Teens (and their parents) spending hundreds on prom
Sarah Hoffer, of St. Louis, spent $259 on her prom dress, which required an extra $220 in alterations.
April 25th, 2013
08:22 AM ET

Teens (and their parents) spending hundreds on prom

New York (CNNMoney) - From paying for a designer dress to renting a fancy limo, teens (and their parents) are shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars this prom season.

On average, families expect to spend $1,139 on prom this year - up roughly 40% from 2011's $807 average and a slight increase from last year, according to a Visa survey.

Families in the Northeast expect to pay the most, an average of $1,528, while Midwestern families were the most frugal, at an average of $722, according to the survey of more than 1,000 parents of prom-aged teens.

With traditions like debutante balls falling out of fashion and young people getting married later in life, prom has grown in importance and people are willing to spend more on the big night, said Kit Yarrow, a consumer research psychologist.

"Prom is the new wedding," Yarrow said. "I think that every society has to have a rite of passage into adulthood for young people, and prom has become that."

The increase in prom spending is also being driven by the popularity of photo-oriented sites like Facebook and Instagram, she said. Prom is "a post-able moment" which has heightened the pressure around appearances.

While parents still foot a majority of the bill, teens pay for about 41% of the costs, Visa's survey found.

Read the full story on CNNMoney

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Filed under: Economy • Parents • Prom • Students
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Maretha

    well it depends on viewpoint if spending a ton of money on prom is important in my opinion since I'm 12 it doesn't matter but then there's some senior in high school who thinks it's reasonable to spend that much money because people do say prom is one of the most amazing moments in your life but when my prom comes if I do go i'll just might get my stuff from a thrift shop

    May 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  2. irving

    theres kids in africa that are staving to death and dont even have money for a decent meal ,but yet hundereds of teenagers in the u.s.a are spending thousands of dollars on prom clouths...

    May 3, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  3. Jose

    Spending on prom... is ounce in a life time opertunity do it or not you can not change it

    May 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  4. Eliana

    Personaly I think prom should be simple, special, and meaningful. Not a Perfect Housewives fight over who has more sparkles on their dress or who showed up in a longer limo. Prom is should be a night to remember, not a night to regret.

    April 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • jayniece

      how can it be a night to regret? it obvious it will be a night to remember thats why you are spending alot its once in a life time thing

      May 3, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  5. kelsey

    i think think people being gay or anything is really non of are bisesness its theres

    April 30, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  6. Joy

    It's all worth it in the end..! It's not all about the price tag its about having a good time while you can

    April 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  7. Becca

    I think they are not worth it because you only use it once , then it collects dust.

    April 28, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  8. Emmani

    I think prom dresses that cost 1,000 are worth it because its a special night to remember

    April 27, 2013 at 12:29 am |
  9. mishelle

    well prom is something that only happens once in your life so i think that anyone should be able to go all out for one of there big days in there life.

    April 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  10. mason

    why spend hundreds of dollars on prom it is just for one night with that money you could have saved from prom you could have bought an ipad which you can use for years

    April 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  11. Kiley

    I think that prom is a time to express youself, so if you need to spend hundreds of dollars to do this, go ahead!

    April 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  12. Gracie

    I think the prom is not worth 1,000 dollars but the experience is.

    April 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  13. Belle

    Prom is not about the number on the price tag, but the person you go with. Just have a good time no matter how much money you spend.

    April 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  14. Mary Bawden

    & have a very gold chain, give out MP3 players 2 my school chums ..... Oh boy do I digress thus showing how much bad tv I watch .....@&$?£€%#$$$$$$$$. Love you guys. Sorry I just lost 1/2 of my quip, Have to think it up again ~~. It was pretty funny. Really! Back later.....

    April 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  15. James

    Prom isn't about how everyone looks or who sees the pictures online, it's about the person you're with. I understand forking out extra cash for a big event, but $1,000 is too far.

    April 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  16. Kasey Jessie

    Spending money on prom seems ridiculous to me. Why pretend to be someone your not and spend tons of money on it? I understand that is "essential" in a teenagers life, but why not wear something that you already own? If you don't own a dress or fancy clothes, come as you are. That's what it should be about, being yourself and not spending money on it.

    April 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm |