Proms Provide Political Platform
Here’s an idea for economic stimulation: A fall and spring prom. Why? Well, despite a recession, the costs involved in the traditionally once-a-year, school-sponsored bash have skyrocketed and no one seems to care. A new survey by Visa based on 1,000 telephone interviews reveals American families spending an average of $1,078 on the prom this year, a 33.6 percent boost over the $807 spent in 2011.
Apparently, peer pressure and Hollywood’s influence are predominant reasons behind the willingness to shell out a mortgage payment (or two) for the big night. This is in part why stores advertise prom attire as “red carpet looks.” The Visa study also broke down prom spending by region, too. Midwestern teens spend the least in the country with an average of $696, while eastern families spend the most averaging $1,944. In the west, families will spend an average of $744, and southern families will spend the second most, averaging $1,047. (Really? What do these kids expect for their weddings?)
Yet, one statistic that jumps out of the survey and is particularly troublesome, according to Visa, is that parents who fell in the lowest income brackets (less than $50,000 annually) plan to spend the most on prom purchases.
More startling stats on proms gone wild:
61 percent of prom costs will be covered by parents; teens pay the rest. Since parents contribute the majority, teens don’t feel the need to economize. (That’s Parenting 101, folks!)
$20 - 250: Prom tickets, depending largely on location (PromGirl.com)
$25 -130: Pre-prom dinner, per person
$30 - 275: Hair, makeup, nails, tanning
$30 - 125: Prom photos, per person (What about corsages and boutonnieres?)
$200 - 500: Limo rental/party bus, split among all riders
$100 - 400: Average prom dress cost (tux rental $150 – 200). And, don’t forget shoes and purse to match dress for teenage fashionistas.
$695: Prom spending by families earning $40,000-$49,999 a year
$842: Prom spending by families earning more than $75,000 a year
$1,200: Prom spending by families earning less than $20,000 a year
$2,635: Prom spending by families earning $20,000-$29,999 a year
$23,050: The federal poverty level for a family of four