Prom now costs $1,139, Visa study finds

Prom costs are surging, according to a new survey from Visa.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Sending a teenager to prom is getting more and more expensive, costing roughly as much as an international flight, according to a new survey from Visa.

The outfits, the primping, the limo, the dance ticket, the after-party and sundry other expenses add up to a glittery night valued at $1,139, according to telephone interviews with 3,000 respondents.

That’s up from the $1,079 average last year and a 40% increase from the $807 average in 2011.


The party costs more for families in the Northeast, who this year will shell out $1,528 compared to the $722 budgeted by those in the Midwest. In the West, the tally comes out to $1,079.

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Of that, teens cover 41% of the bills, often with money saved up from after-school jobs.

Interestingly, the Visa study found that families with annual incomes below $50,000 spend more than wealthier households -- $1,245 compared to $1,129. And single parents plunk down $1,563 on the festivities -- nearly double the $770 that married parents chip in.

Seems as though teens are increasingly treating prom as a dress rehearsal for a wedding (which last year cost an average of $28,427) or an attainable version of the Oscars (for which Forbes says the celebrity primping experience costs some $35,000).

Families with high schoolers: does this survey seem to be an accurate representation of your prom costs?



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