This week CNN Money ran an article with the headline Teens (and their parents) spending hundreds on prom. In it were these figures:
- The average family expects to spend $1139 on prom this year (up 40% from 2011)
- The Northeast average is the highest at $1528
- The Midwest average is the lowest at $722
- Teens pay 41% of the costs themselves
All of these numbers came from one Visa survey of 1000 teens, so I’m not sure how much weight we should give them.
Still, they caught my eye because our family is living through the prom years and those figures seem high.
And our family is not even especially frugal when it comes to prom.
We don’t buy suits at Goodwill or make dresses out of duct tape (although you can win a $5000 scholarship by doing that). We do the pretty standard “buy a new dress/rent a tux, order the flowers, and pay for dinner at a nice restaurant” thing.
My son and his friends even rented a limo/party bus this year.
And yet I still didn’t feel like we spent anything close to the numbers in the CNN Money article. So I decided to check with my son and pull together some of my own info to see what our actual numbers were.
Tux rental: $106.59
Limo rental: $60.00
For a total of $334.71
Now, I realize that he’s a boy and tux rentals don’t cost nearly what a new formal dress does. But as luck would have it I also have a girl who went to two proms not that long ago, so I pulled those numbers too.
I’m certain there were some hairstyling and manicure/pedicure costs in there that I haven’t accounted for, but notice that – in our area anyway – the boy pays for tickets, dinner, and the limo if they rent one, so that offsets some of the girl’s costs. Also, boutonnieres for boys are much less expensive than girls’ corsages.
So I’m left kind of scratching my head about how the average family is spending over $1100.
What am I missing? A much more expensive dress? A more extravagant dinner?
What are your thoughts on and experiences with prom expenses?
This post is part of Fabulously Frugal Thursday.