Prom Spending In America Has Gotten Out Of Control

prom, teens, teenagers, girl

Photo: Flickr / Melissa O’Donohue

USA Today’s Hadley Malcom reports that average spending on proms in America rose 34% to $1,078 from $807 this year.That’s not the shocking part of her story though.

What’s shocking, as Jezebel also points out, is that according to a Visa survey, parents in lower income brackets will end up spending an enormous chunk of their annual income on the event.

“Those who make between $20,000 and $29,999 a year will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000,” Malcom writes.

The reason is a well-known sociological phenomenon: aspirational cultural capital. Or as Jason Alderman, director of Visa’s financial education programs, says:

“This is social-arms-race spending. It’s extreme.”

Here are the biggest-ticket items for young ladies, on average, according to Malcolm:

  • Dress: $250
  • Hair: $50
  • Shoes: $45
  • Nails: $35

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