Spending on prom continues to outpace for inflation, consumer spending trends survey finds
Attending prom is a teen rite of passage. Who could put a price on that? Visa can.
American families are expected to spend an average of $1,139 on prom this year, according to consumer spending trends revealed in a recent Visa survey of 1,025 parents of prom-age teens. This is an increase of 5 percent from last year and more than 40 percent from 2011. That's a lot of taffeta.
Midwesterners have a reputation for being grounded and frugal, but while, regionally, their prom spending is the most contained in the country, the average Midwestern family will spend $722. Families in the Northeast will spend the most ($1,528), followed by Southern families ($1,203) and Western families ($1,079).
Who will primarily be footing the bill? Parents, of course, who plan to kick in 59 percent of prom costs, according to consumer spending trends Visa tracked. Single parents may be overcompensating. They will spend an average of $1,563, compared with married couples who will spend $770. Similarly, lower income parents who earn less than $50,000 a year, plan to spend more than the national average.
Related story: Surge in prom spending: Sign of frugality fatigue? Click here to read more.
To help families reign in prom spending, Visa has launched Plan it Prom, a free new smartphone app to help parents and prom attendees created a prom budget and then track their spending to help them stick to it. The app is available from iTunes, Goggle Play, and practicalmoneyskills.com.
Visa also released cost-cutting tips:
· Shop for formal wear at consignment stores or online. As with tuxedos, many outlets rent formal dresses and accessories for one time use.
· Have make-up done at a department store’s cosmetics department or find a talented friend to help out.
· Split the cost of a limo with other couples, or drive yourselves.
· Take pre-prom photos yourself and have the kids use cell phones or digital cameras for candid shots at various events.
· 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.