With many teenagers seeing their high school prom as their own Oscar Red Carpet moment, it’s no wonder the costs of getting outfitted for prom are going up. A new survey from Visa demonstrates just how costly it is to send a teenager off to their prom. The 2013 national survey by Visa Inc. shows that when it comes to high school proms, Americans appear to be willing to spend ever increasing amounts. American families who have teenagers will spend an average of $1,078 each on the prom, a 33.6% boost over the $807 spent in 2011. Even more interesting, different parts of the US have different prom spending habits.
Families in the US Northeast will spend twice as much as every other region of the country. Regionally, the survey found:
- Northeastern families will spend an average of $1,944
- Southern families will spend an average of $1,047
- Western families will spend an average of $744
- Midwestern families will spend an average of $696
One troubling statistic is that parents surveyed who fell in the lowest income brackets (less than $50,000) plan to spend more than the national average - $1,307. Breaking down the spending by family income, the survey found:
- Parents who make under $20,000 will spend an average of $1,200
- Parents who make $20,000-$29,999 will spend an average of $2,635
- Parents who make $30,000-$39,999 will spend an average of $801
- Parents who make $40,000-$49,999 will spend an average of $695
- Parents who make over $50,000 will spend an average of $988
- Parents who make over $75,000 will spend an average of $842
The Visa survey also found that parents are planning to pay for 61% of prom costs while their teens are only covering the remaining 39%.
With the costs of prom going up, how can you save and economize on this special night out? Here’s a few tips:
- Shop for formal wear at consignment stores or online. eBay is a great source for Prom dresses and tuxes and reduced rates.
- Rent a Dress or Tux for a one time use. Rent the Runway is a good source for renting a Prom dress for a one time wear.
- Check out cocktail dresses at upscale outlets like Neiman Marcus Last Call or discount Prom dresses at retailers like Kohl’s, HM or New Look.
- If time permits, get in Project Runway mode and make your prom dress. I made my own prom dress with a very easy Vogue pattern. I think it cost be $40.00 for fabric, plus of course my own sweat equity.
- Go to a department store’s cosmetics department and ask the sales person for a demonstration of their make-up, so you know how to use it. Check my previous post on applying eye make-up. Check out Beauty Junkies Unite for free make-up tips.
- Split the cost of a limo with other couples, or drive yourselves.
- Look for a Groupon or Living Social Deal for a restaurant dinner out. Search for dinner deals using Google or Bing, just type in the name of the restaurant and the search term “coupon.”
- Forget the professional photographer DIY with a digital camera or your phone camera. I think most prom attendees will be sharing on Twitter and Instagram anyway.
- Try to stay within a budget by setting a budget. Check out Visa’s free book Practical Money Skills for Life for tips on how to plan