Author Topic: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year  (Read 6401 times)

cyclevillian

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Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« on: April 13, 2012, 12:06:57 PM »
Really?? I know I rented a tux for my prom and cringed at the price of close $100. Definitely not worth it. The worst part of this article is in the last paragraph.

Quote
Those who make between $20,000 and $29,999 a year will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.

So lower income families are spending around 10% of their income on a one night event. I do not have kids so I can't comment having to deal with this any time soon. But as a mustachian I cannot imagine allowing that amount of money to be spent on a dance. Does everyone else find this as crazy as I do?

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/story/2012-04-12/high-school-prom-spending/54224068/1

MrSaturday

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 01:13:34 PM »
With the high premium on one-of-a-kind prom dresses I'm wondering if a guy with no training or even the slightest fashion sense might be able to throw together some vaguely dressed-shaped things and make a killing.

sol

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 02:34:27 PM »
For that kind of money, a guy could wear a $30 shirt, borrow Dad's car, and hire a really nice escort who would guarantee a better prom night than most anyone else there.

AJ

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 02:44:33 PM »
Quote
Those who make between $20,000 and $29,999 a year will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.

I see this dynamic at play in other areas of spending as well. I have low-income family members that spend far too much on housing, cars, and consumer electronics to try and "prove" that they aren't poor.

Jason G.

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 02:47:43 PM »
While the spending listed in the article is truly ridiculous for a high school dance, it's not really a meaningful average. From the graphic at the top of the article:

"The averages listed are compiled from a survey of 700 readers of Seventeen Prom and TeenPROM magazines last year, as well as additional USA TODAY research."

I don't know what additional research USA Today did, but the sample from the readers of the two teen prom magazines is almost guaranteed to be heavily biased toward the very highest spenders. Interestingly, there is a poll about prom spending on the article itself that looks more like what I would expect. Here were the values when I looked at it just now:

How much do you plan on spending on your teen's prom?

Nothing
24%

$1-$250
36%

$251-$500
24%

$501-$1,000
9%

$1,001-$1,500
2%

$1,501-$2,000
0%

$2,001-$2,500
0%

More than $2,500
5%

Lex

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 02:55:22 PM »
For that kind of money, a guy could wear a $30 shirt, borrow Dad's car, and hire a really nice escort who would guarantee a better prom night than most anyone else there.
LOL...reminds me of the joke that in the long run, it is financially better to buy the tux and rent the lady instead of the other way around...

kolorado

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 05:40:36 PM »
Quote
Those who make between $20,000 and $29,999 a year will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.

I see this dynamic at play in other areas of spending as well. I have low-income family members that spend far too much on housing, cars, and consumer electronics to try and "prove" that they aren't poor.

I don't think that spending big for events like is often a show at not being poor. I have seen people do that though.
For those with money, it's just another social event. For someone who thinks there is no hope of rising above their income level, it's the highlight of their young life. It is "the"  dance not "a" dance.

AJ

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 06:09:29 PM »
I don't think that spending big for events like is often a show at not being poor. I have seen people do that though.
For those with money, it's just another social event. For someone who thinks there is no hope of rising above their income level, it's the highlight of their young life. It is "the"  dance not "a" dance.

That is probably true, too. The article mentioned parents using their children to "communicate to the community who they are" and kids trying to one-up each other. But you're right, it could be the one big event of their high school years.

Mrs MM

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 07:13:18 PM »
For that kind of money, a guy could wear a $30 shirt, borrow Dad's car, and hire a really nice escort who would guarantee a better prom night than most anyone else there.

Hahahaha!!  Nice.

In Canada we don't really have "prom" (not when I graduated anyway), it was called a graduation and all I got was a dress, which probably cost me about $40.  We didn't get fancy pictures taken or anything like that.  We did go out drinking in Quebec afterwards though and my date (and my best friend's date) paid for a hotel and a bottle of Southern Comfort, so that probably set them back some.  :)

shedinator

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2012, 09:16:02 PM »
I think I spent less on clothes for 2 proms and a wedding...

