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Posted by arcy
Sat, Apr 14, 12 at 12:43
|I read an article today that blew my mind. Families are spending on average a thousand dollars per kid on prom. The sad part is those that have the smaller incomes are the ones spending the most. INSANITY!! My son went to prom four times and $1000.00 was not spent. Daughter is going to her second and we won't hit $500 total. Don't tell me there is a recession on.|
|"The sad part is those that have the smaller incomes are the ones spending the most." |
I've seen that over and over, with weddings being the most glaring example. Seems that those who may feel 'economically inferior' are desperately trying to show that they're not... What a shame.
I designed and sewed both my prom and wedding dresses, so each cost well under $100. Heck, I think BOTH together were probably under $100. ;-) My wedding reception was held at home in my parents' lovely garden with recorded chamber music, hors d'oeurves and wine and champagne. But because my family was financially comfortable, there was no 'public shame' in that at all...
|1,000 really is beyond ridiculous. I find it annoying that a school function like prom is so expensive that the costs prohibit the less fortunate from being able to attend. |
One of the local radio stations in our area has organized an annual charity where gently used prom dresses are donated by listeners so someone who can't afford a dress still has the chance to have one. It's provided the opportunity for thousands of girls to attend who wouldn't have normally been able to.
|I was going to say what lukki did about the collection of dresses...but isn't that the saddest thing you ever heard that there are 1000's of girls that have no way to feel like they fit in and can go to a prom w/o charity ??? And believe me I don't think second hand is a problem as I buy second hand and thrift store clothes all the time. I just think the whole dang thing is so skewed. |
When a $1000 or more is the norm for a prom and a rental limo and fancy tux and dinner out etc...who could be surprised that $20K is the new norm for a wedding...and of course you have to have a new car and house and then the baby has to have all new everything..it just escalates...ok..sorry for the rant...blame the fact that I am getting old I guess. c
|We have a small graduation ceremony at our elementary school for kids going into middle school. The dress buying, manicures, hair, etc. was getting out of hand with parents pulling kids out of school to go shopping or to the salon. The principal of the school started coming in to talk to the kids about it a month or two beforehand. She stresses that the important thing is the celebration of their achievement and would discuss with them appropriate attire (sundresses, sandals, etc.) I know this wouldn't work for older students, but I was really glad she took the onus with these kids and didn't just let it continue to escalate.|
|My youngest are 23 and 25, and believe me, we never spent anywhere near $1000 on prom! I made my daughter's dress at her request - she wanted me to replicate a dress that she had seen in a movie. My son rented a tux the first time he went to prom, then we bought him an inexpensive tux for the second one, which he has worn for a couple of other occasions.|
|Unreal! We never spent close to that. I've heard the same thing happens here with Quinceneras(sp?) - often more spent on these than on weddings in the Hispanic culture.|
|Where I live, there are several high schools with a graduation rate around 50% in FIVE years. |
So, nearly half the students will never graduate.
Many of the women will never marry, or at least never have a church wedding. Some of them have children already. Many of them will have children by different men.
Prom is a high point in the life of people in certain cultures, who are unlikely to graduate, unlikely to have a wedding reception etc.
On the other end of the spectrum, in a few of the suburbs here, $1000 would be routine to spend on some event for an offspring--prom would probably be more. The son of a patient of mine spent $1000+ getting a tuxedo hand couriered to him at college when he forgot it at home. (The courier flew up on a commercial flight at the last minute).
I think those two categories are lumped in with the average family who spends an average amount on prom.
|As the mom of a daughter who will attend both the Jr and the Sr prom this year it is now and has been for a while that you CAN spend $1000, or you can spend $100; what you spend is up to you. I have been to tons of stores and there are dresses from $25 on the sales rack to $350. Nails, hair, shoes can all be done at home free of cost. There may be pressure in one particular group within a high school to have the "$1000 prom", but that pressure does not exist across an entire HS. As always, some have more than others, but this is a choice. Of course, there are families out there that can not afford the $100 prom, and that is sad. I hope they can find ways to make it happen for their children, if their children want to go (many kids don't want to go regardles of cost). My hope is that everyone who wants to go, can.|
|Bigger than prom in our community is an even called Sno-Ball. It's open to all high school teens (any grade) and is held at the fairgrounds. Its THE see and be seen event, as it entails all 6 high schools in our district, all in one night. |
Proceeds benefit the YWCA, and tickets are cheap, but the kids will spend beaucoup bucks on Sno-Ball. It's a Sadie Hawkins dance, so girls really go all out. My eldest DD went and she had a lovely dress we got on clearance, borrowed shoes & jewelry, we did her hair & nails and I made her a wrap for her dress. Her date bought her flowers and his parents were chaperones, so they provided the transportation & dinner (no limos for our kids!) My son was asked by a girl who would have done one of the $1000 proms, if she hadn't gotten in trouble 2 weeks before the dance and her parents grounded her from Sno-Ball. (They even told us they'd have their daughter reimburse our son for his tux rental, but we were able to have my stepson use the rental credit). HIS date was one of the spoiled socialites, they did have a limo (shared with other kids) and a shared dinner at a nice restaurant. Stepson wanted to rent an Armani tux (all the 'cool kids' were doing that) but he got a basic tux.
