones of what this country was built on. People like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison who had the vision to see something greater than "what was/is." That, in turn, created a lot of prosperity for many millions of other people in a long chain of events since.

    Fire can be considered "bad," too, if used in the wrong way or not respected - you can look at it that way...OR, you can look at it like it sterilizes things And heats our homes And cooks our food to get rid of biological contaminants And make it more palatable. We can argue that guns are "bad," too - criminals use them, but criminals also don't care if their guns are registered (and actually prefer that they Not be traceable/registered for "obvious" reasons - statistics show 80% of inmates using them in crimes had a stolen or otherwise unlicensed gun), but it is our police, military servicemembers, and decent law abiding citizens who use them to protect us...

    Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't - I always put people and the quality of relationships before material gain. "I likes money" though, too :-) It gets a lot done and affords a level of comfort and security to those I care about, and buys a LOT of furry-baby food (dog). It's okay to Want - in fact, that kind of desire backed with motivation and hard work are the cornerstones of what this country was built on. People like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison who had the vision to see something greater than "what was/is." That, in turn, created a lot of prosperity for many millions of other people in a long chain of events since.

    Fire can be considered "bad," too, if used in the wrong way or not respected - you can look at it that way...OR, you can look at it like it sterilizes things And heats our homes And cooks our food to get rid of biological contaminants And make it more palatable. We can argue that guns are "bad," too - criminals use them, but criminals also don't care if their guns are registered (and actually prefer that they Not be traceable/registered for "obvious" reasons - statistics show 80% of inmates using them in crimes had a stolen or otherwise unlicensed gun), but it is our police, military servicemembers, and decent law abiding citizens who use them to protect us from criminals.

    What we are given has less value than what we earn, but the tools we use, wisely and effectively, can create even More value...and that includes money. Most people don't really love Money itself, anway - they love what it brings them, whether it is prestige, or love, or notoriety OR, as I mentioned previously, comfort and security...freedom from worries and uncertainty..."where you will live tomorrow...will you have enough food to feed your family...can you use it to do some good in the world." It all depends on the meaning (and function) one assigns to it.
    (more)
  • Redneck 2012/04/17 02:39:55
    Too much
    Redneck
    +1
    I think we spent about $200. Maybe less. It's just a freaking dance, come one people.
  • Farbiger 2012/04/17 02:00:48
    Too much
    Farbiger
    +1
    Bwahaha! All those people paying thousands of dollars on one night are trippin'!
    I bought my dress from Macy's during a 35% sale, shoes for like $25, getting my hair done for like $45, and hitching a ride with my friend. The ticket is $89 so I only spent about $160 (more or less) on prom all together!
  • Michaelene 2012/04/17 01:58:45
    Just right
    Michaelene
    +1
    Between tickets, pics, limo, tux, dress, flowers and spending cash, that's what it cost for one of the nights you'll always remember even if you dont want to LOL
  • ★~DoctorWhoGuru~★ 2012/04/17 01:40:00
    Too much
    ★~DoctorWhoGuru~★
    Too much
  • Candy 2012/04/17 00:38:53
    Too much
    Candy
    +1
    Jesus! My dress was maybe $50, shoes $25 ........that's about it haha.

    Good times, priceless?
  • c.ruth93 2012/04/17 00:29:38
    Too much
    c.ruth93
    Prom for my family cost very little due to the fact tux shops hand out discounts like crazy to get you to buy. Dresses are the same. The one costly thing was a limo and I actually split the cost with friends. I think what the survey included was the after party which sometimes includes a hotel room. Lemme tell you that's expensive which is why my pals and I decided just going to somebodies house would be the best idea.
  • MegaFortunateSon 2012/04/17 00:09:50
    Just right
    MegaFortunateSon
    +1
    It's really not a lot of money to spend on your child's happiness but if you cant afford it and your kids expect this tell them to get a job like my parents did. It's better for them in the long run.
  • Lena 2012/04/17 00:02:56
    Too much
    Lena
    +1
    What about just enjoying the evening and not wasting money unnecessarily?
  • Candace... Lena 2012/04/18 02:42:26
    Candace Washington
    ikr
  • sally 2012/04/16 23:55:12
    Too much
    sally
    +2
    Let's see....


