The Sky-High Costs of Prom and Promposals

by TTMK on April 19, 2015 · 1 comment

prom and promposal costsBack in the stone ages – a.k.a. my high school days – going to prom was a relatively straightforward affair.   The guy asks the girl, and the girl either says yes, tries to hedge, or flat out says no. If they go, he pays for his tux, some flowers, and picks up the girl to take her to the dance. She – or her parents – pay for her dress, makeup, and other accessories.

Simple as that, at least from a money standpoint.

Well, those days are apparently gone. Long gone.

This article on Yahoo! about prom costs really opened my eyes to the reality of what kids these days are spending on prom. Given that my kids are not yet teenagers, I’m kind of in that zone of maximum detachment from the realities of those costs. As in, it’s been quite a while since I was that age yet I’m not dealing with these issues yet with my own kids.

The article was about a young couple that spent well over $1,000 on prom. While at first I thought that seemed pricey, it was apparently not too far from the norm. The article referenced a recent report which indicated that the average expense for proms is now at $919. Yes, that’s for one evening!

What I also thought was especially interesting is the whole “promposal” aspect of prom season. That scenario I recalled above, where a guy simply asks a girl to go to prom? Not cool. You simply can’t have such a lack of chivalry in this day and age! Now, there has to be a promposal.

And these promposals cost $324 on average, according to the study referenced in the article. However a young guy can impress his potential date, with a fancy dinner, flowers, etc – he apparently needs to do it.

You know, this sounds like what one might do for a wedding proposal, in terms of money spent!

Anyway, I’m sure there are many people who weren’t fazed by these dollar amounts thrown around in that article, but it made an impression on me.

For all that we might think younger generations are “getting” financial responsibility, maybe there is a little bit of work to be done? Or, perhaps I need to be less uptight about spending and just realize that prom is something for kids to live up and spend freely on. What do you think?

It almost seems like the lesson that’s learned here is that if you really want to impress someone (or be impressed by someone), there needs to be a big display that involves a lot of money spent.

So many good lessons could be taught to sons and daughters, with respect to prom season and how to view the true value of money. I think the idea should be that kids work to pay for these things themselves, instead of expecting Mom and Dad to finance a “dream” day.

This dream day concept goes on steroids when people get married, should that be a source of massive spending on one day? Rather, could a wonderful yet modest celebration be had, with the couple saving money to start their lives together with a little financial security? There are many ways to save on a wedding, to help keep the special day reasonably priced.

Or, is life all about experiences anyway – so spend on the memories and throw caution to the wind?

I’m curious to find out what you think about this idea of the cost of going to prom, and the cost of promposals. Thoughts? Please share.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jon @ Money Smart Guides April 27, 2015 at 7:21 am

I went to my prom and it wasn’t anything special. Though I can see why kids want to spend the money, simply because they think the night will be a magical one. Sort of the same thing with a couple spending $30K for a wedding because it’s “a once in a lifetime event”. You build it up so much in your head that you have to spend the money to make sure it is everything you dream of.


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