This was about 8 years ago, and I know that some kids were spending hundreds and hundreds on the event. Our area is a mixed bag, economically, but teens are teens and some parents don't want their kids to have to be like the Pretty in Pink movie, so they will go all out for the event.
|I didn't go to prom. I was nowhere near cool enough to go to prom. But DH and I will be spending probably $1,700 just to attend my brother's wedding in July. Between airfare, hotel, rental car and feeding ourselves, this is going to have to count as our vacation for the year.|
|Our high school fund-raises for prom the entire four years, so there is no charge for tickets. Most of the kids do seem to rent limos, but split between 20 kids (yeah, 20...) and when you consider the safety provided by a professional (non-drunk) driver, it's not so unreasonable. |
Your point is well taken Pal -- For some, it is the highlight...
|geogirl, I totally get what you're saying and I'm sure peer pressure has a lot to do with it too, 1000 for prom is just silly. However, I haven't seen a nice looking prom dress for 25.00 in years and lets be honest, most of the fun for the girls is finding "the one" and having the chance to get all dolled up. Not just finding the cheapest dress that fits and curling your hair. It's about the experience in general. |
Besides, with the economy the way it is, a lot of people are having to choose between their daughters prom night, paying their rent or putting a meal on the table. What I love about this charity is they set up a location where the dresses are racked up just like they are in the stores. The girls have the fun of picking and choosing and unless they tell someone the dress was previously worn, no one is the wiser. I think that is so cool! I just wish some of the salons would donate time to do their hair too! I know if I was a hair stylist I'd be calling to volunteer.
|Having one DD who graduated last June and one who started HS this September, I can tell you that there is a lot of peer pressure to go all out. Mani-Peddi's, big dress and shoes and flowers, hair and make up, dinner and limo and pictures. It can add up really fast - if you allow it. Similar to the thread on who pays for what at the wedding, it came down to: this is your budget, make it work. |
Same applies for Homecoming, too.
Lukki: stylists here easily charge between $50 and $80 for an up-do.
|At my nieces recent wedding, which I thought was expensive, but certainly not in the league of many, there was a Sweet Sixteen at the same facility that matched her reception for what it offered and if anything, the kids were much more expensively (and flashily) dressed than the guests at the reception. And if the overall appearance of their teeth and such were any indicator, the people at the sweet sixteen were of a lower socioeconomic class than the people at the wedding.|
|i have boys--MUCH cheaper than girls! but, prom tickets at our school are $95/person, so almost $200 for the boy if he picks up the cost for the couple! that alone is pricey!!|
|Lukki: stylists here easily charge between $50 and $80 for an up-do. |
Exactly, my sister is a stylist and charges that easy.
|who could be surprised that $20K is the new norm for a wedding |
I think the new norm is way higher than that.
At Passover dinner a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about weddings because my 25 yr old DD will be getting engaged very soon. My very frugal brother said he's been told the new norm for a wedding is in the 6 figure range. What? No way! DD and I haven't talked about exactly what her wedding will be like or how many people will be invited, but I can safely say it will not approach 6 figures! I know DD wants a nice wedding, but I also know she would never expect to spend that kind of money. But, the fact that my brother said that does scare me. My brother is one of the most frugal people I know!
|Guilty. In the end, the tally is around that #. The dress, the hair, etc., all adds up it quickly, either that or things cost more where we live? |
And yes, there is a recession going on. DD went to prom almost 3 yrs ago, but it was still an expensive indulgence. I think 2nd hand prom dress projects are great and there are many of those available in certain cities.
|Lurrikish: I love the second hand prom dress program! I think we have one around here and I will look into it. |
Although I am a bleeding heart liberal, I still think personal responsibility for your own spending habits is well, your responsibility. Spend what you have or what you choose to spend. The whole "pressure" thing is ridiculous. This goes for proms, weddings, decorating, wardrobes, purses, colleges, whatever. However, there are cultural differences that do influence what people find "reasonable" for different events. I don't think I need to judge what others choose; they make their choices for a whole bunch of reasons that I have no idea about! However, if you choose and then complain about your choice, well that certainly opens the door....:)
|I'm going through the same thing here, myself! DD is a high school senior and we were out shopping for her prom dress a couple of weeks ago. Not only was I floored by the prices of many of the dresses but by the styles of many as well. Skintight (and I mean very, very form fitting), and many strapless or with very lowcut bodices and/or backs! Thankfully DD wasn't looking for one like that but she did comment many times during our shopping that I was acting like a prude (LOL)! With her being a 5'7" size 3, we had a really hard time finding a decent dress at a decent price. But we finally, thankfully, found her "dream dress" at Dillards. |
Like many of you have already mentioned, the thought of spending close to $1000 on a prom sounds like an awful lot to me, but perhaps we just live in a part of the country where folks don't spend that much. I know that DD and her close friends won't be spending even half that.
