Prom and "promposal" costs add up for families

YT&Twebzine
Prom expenses add up quickly.
Prom expenses add up quickly.
The tuxedos. The low-cut bodices and the sequins -- oh, the sequins. Today’s high school prom has become a miniature Academy Awards. And like the Oscars, there's a price tag for all that bling. 

    Americans planned to spend an average of $919 overall on proms in 2015, according to a nationwide survey released by Visa Inc. The cost has actually dropped from last year, when teens spent an average of $978 on the big event, but now parents are footing more of the bill.
    One third of the cost -- in excess of $300 -- is eaten up by the “promposal,” which, in some cases, is elaborate and pricy (think airplane or hot air balloon banners). Comparatively, Canadians were projected to spend $508 overall on prom expenses, including $151 on the promposal.
    On the big night, teens (and their parents) pay for the tuxedo rental, dresses, corsages, photos, dinner, tickets and limousine rental. It’s like a wedding without the permanence or the possibility of alimony if it doesn't work out. The bottom line also depends on where you live. According to Visa:

  • In the Northeast, the total cost is $1,169. Families spend an average of $738 on prom night and an average of $431 on promposal.
  • In the West, the total is $938. Families spend an average of $596 on prom night and $342 on promposal.
  • In the South, the total cost is $849. Families spend an average of $544 on prom night and $305 on promposal.
  • Midwestern families are most economical. Their bottom line comes to $733. Families spend an average of $515 on prom night and $218 on promposal.

     In last year’s survey, parents said they would cover 56 percent of the cost. But this year they will cover 73 percent of the bottom line. Visa points out that this willingness to spring for expenses means that teens have zero incentive to cut costs. The company's website recommends cutting costs by shopping at consignment stores and splitting the cost of the limo with other couples. (See more examples on the Visa's website.)
    

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