Prom doesn't have to break the bank

By: mom2many
April 24th, 2012
7:38 am

Prom doesn't have to break the bank

Itís that time of year again, a time when parents watch their once young sons and daughters turn into prince and princesses. No longer can we deny that they are growing up and for many parents of teenagers, prom is a huge milestone. This year as I was planning out my daughter's final prom, I got to thinking about what proms across the country cost and wondered what things parents could do to keep the costs down.

What I found was pretty surprising. A recent study found that where you live and how much your annual income is play a big role in how much prom will cost. If you lived in the Northeast, for example, you could spend approximately $1,944. Those in the South could expect to spend around $1,047, Western families $744, and rounding out the bottom are Midwestern families at $696. In addition:

*Parents who make less than $20,000 per year will spend an average of $1,200
*Parents who make $20,000-$29,999 per year will spend an average of $2,635
*Parents who make $30,000-$39,999 per year will spend an average of $801
*Parents who make $40,000-$49,999 per year will spend an average of $695
*Parents who make over $50,000 per year will spend an average of $988
*Parents who make over $75,000 per year will spend an average of $842

One can only speculate as to why income plays a role in how much a parent will pay for prom, and there are some things you canít do much about. The cost of tickets is one factor that isn't in your control. I have seen some schools charging $200 for a pair of prom tickets. What happened to doing up the school gym, hiring a band or DJ, and filling up the place with balloons and twinkling lights? Maybe schools need to step back and re-evaluate cost effectiveness also. Having a senior in high school is already expensive enough - do parents really need to break the bank leading up to graduation?

So what can parents do?

This year my daughter's dress came from a cousin who lives in another state, so look into family and friends, consignment shops, and even online. If you are going to go the online route as we did for one of my other daughters, start early and give yourself plenty of time for shipping.

Set a budget with your children and stick to it; itís a great opportunity for them to learn to budget and if they want more then you are willing to spend, encourage them to find ways to earn the extra money.

Split the cost of a limo or better yet, if they can drive have them drive themselves. One year a dear friend of mine hired a family member to drive her son and his date around in her car.

For the young ladies out there who want their hair and make-up done, look into beauty schools and make-up counters. Make-up counters are always offering free makeovers as a way to get you to buy their product, but you donít have to buy if you donít want to.

Pictures can be a big part of prom night too, but they can get pretty spendy. So do the pre-prom pictures yourself and have your child bring a camera along for some memorable snapshots. Those are the memories that will mean the most anyway.

Prom doesnít have to cause a parent's checking account to go in the red. With some clever shopping, a little planning, and a good budget, prom can be an experience to remember. Plan ahead, donít let it sneak up on you, set a budget, stick to it, and be creative.

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1 comments on "Prom doesn't have to break the bank"

  • cybele
    April 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    We have the "Year 12 formal" coming up in a few months, and there will be two, seeing as Dita and her partner go to different schools.

    I know with Dita's school, tickets are $40 for a single (its not unheard of for it to be a "single girls group thing" in Australia) and $60 for a couple, so thats not too bad. Dita is looking for a dress online so hopefully that will save her some money (im not paying for it). I have offered to pay for her shoes. I know some girls in her year are getting professional make up artists and hairdressers and manicures and all that jazz, but thats not happening here, unless Dita pays for it herself.

    Her partner's formal, however, thats Dita's business to pay for (that said, seeing as Violet is a live-in at our place now, I might pay for her shoes too, fairs fair) Also, I just really like shoes.

    I cant imagine spending $1,200 on a school dance, especially if our household income was $20,000.



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