I did hear that both Albuuquerque and Santa Fe were having free prom dress events last month, which I thought was such a great and thoughtful idea. I'm wondering if any of the restaurants around here will be having specially priced, budget-friendly prom night dinners. That would be much appreciated by both kids and parents.
|You know, if you have the kids' college and your retirement fully funded, and can easily afford it, then go ahead and spend $1000 or even $10,000 on prom. After all the money spent does to to employ people. The sad thing is that it is often the people who can least afford it who are spending ridiculous amounts of money on things like prom and big blow out weddings.|
|At some point, how you spend money as a "value" in life, is passed onto your children. Accordingly, how they spend their money should also be taken into account. If the parents are footing the entire bill and are ok with it, why not go all out? But if they have to pay for their dress/tux out of their part time job, they might be a little more fugal. |
It's these principles that will see them through life so why not start early? Or even teach them that there really are greater things to spend the money on than a one time event.
|Geo, I'm with you 100% but just feel badly for those who can't afford it. I really love that program too. I hope if there is a one in your area, you are able to utilize it. It's such a great idea! |
I also agree with what Bumblebeez has said about our kids contributing and learning the principals of life. My daughter always had to contribute towards whatever it was she wanted, nothing outside of birthday or Christmas was free. If she didn't help on a monetary level than she did extra chore(s) or helped an elderly person in the neighborhood. I also believe that when kids see their parents stick to a budget it teaches them there are limits and you are right, we need to be happy with with what is available.
|My granddaughter spent $150. total on her prom. I took her to Macy's and told her not to look at price tags. She picked a $60. dress. The rest of the money went for shoes and jewelry. A girl after my own heart.|
|We have a charity fund raiser for freshmen and sophmore years, then junior and senior prom. |
So, the girls have an opportunity to buy four dresses during high school.
The first year we went all out. It was fun for me too as I never went to a prom. But the second year I told her that since she already experienced the event, and this was after all a fund raiser, we should be more economical. She bought a sale dress at Bloomindales and she and her friend wore flip flops under their long dresses! She had just a good time in a $99.00 dress as she did in a $300.00 dress.
I think too, it boils down to the confidence level. These girls need to feel good about themselves as well as look good for the event.
|If I wouldn't spend that kind of money on myself, there is no way I'd spend it on my kid. I agree it's about values. I was at the mall and in line to pay for something right behind another Mom and her daughter buying THE prom dress. When I heard the clerk give the price (almost $500 smackers!) I wasn't suprised. I live in the land of $1000 proms (most here can afford them) and we could do it ourselves too without any long lasting pinch but WHY? It does speak to values as mentioned by a previous poster. |
I'll give to my favorite local animal charity. I'll take everyone in the family away for a long weekend. I'll do a home improvement project that we'll enjoy permanently and will add to the value of our home. But my kids know there's no way anyone's getting a thousand smackers for one night. Plus, if most post prom stories I've heard are typical, prom ISN'T a fairy tale and the night usually fails to deliver the big emotional payoff the girls are dreaming of.
|I have to say I hope if I could afford it I would still know better. "Live simply so others can simply live", is a motto I strive for. America wastes more than several countries live on. That is not ok. I do not believe because you can afford it is a standard that should be lived by. It certainly is not one I want to instill in my child.|
|As Pal said, for some folks, prom is THE only big dress-up event of their lives. When we lived in that kind of neighborhood in the city, it wasn't unusual for my girls to get invited to attend other girls getting ready for prom, as a bridal party might do. Photography, limos, hair and nails, the works. |
Even though that is not how I would spend my money, I don't blame people for wanting their daughters to have an extra-special occasion, when they so often go without experiences that more middle-class kids take for granted. I know kids in high school who have never been to a zoo or an amusement park, let alone a spring break trip to the beach.
At the other end of the economic scale, where the $1000 is just part of the day-in, day-out conspicuous consumption of the class of people who just like to show their money, I am less sympathetic, perhaps because the sense of entitlement their children often exhibit when I encounter them in my work makes me shudder.
Here in the suburban midwest, prom is more of a $300 event for my daughters.
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