This Year’s Prom Theme: Going Broke

Times are tough, and we are all tightening our belts. One area we aren’t cutting back on is our kids’ high school prom.

Despite continuing economic sluggishness, when it comes to high school proms, Americans are partying like it’s 1999. This year, families with teenagers will spend an average of $1,078 each on the prom, a 33.6 percent increase over the $807 spent in 2011. Consumer Affairs

Speaking as a guy whose girlfriend had to drag kicking and screaming into the tuxedo place to spend $50 on a rental (it was that long ago) I guess I can’t relate. But apparently this prom madness is everywhere. Here are some regional statistics on prom spending:

  • Northeastern average: $1,944
  • Southern average: $1,047
  • Western average: $744
  • Midwestern average: $696

And, it seems that the brokest among us spend the most. Families earning $20,000 to $30,000 spend an average of $2,635 on a dress or a tuxedo, limousine rental, flowers, food, accommodations, and parties after the party.

It’s madness. I see two culprits: TV shows like “My Super Sweet 16”… and parents that can’t say “No.” What are your thoughts?

BTW, the article also explains ways to cut some of these outrageous costs, so check it out!


4 thoughts on “This Year’s Prom Theme: Going Broke”

  1. Work out a separate prom budget with your child well in advance to determine what you can afford. Set a limit of what you will contribute and stick to it. If teens want to spend more than that, encourage them to earn the money to pay for it or decide which items they can live without.

    OMG,you have to tell a parent to do this?Unbelievable!

  2. This is absolutely ridiculous and is way out of hand. As a mother of 3 girls (all are grown and have their own girls now) I wanted the best I could provide for my girls (and boys) but I had limits and standards. A parent must determine ahead of time what he or she will allow their child to do, wear, and go and how they will look when they go and do.

    However, you need to look at the “history” of “The Prom” and see what has been going on through the years. I personally believe it goes back to “coming out” as was done through the centuries by society families. In other words, a “season” began when a young lady reached the age to “come out” and be courted or made available for matrimony. It also could be a “poor man’s” cotillion or debutante ball. Debutante balls were only for the high society families and their were (and are) strict guidelines as to dress and behavior. The “coming out” and the “debutante” balls were classy.

    The “prom” is different in that it is a big occasion for high schoolers to make a big splash and “go hollywood.” There is nothing in it about learning to conduct oneself in society graciously or with beautiful dignity.

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