Author Topic: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status  (Read 5080 times)

johnnyj5

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High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« on: June 06, 2017, 08:48:21 PM »
Being a high school student in a relatively wealthy place, I see a whole lot of money thrown out the window. For instance, the school yearbook costs more than $75. Caps and gowns for graduation cost more than $30. My worst pet peeve, though is the senior prom. Prom tickets cost $25, and my friends are all dropping $100+ dollars on tuxedos. Can anyone help me justify this madness? Why does it make people feel so good about themselves to buy all of this stuff? How can I convince my friends that they're getting scammed by this ridiculous tradition of spending?

Chris22

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 09:21:58 PM »
I graduated high school 17 years ago, and a lot of those prices are the same or less than I paid back then. Think you're overstating them a little bit.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 10:01:12 PM »
Sounds cheaper than what I paid 10 years ago. Most of my friends, including me, had part time jobs and/or money saved and paid for this stuff ourselves, as most of our folks didn't have too much extra income. We wore Chucks or Vans with thrift store suits to prom.

A ripoff is spending tons of $$$ on a limo, expensive photos, and other nonsense. A yearbook, cap and gown, and prom for $150 bucks? that's a weekend of minimum wage labor. Not the worst thing ever.

The Money Monk

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2017, 12:59:54 AM »
Being a high school student in a relatively wealthy place, I see a whole lot of money thrown out the window. For instance, the school yearbook costs more than $75. Caps and gowns for graduation cost more than $30. My worst pet peeve, though is the senior prom. Prom tickets cost $25, and my friends are all dropping $100+ dollars on tuxedos. Can anyone help me justify this madness? Why does it make people feel so good about themselves to buy all of this stuff? How can I convince my friends that they're getting scammed by this ridiculous tradition of spending?

As long as you have your spending under control on a day to day basis, spending a few hundred total on Yearbook, Prom, etc isn't a big deal. I still look at my yearbook occasionally to laugh at it and read the goofy shit people wrote, etc. $300 a month for a car payment or something is stupid, but there's not a huge problem spending it one time on something you will remember forever.

However if you really don't care about any of it, then don't spend the money. But if you do, I am fairly certain you won't look back 30 years from now and really wish you hadn't spent a couple hundred bucks when you graduated high school.

But either way, just do you. Its great you are conscious of these things at such a young age. You will be well set up for a glorious future of financial independence and wealth.

tarheeldan

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 04:33:06 AM »
Those numbers seem fine. I thought you were going to talk about clothes and things like that. I remember a class ring being overpriced, don't regret skipping that one at all (or being told no by my parents, can't remember)

Mezzie

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 05:41:30 AM »
My students would be thrilled with numbers like that. Prom tickets here cost over $100!

Graduation is a rite of passage and a relatively inexpensive one. Some of the additional bells and whistles are optional, but a cap and gown? A yearbook? Grad night? Worth it.

I still have my yearbooks even after a major decluttering. I love looking through my great-grandma's yearbook. I love my memories of grad night before a lot of us went our separate ways. I enjoyed the tradition of graduation. I didn't do prom, but dances just aren't my thing. I did an after-prom party, though.

There's nothing wrong with you not seeing the value in these things, but I also think there's nothing wrong with your friends seeing it.

MandalayVA

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 05:49:53 AM »
How can I convince my friends that they're getting scammed by this ridiculous tradition of spending?

You can't.  It's true that people do and have gone way over the top for prom things, but a yearbook, cap and gown are a drop in the proverbial bucket.  Telling other people how to spend/not spend their money comes off as very annoying and presumptuous.  Don't be that guy.  :D

johnnyj5

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2017, 06:54:44 AM »
Yeah I guess you guys are right. I more just think that these things should be mellowed down a little bit. Maybe not go for a hardcover yearbook, but maybe I'm just a grouch.

Pigeon

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 07:31:42 AM »
Yeah, I've got two teens.  Those prices you are quoting are very inexpensive.  Yearbooks aren't cheap to produce--all those color photos.  My kids only buy them as seniors.

 My younger dd just went to junior prom.  Tickets at our public school were $90.  We did spring for a limo this year, shared with 7 other kids, it came to $70 each for the entire night.  We had a family wedding that night and couldn't drive her and she doesn't yet have a license.  None of her friends' parents could drive, and we have license restrictions here that would keep her from riding in a car with a teen driver at night.  I think the $70 was worth it for the peace of mind this one time.  We had several kids killed in auto accidents on prom night a few years ago. They hadn't been drinking/doing drugs, but the older person who hit them had been.

I agree some families do go all out.  Dd's dress cost $19 (thank you Burlington Coat Factory), but she had friends who spent $600 which is nuts.  Alterations, shoes, special bra, purse, probably added another $80.  She did her own hair and nails, but some spent a bunch more money on those things.  Honestly, I don't think that's much at all.  Prom is hyped, no doubt, but it is a rite of passage, and I don't mind spending that much.

I think my high school cap and gown were close to $30, and that was over 30 years ago.

Don't be the person who rains all over everyone else's parade.  If you don't want to spring for these things, fine, but it's understandable others might think it's worth the small amount of money involved.

Lepetitange3

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 07:43:27 AM »
The yearbook price is what mostly seems high, that and your friends dropping crazy money on prom outfits.  I'm one of those who literally threw out the yearbook.  And I still have friends from high school I talk to, hang out with, etc.  I just like the pictures we took of ourselves and the adventures we went on more.  I suppose I did go to a large high school though so outside my own group, most of the yearbook is full of photos of people I didn't talk to or know well.  So YMMV ;)

trollwithamustache

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2017, 08:11:20 AM »
Don't buy the Tux in High School. You will never be that small again!

