Apr 17 2014
We have a break from the college search – it is prom season. And my son, who is a junior in high school, decided to ask someone to the prom. He did – and she accepted (she better have accepted – who could turn down my adorable son? That’s a joke son, in case you read this.).
My goal for the prom is to have him keep within the national spending average. According to Visa, prom spending last year averaged $1,139 per family! I’ll give you a minute to wipe up your spilled coffee.
It appears that the prom has become a “keeping up with the Kardashians” type of competition. We did some initial checking into costs and we have $75 for the two tickets (dinner included); corsage for $30; and about $120 for the tux rental. We’re still about a thousand dollars away from the national average. What are parents spending this money on?
In my mind, these levels of spending are in part due to some parents escalating their kids’ youthful rites of passage into levels that used to be reserved for their older ages: from third graders getting iPhones to parents renting limos for middle school “winter formals” (thus making middle school dances the equivalent of what high school proms used to be – next up will be middle school proms).
This spending at the younger years has to naturally lead to more extravagant spending in later years - “That limo was so middle school mom and dad! I need a Hummer limo for high school.” (And a helicopter for the wedding – just a natural progression.)
I’m happy my kid is keeping a good perspective on things like the prom – seeing it as a fun time, and not a life defining moment whose memory will last forever (ohhhh). Heck, Joe only spent $11 on flowers for when he asked his date to go to the prom. Which leads me to another annoying prom trend – when did asking girls to a dance have to be so elaborate? I read that one young man gave his date a baby chick when he asked her – and this was in a suburb, not the country (where do you think this chick ends up in a few weeks when she becomes an egg laying chicken?).
But, times change. I just wish the change didn’t effect pocketbooks so much.
Speaking of annoying prom trends, I’ll end with what might be the most annoying new one: the KFC Chicken Corsage. Seriously: