Patch Poll: How Much Will You Spend on Prom?

Midwestern families will spend an average of $696, a survey says. How does that compare with your experience?

The dress. The tux. The corsage. The prom.

That may have been sufficient to describe this high school ritual of passage in the past. But today, add the spray tan, the manicure and pedicure, the limo, the pre-prom party, the after-prom cruise on Lake Michigan. The cost.

And in Romeoville, prom is coming up fast; ' big event is set for May 11.

Visa Inc. has released a national survey that shows when it comes to high school proms, Americans appear to be willing to spend ever increasing amounts. American families who have teenagers will spend an average of $1,078 each on the prom this year, a 33.6% boost over the $807 spent in 2011, according to the survey. 

Visa says Midwesterners are the most frugal. Regionally, the survey found:

  • Northeastern families will spend an average of $1,944,
  • Southern families will spend an average of $1,047,
  • Western families will spend an average of $744 and
  • Midwestern families will spend an average of $696.

The Visa survey also found that parents are planning to pay for 61% of prom costs while their teens are covering the remaining 39%.

One troubling statistic, the survey said, is that parents surveyed who fell in the lowest income brackets (less than $50,000) plan to spend more than the national average, $1,307.

“Prom season spending is spiraling out of control as teens continuously try to one-up each other," said Jason Alderman, senior director of global financial education, Visa Inc., in a prepared statement. "It's important to remember that the prom is a high school dance, not a wedding, and parents need to set limits in order to demonstrate financial responsibility."

How much do you plan to spend on your teen’s prom?


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