Forget College, Save For Prom
April 19, 2012
Start saving now. When your kids are young. Prom is coming. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but it's coming. And it will cost you.
Most Americans spend an average of $1,078 according to a survey by Visa Inc.-- more than $807 than last year. (Aren't we in a recession?)
Prom isn't just about keeping up with the Joneses, it's about grinding them to a fine powder under our stilettos. Because, after all, this IS a very important high school dance. Right?
Jason Alderman, Senior Director of Global Financial Education, Visa Inc. believes that the spending is so high because "parents are paying the vast majority of the costs, giving teens little incentive to economize."
One friend on Facebook said, "Well, from someone who has girls and boys having done this, it's expensive. There is $80 for the tickets (because the boy pays for both of them), $30 for the flowers (for both), $30 for after prom tickets (at Dave and Busters, goes until 4am) and then they are doing a party bus for 25+ people, so that'll run me about $100+, then they are going to the Melting Pot for dinner, that's about $100 per couple. I haven't even included price of tux in all this. Then if you look at a cost of 2+ years depending on how many years they do it, it's a very expensive endeavor."
I wonder if we've all lost our way by indulging our kids with everything they want since birth.
2010 Mom Congress delegate, Yolanda Gordon, shared, "I have a friend whose daughter went last year. With the dress, shoes, hair, nails, makeup, pre-prom meal, post-prom meal, and limo which were split among three families for their daughters, she spent a total of $1500. And that does not include the families that are paying for hotel rooms for their teens (cringing at the thought) to have parties."
We may need a support group but I think we all need to stop the madness. Even if we need to hold hands and get a sponsor. We need to one, make kids start paying for their own prom expenses and two, lower the crazy expectations for prom.
Stephanie Calhoun, 2012 Mom Congress delegate said, "We talked about this in our house this week. My daughter is 11. We have already established that $1000 for prom is excessive and SHE AGREES! Could we afford it? Yes. Will we spend that much? No. These are great times to teach money lessons. Spend $1000 for one night with a bunch of people you may never see again or save some of that for a much larger life experience . . . I am all about dressing up and being princess for a night but would NEVER spend $1000 for one night."
"I think it is outrageous how it has evolved to such a pressure event," posted Kimberly Cabral on Facebook, 2012 Mom Congress delegate and MASK founder. "There is so much hype today on how they will ask where they will go what they will wear etc. The level it has elevated to is much like a marriage proposal.Really ridiculous! It is a high school prom. As parents we need to help lower the standards and bring it back to creativity not the dollar signs. Don't even get me started on the parents who allow the after booze party."
Is it reasonable to have kids pay their own way?
What are you planning to do with your kids?
Melissa Taylor is a freelance writer, an award-winning educational blogger at ImaginationSoup, an award-winning teacher with a M.A. in Education, and a mom of two children, ages 6 and 9. Follow Taylor on Twitter or find her on Facebook.
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