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The cost of a prom? Try $1,139

Updated: 2013-04-27T01:11:39Z


The Kansas City Star

This is not a cheap date.

What did the average teenager — or, more likely, the parents — shell out for prom this spring?

Would you believe $200? $500? $800? Not close.

Try $1,139, according to a survey released this week by Visa. The credit card company said it arrived at the figure based on about 3,000 interviews.

The pricey price tag was actually 5 percent higher than in 2012 and represented the second consecutive year in which spending for the big dance — dinner, hair and nails, dress, tux, limo ride and all the other trimmings — beat the rate of inflation.

Based on the survey, the Northeast led the nation in spending, with families saying they planned to spend an average of $1,528 for prom. Southern families expected to shell out on average $1,203. Families in the West were spending about $1,079.

The Midwest? Prom night was going to run on average $722.

A couple of other numbers also jumped out from the survey. Visa said parents who fell in the lower-income bracket (defined as less than $50,000 a year) planned on spending the most — $1,245. In addition, single parents said they were spending $1,563 on prom, nearly double what married parents planned to spend.

Visa also found that parents planned to pay about 60 percent of the costs, with teens putting up their money to cover the rest.

If your high school student is still in prom planning mode, Visa has these tips:

• Hit the consignment stores for formal wear, as many outlets rent formal dresses and accessories for one-time use.

• Split the cost of the limo, if it’s a must, with other couples. Again, driving yourself is even better.

• Take pre-prom photos yourself, rather than hiring out.

• Work out a prom budget and line-item every cost.

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to

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