    $80 on a dress (that will just end up on the floor, ruined)
    $30 designer heels on sale
    $50 tux rental
    $60 on dinner (if you share a plate)
    $100 limo rental (that will probably end up being only used for an hour max)
    $20 on a stupid gaudy corsage (that she'll probably throw away after the dance)
    $10 prom tickets
    $40 prom pictures....

    I'm gonna go ahead and stop right there. Who were they surveying? Where do these people get the money? ? ? ?

    Why is prom so important that you waste so much money? I spent $30 on a dress, wore some flats so I could dance, my date borrowed his dads car and he picked some flowers from his neighbor's yard and tied them around a ribbon and that worked as a good enough corsage for me. We went with a group of friends to Burger King and went to prom. Bring your own camera, the posing isn't the only thing you did. We had fun but the real fun happened when we went to the park and went crazy. Prom isn't that great, it's just a over rated dance.

    Call me cheap but spending ONE THOUSAND dollars on prom sounds like a hell of a lot more than I would spend. Save that money for college, the benefits will last longer.
  • Anariashki 2012/04/16 23:49:22
    Too much
    Anariashki
    I paid my best friend's older brother $25 to get us a bottle of good whiskey for the "after prom" party we started having while everyone else was at prom. Both years. It feels like a better deal after reading this than it did back then.
  • sockpuppet 2012/04/16 23:44:16 (edited)
    Too much
    sockpuppet
    +1
    A GRAND on a High School dance?

    haha
  • RogerCoppock 2012/04/16 23:30:59
    Too much
    RogerCoppock
    "an Average of $1,078 on Prom"

    I doubt this figure.
  • Flyingbug 2012/04/16 23:11:21
    Too much
    Flyingbug
    The outfits, the dinner, the flowers....the limo and hotel room, in some cases. And the tickets. Prom's become VERY expensive.
  • Wayne 2012/04/16 23:09:22
    Too much
    Wayne
    +3
    You don't need to spend a fortune to make your prom night memorable. Just have a good time.
  • LoveBug 2012/04/16 22:26:13
    Too much
    LoveBug
    +2
    That is crazy... ><
  • Lady D.J 2012/04/16 22:18:37
    Too much
    Lady D.J
    +1
    I didn't even go to prom. the idea of spending all that money for a dance that lasts a few hours is ridiculous to me. Besides, my school's prom was the day after my b-day.
  • kelly 2012/04/16 22:10:41
    Too much
    kelly
    +2
    Well at least I wouldn't spend that much on one dance that lasts one night. It already costs 75$ at my school per person. And then you have over priced dresses which you only wear once, fancy hair dos, people always get pictures, shoes that only go with the dress which you only wear once etc. my parents taught me how to spend money wisely, that 1,000 could go a long way for college. I'll just stick to the ten dollar winter formats where I wear the same nice dress to.
  • ghostrider 2012/04/16 22:07:55
    Too much
    ghostrider
    +2
    It's idiotic to spend that much
  • FatherLiberty 2012/04/16 21:44:27
    Too much
    FatherLiberty
    The outfit is just going to be destroyed with a combination of alcohol stains and vomit by the end of the night. Then it will end up on the floor with the straps torn off and your daughter being destroyed in bed. Dont think that is YOUR daughter or son? Think again....
  • Kat 2012/04/16 21:38:14
    Too much
    Kat
    +2
    Way too much.
  • animelover123 2012/04/16 21:29:22
    Just right
    animelover123
    Idk
  • Brownielover504 2012/04/16 21:08:37
    Too much
    Brownielover504
    +1
    Is she gettin a weddin dress im not payin more then 600 on prom nd thats including my hair nails dress and shoes nd 60 or les$ on my jewelry
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