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Rising Cost of Prom Season -- $1139

usa high school party social arms race

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#1 Hum

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 15:24

The cost of prom night rose 5% this year to an average $1,139 per attendee—a staggering sum that should spark frank spending discussions in every household with a teenager.

Only three years ago, the recession was fresh and families were vowing to tighten their belts for good. In that environment, prom spending on everything from dresses and tuxedos to limos and flowers totaled an average $807. That’s a lot. But as the economy improved spending shot passed $1,000 last year before jumping again this spring, according to an annual Visa survey.

Prom spending has been called the new social arms race, as both parents and their teens seek to stand out and choose to spend extravagantly for one evening. “Prom has devolved into a competition to crown the victor of high school society,” Nat Sillin Visa’s head of U.S. Financial Education, said in a release.

The most troubling aspect of this spending free-for-all is the recurring finding that those who can least afford it are spending the most. In households with less than $50,000 of annual income, spending plans this year average $1,245; parents who make more than $50,000 will spend an average of $1,129. Two years ago, Visa found that the top prom spenders had household income under $30,000.

Prom night is also an opportunity for single parents to spend lavishly on their teens—forking over an average $1,563, which is almost double the $770 that married parents will spend.

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#2 pookie62

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 15:35

Yet another example of how the ones that least can afford it, tend to spend out of their means on stupid things. Case in point, if you make less than 30K, why would you spend on more than the bare min. on a prom? Yes, you might need a new dress or rent the tux. But you can hitch a ride (double date, I've done it) and go to a less than exclusive restaurant if the meal is not at the prom.

Interesting article though!

#3 Brandon

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 17:05

I don't think I spent more than $300 for prom, if that. We drove ourselves. Tux rental was around $100, tickets $120 + flowers and pictures = around $300.

#4 ir0nw0lf

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 17:23

Too bad many guys don't factor in a cheap** pack o' condoms on prom night vs. the potential for a whoops pregnancy/kid to have to pay for many times over down the line.

**: cheap not referring to quality LOL.

#5 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 17:35

I don't think I spent more than $300 for prom, if that. We drove ourselves. Tux rental was around $100, tickets $120 + flowers and pictures = around $300.


Yep I was thinking the same thing. What the heck are these people buying for over $1k? I can understand that the females have to spend more on their dress and getting makeup/hair done, but it certainly isn't that expensive.

#6 spacer

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 17:37

The average is only that high because girls HAVE to buy retardedly expensive dresses that they will never wear again. If only they weren't so caddy and would wear reasonably priced, non-designer dresses...

#7 Brandon

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 18:17

Yep I was thinking the same thing. What the heck are these people buying for over $1k? I can understand that the females have to spend more on their dress and getting makeup/hair done, but it certainly isn't that expensive.


I'm guessing they are including stretch limo hummers, booze + the afterparty weekend at the lakehouse (being stereotypical here)

#8 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 18:26

I'm guessing they are including stretch limo hummers, booze + the afterparty weekend at the lakehouse (being stereotypical here)


Haha, well I suppose bottles of Goose and Patron add up. :rofl:

#9 OP Hum

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 23:11

I'd be spending the $1139 on a computer. :p

#10 Ambroos

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 23:13

Man that's a lot. I hosted prom (organized it, whatever), was one of the few who rented a costume and spent less than €150, don't think anyone really spent over that. Limo's and stuff are a bit overkill if you ask me.

#11 +Nik L

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 23:23

Disgusting amount of money to spend. Not quite the same as we don't have (real) prom's here in the UK (I know we do but it's just schools pandering to kids who watch too much US TV) but at my university end of degree ball, I spent a few hundred on a dinner jacket combo, about fifty on hiring a limo, fifty on the ticket and about a hundred on drink for the night. And then I felt I'd overspent. And that was MY money, not parents (obviously).

#12 vetneufuse

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 23:48

seems anymore like 90% of the cost is the girls dress....

When I was in high school tickets cost about $75 each, tux rental was about $100 drive yourself and skip the limo, I mean seriously it's just a façade you put up for a night, everyone knows you don't drive in limos normally... but even with that the girls dress seemed to always bee $500+...

#13 Growled

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 00:48

The cost of prom night rose 5% this year to an average $1,139 per attendee...


That's just irresponsible. Decent clothing can be had for much less than that. I do it all the time.

#14 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 00:50

first world problems eh?

#15 TechJunkie81

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 00:59

Wow that's a lot of money, I can still remember spending zero dollars and not going to mine. Great time.