Pricey Proms, Parents Picking Up More of the Tab

Jim Liebelt

*The following is excerpted from an online article from PRNewswire.

A new nationwide survey conducted by Visa Inc., finds that the average 2015 spending on high school proms will be down 6% over last year, but this year parents will be covering more of the cost.

The average prom cost for U.S. families will be $919 this year.

While last year, parents were planning to pay for 56% of prom costs, this year that number has jumped to 73% of the cost of the big night. Their teens will be expected to cover only the remaining 27% of the total cost. Teens have no incentive to cut cost with parents still subsidizing this much of the total prom spending.

A rising portion of the total prom cost will be spend on the burgeoning phenomenon of "promposals" – elaborate invitations to the high school prom that can mirror a marriage proposal – which will cost the average American teen household a staggering $324 in 2015.

Promposals have become significantly more extravagant in recent years and now represent in excess of one third of the $919 total that the average prom-going teen will spend on the dance in 2015.

Regionally, the Northeast takes the spending crown and the Midwest continues its reputation for thrift.

  • Northeastern families will spend an average of $738 on prom night and an average of $431 on "promposal" for a total spend of $1169
  • Western families will spend an average of $596 on prom night and $342 on "promposal" for a total spend of $937
  • Southern families will spend an average of $544 on prom night and $305 on "promposal" for a total spend of $849
  • Midwestern families will spend an average of $515 on prom night and $218 on "promposal" for a total spend of $733

Families with a total household income below $50,000 a year plan to spend $1109 on the prom. Disconcertingly, those families making under $25,000 will spend a total of $1393 for the prom, while families who make over $50,000 will spend an average of $799.

Source: PRNewswire