Re: Low income high spending. Has anyone else here seen Coach Carter? There's a scene in it where the parents of the basketball players are complaining about the requirement Coach Carter put in the contract requiring his players to wear ties on game day. A father insists that he can't afford a tie, and wants to know if the Coach will be providing them. Coach C. says "there are a goodwill and a salvation army store within two blocks of here," to which a mother responds "I'm not that broke."
I see this same mentality among a lot of people in my income cohort. While most middle class Americans think nothing of visiting a thrift or consignment store, or buying certain things used (not religiously, but often enough), many lower-class Americans seem to have a "new or nothing" mindset. If they can't afford the newest, best, shiniest, and most over-hyped gadget, they either go without or (worse) buy on credit.

nolajo

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2012, 09:57:48 AM »
This seems to me to be similar to the mindset around weddings for some - we have to have a big blow out for the whole shin dig, it's the high-water-mark of high school/life, whatever. Between me and my date I think we spent about $400, which I still see as quite a bit of money and was even more so in high school. My dress was maybe $150, his tux rental was undoubtedly less, tickets were about $100 and then some other little things like corsages and pictures. Nothing frugal, but nothing like this.

A note on the used dress idea: last year I was shopping for a formal gown around the same time that the high school kids were doing prom, and the pickings were pretty slim at all the thrift and discount (TJ Maxx type) stores. I don't know if people around here hang on to those suckers or if I'd just been beaten to the punch by a bunch of teenagers, but used was not as good of an option as I'd hoped. There's not much around here in terms of dress rentals either, so I'm not sure how much they could bring down the cost if they want the traditional experience. $2500 altogether is ridiculous, but I was hard pressed to find many good dress options below $100 last year. So it's basically a racket aimed at a group not known for being financially savvy. :/

ShavenLlama

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2012, 05:50:11 PM »
For my prom, I borrowed a fancy dress from my quasi-socialite aunt. We couldn't afford to get in on the limo with my friends, but we did meet them for dinner at a fancy grown-up restaurant in the old-town area of our city. I think my date rented a tux. I think the most expensive part of the night was the tickets to the dance!

I know that the kids at my school spent a ton of money even on the winter and homecoming dances, and I've seen the kids these days and how dressy they get for even the small dances!

Parizade

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2012, 10:46:30 PM »
A note on the used dress idea: last year I was shopping for a formal gown around the same time that the high school kids were doing prom, and the pickings were pretty slim at all the thrift and discount (TJ Maxx type) stores. I don't know if people around here hang on to those suckers or if I'd just been beaten to the punch by a bunch of teenagers, but used was not as good of an option as I'd hoped. There's not much around here in terms of dress rentals either, so I'm not sure how much they could bring down the cost if they want the traditional experience. $2500 altogether is ridiculous, but I was hard pressed to find many good dress options below $100 last year. So it's basically a racket aimed at a group not known for being financially savvy. :/

Girls who can afford new prom dresses are now encouraged to donate them to organizations like this one
http://www.donatemydress.org/
that recycle prom dresses for girls who can't afford a dress for prom. So I'm not surprised that you aren't seeing as many in thrift stores anymore.

James

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2012, 06:20:52 PM »
For that kind of money, a guy could wear a $30 shirt, borrow Dad's car, and hire a really nice escort who would guarantee a better prom night than most anyone else there.
LOL...reminds me of the joke that in the long run, it is financially better to buy the tux and rent the lady instead of the other way around...

You both made my night, and now my wife is wondering why I'm laughing...

Rich M

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 10:24:05 PM »
I saw this prom stuff on some news site today and cringed.

Where is the post on the weddings, bridal showers, baby showers.

And funerals...I just went to one that was only $10k.


Sauce

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Re: Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2012, 03:43:20 PM »
i had this convo with some friends recently who all agree this number is absurd.

we differed in opinion on this fact:
student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt.
i stated there is some sort of correlation between the two, while a friend of mine disagreed and said that amount would have no impact.

i explained if you're going to a state school that costs $10k/year, that's 10% of your education!
friend was still unconvinced.

i can understand how people (the non-mustachians) scoff at small amounts of "this only costs $5) but to scoff at over $1000?!?!