MgoSam

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2017, 08:27:49 AM »
I didn't buy a yearbook, but that was only because I forgot to turn in the slip and they didn't have any extras. My solution was to staple a bunch of computer paper together and call it a "YEARBOOK." I hope my parents still kept onto to it......

But $25 for tickets to prom, that is way way cheaper than anyplace I've seen. But prom isn't a dance that's ordinarily held at the school, and so tickets will cost more as, at least in my high school, they rented out a nice hall for it.

For the grad night, I can't recall what the charge was but for the amount of food, activities, and prizes there we were likely massively subsidized by the school and by local businesses. Our school nearly required it for graduations because they were worried that we would go out drinking on graduation night instead.

Chris22

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2017, 08:31:24 AM »
I also don't see any of this as buying "status".  In fact, these are literally things everyone is buying, so how can they be status symbols?  Status is fancy clothes, high-end gadgets, etc etc.  A yearbook and cap and gown is not "status".

Lepetitange3

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2017, 10:15:21 AM »
I suppose it also depends if graduation is mandatory?  My high school was but I went to fancy private school.  I'd be annoyed if the public school made graduation mandatory then charged for cap and gown.  If it's not, you don't have to go.  I skipped every graduation after high school, including graduate school because omg boring.  The 10 seconds you walk across the stage wasn't worth it to me.  I'd rather just pick up the diploma later or get it in the mail.  At least for me, the accomplishment was the education itself and earning the diploma.  Acquiring the diploma via mail vs a fancy ceremony I was indifferent on.

TaraB

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2017, 01:45:56 PM »
Being a high school student in a relatively wealthy place, I see a whole lot of money thrown out the window. For instance, the school yearbook costs more than $75. Caps and gowns for graduation cost more than $30. My worst pet peeve, though is the senior prom. Prom tickets cost $25, and my friends are all dropping $100+ dollars on tuxedos. Can anyone help me justify this madness? Why does it make people feel so good about themselves to buy all of this stuff? How can I convince my friends that they're getting scammed by this ridiculous tradition of spending?

Unfortunately it sounds like you're starting to see American consumerism and "Keeping up with the Joneses". But this is reality!
I do still have my HS yearbooks and my prom dresses. I'll never forget that feeling of freedom at the graduation party....of course I had to give a speech so maybe it was just nice to be done with that!

As long as you don't accrue credit card debt, suck it up. Make sure you get some good pics. HAVE FUN!!!!!

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2017, 07:57:56 PM »
Prom exists pretty much so high school girls can be princesses for a day. When I was in high school, I found the entire concept to be really lame. What we did instead was throw a big party on the trail behind the fish hatchery with cases and cases of Miller High Life that we got my older brother to buy for us. That was way more fun than some lame souped up dance.

SeaEhm

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2017, 03:09:05 AM »
I also don't see any of this as buying "status".  In fact, these are literally things everyone is buying, so how can they be status symbols?  Status is fancy clothes, high-end gadgets, etc etc.  A yearbook and cap and gown is not "status".

haha - this gave me a great idea -  I should go into the business of creating tiered yearbooks of varying prices. The bedazzled yearbook will cost 5 times the amount and have a limited offering.  #1of5 #IgotItUdont

Lepetitange3

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2017, 08:00:24 AM »
Omg please do this.  Your bedazzled yearbooks will generate a small fortune like the rings that every high school sells at 50x the cost of materials

MrsPete

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Re: High School Expenditures -- Buying Status
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2017, 03:10:08 PM »
I graduated high school 17 years ago, and a lot of those prices are the same or less than I paid back then. Think you're overstating them a little bit.
I teach high school today, and I agree that these prices are overstated.  Of course, I live in a Low COLA.

As long as you have your spending under control on a day to day basis, spending a few hundred total on Yearbook, Prom, etc isn't a big deal.
I agree.  We splurged on some things for our kids during senior year ... but because we're frugal 99% of the time, it wasn't a difficulty for us. 

However, as a teacher, I feel badly about seeing the poorest kids struggle to afford those prom tickets, etc.  For the poorest of our poor kids, these high school milestones are ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.  I'm talking about the kids who aren't even trying to go to community college, those whose families don't go on nice vacations, those who will never build a dream home (or even buy a dream car).  For some of these kids, those high school "moments" are EVERYTHING ... and they will scrimp and save to participate. 

like the rings that every high school sells at 50x the cost of materials
Pay attention to ALL the information from the ring people.  If you're a Jostens school, they offer a simple $99 ring ... I think it might've been $129 for guys.  These simple rings give you the school color for the stone, the school mascot on one side, the year on the other.  No choices = cheaper.  Yet few kids ever buy these bargain rings.

Like the cheaper rings, just about every high school cost-item has a cheaper-way-to-go, yet the vast majority of our kids ignore those things.  Example:  Order your yearbook the first week of school and it's $20 cheaper ... yet people stand in line at the end of the year in hopes that a higher-priced copy will be left over.  Same thing with caps-and-gowns.  They're only $25 if you buy them in the fall with the group; but something like 70% of our seniors order them individually in the spring and pay more.  During the first two weeks of the school year, students can purchase a $40 sticker for their student ID that allows them to enter every school athletic event all year long ... but maybe 10% of the students buy that sticker ... the rest ignore the fact that if you attend JUST the home football games, you've already more than made up your cost!  Prom tickets cost $25 each ... or $40 for a couple ... even if you're not going with a date, why not pair up with a friend to buy the tickets?  Small dances and small events tend to cost $5 if you buy your ticket ahead of time at lunch, but the vast, vast majority pay double at the door.

On the first day of school I tell my seniors these things, and they still don't listen!  I tell their parents on back-to-school night, and THEY listen!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 03:17:46 PM by MrsPete »