Prom budget for teenage girl?

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texasdiver
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Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by texasdiver »

Here's a question you guys should have fun with. The oldest teenager is now a HS junior and is out shopping for prom attire and the like. It seems that there is a giant prom and formal industry in this part of the world that is designed to use teenagers extract as much $$$ as possible from their parents. It seems that one can spend as much as a small wedding on HS proms.

For those who have recently raised teenage girls in a typical upper middle class environment, how did you go about budgeting and paying for this extravagance? Did you set a total budget or just grit your teeth and do pay as you go thing for every little expense? Because as I'm finding out, the dress is only the first expense on a very long list. I'm inclined to just give her a few hundred and tell her to make do with it or come up with the rest herself (she does have an after-school job). My wife who *should* be doing this wants no part of the conversation. Which is probably for the best given how far apart they are on pretty much every aspect of fashion and money. I was just curious how other Boglehead parents have dealt with the dreaded P R O M.

And please don't tell me some story about how your daughter made her own dress for $14 and only spent $25 on the night. That's just not going to happen with this kid.
island
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by island »

What other expenses are there beyond the dress and accessories?
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LAlearning
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by LAlearning »

Dress, accessories (ie shoes, jewelery, makeup, hair, etc), limo, dinner, pics, dance entry fee......etc.....

Iono, HS was a long time ago and I remember gritting my teeth and spending most of my money (albeit it wasnt much, <150ish) and my parents helped with some.
I know nothing!
DonM17
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by DonM17 »

Our grand daughter is shopping for her prom dress and apparently this site is a good place to shop for reasonably priced dresses

http://www.lightinthebox.com/c/prom-dre ... om+dresses
KlangFool
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by KlangFool »

texasdiver wrote:Here's a question you guys should have fun with. The oldest teenager is now a HS junior and is out shopping for prom attire and the like. It seems that there is a giant prom and formal industry in this part of the world that is designed to use teenagers extract as much $$$ as possible from their parents. It seems that one can spend as much as a small wedding on HS proms.

For those who have recently raised teenage girls in a typical upper middle class environment, how did you go about budgeting and paying for this extravagance? Did you set a total budget or just grit your teeth and do pay as you go thing for every little expense? Because as I'm finding out, the dress is only the first expense on a very long list. I'm inclined to just give her a few hundred and tell her to make do with it or come up with the rest herself (she does have an after-school job). My wife who *should* be doing this wants no part of the conversation. Which is probably for the best given how far apart they are on pretty much every aspect of fashion and money. I was just curious how other Boglehead parents have dealt with the dreaded P R O M.

And please don't tell me some story about how your daughter made her own dress for $14 and only spent $25 on the night. That's just not going to happen with this kid.
texasdiver,

My son and daughter had to earn and save to pay for their prom fully. So, it is their problem.

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JeanMich
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by JeanMich »

Oh my...... it can be an expensive venture. Both my girls went to many proms and it can cost a fortune. A big part of the fun is the planning and shopping. And no girl wants to have to do it on the cheap. It takes all the fun out of it. That said, you could sit down with her and have her come up with a list of needs and what she expects them to cost. Total it all up and agree to the final figure, if it's not too over the top. Then tell her that is what she has to spend. If she saves on one item when she makes the purchase, she can splurg on another to make up for it. If she wants to splurg everywhere then she has to foot the extra cost (You said she has a job). I did a version of this for my girls when they went to the prom, for school clothes shopping, and also for college expenses. It helped make them accountable. Good luck and enjoy watching her have a great time on the big night.
GenXer
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by GenXer »

I'd turn it into a learning/budgeting experience for her. Ask for an itemized list of every expense she thinks she'll incur--dress, tickets, car, after-party, whatever … Let her know that this is not what you will pay, just a starting point for a discussion. Then have a conversation with spouse about what seems "reasonable" (in your world, taking into your account your budget as well as your views on teenagers and money). You can then make a decision as a parental unit about how much you're willing to contribute. Your daughter has a job, so I think it's reasonable to expect her to pay for at least some costs. Good luck!

Signed,
Mom of two teenage boys who seem to have little interest in proms, balls, or homecoming dances. Sniff.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by dodecahedron »

JeanMich wrote:Oh my...... it can be an expensive venture. Both my girls went to many proms and it can cost a fortune. A big part of the fun is the planning and shopping. And no girl wants to have to do it on the cheap. It takes all the fun out of it.
I do not understand this. I was once a girl. I didn't see what the big deal about the prom was but I did go to a few formals (a winter formal at my high school and a college formal held by the service fraternity my boyfriend was a member of.)

I thought they were fun but I didn't see the point in spending a huge amount of money. For the winter formal ball at my high school, I happily wore a hand-me-down from my aunt, which my mom skillfully adjusted a bit to fit me. For the college formal, I splurged and went shopping but bought something inexpensive from the bargain rack at the department store. I spent my own money, earned from my part-time job. I did my own hair and makeup (with my mom's help.) My boyfriend drove his own car. He wore his regular suit. He bought me a nice corsage. Another relative loaned me a pair of long white formal gloves. Tickets didn't cost very much as the event. My mom took a picture which I still treasure. My eyes were sparkling and when I look at that photo, I remember feeling like a magical princess in my hand-me-down finery.

I don't understand why today's kids need to spend a ton of money to have fun at a dance. (My own daughters enjoy contra-dancing and various other types of folk dancing but never expressed any interest whatsoever in going to a prom during their high school years. One of them did, however, purchase a thriftshop prom dress for $5 to wear as a fun costume when she was part of the IgNobel Prize ceremony stage staff one year.)
Last edited by dodecahedron on Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by texasdiver »

Thanks guys. I thought you would have more fun with this than all the electric toothbrush, socks, and light bulb threads.

The issue is that my wife really doesn't want to get too involved, especially with the shopping because they will just end up fighting about price and what is appropriate/inappropriate. My wife is not at all into clothes shopping much less things like spas and hair salons. So what is likely to happen is either (1) I'll drive her to Dallas with some friends to one of the big discount places up there and she can shop on her own, or (2) she'll be going shopping with one of her friend's moms which could be a dangerous proposition given that this is Texas and some of the moms around here spend ridiculous amounts of time and money on their kids.

As a start, I'm going to ask her to give me a beginning to end budget for everything she thinks she wants to spend money on and we will work backwards and negotiate from there. She will have to call around and find out what stuff costs because I doubt that she knows.

And this is just daughter #1. There are 2 more to come.
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texasdiver
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by texasdiver »

island wrote:What other expenses are there beyond the dress and accessories?
hair and makeup at the some fancy spa or salon, fake tan, transportation, prom tickets, after-prom party tickets, etc. and I'm sure a bunch of things I'm unaware of.
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Miriam2
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Miriam2 »

texasdiver wrote:Here's a question you guys should have fun with.
Well, I'm not the guy, but I'll weigh in - from a mother's experience.

Look at the PROM as the beginning of the end of any reasonable young daughter budget. The dress is only one very expensive part. There are the color coordinated shoes, the color coordinated shawl, the jewelry, the purse, the items that go inside the purse.
There will be the tanning salon or spray tan expenses, the hair, the "highlights," a cut, then the hair salon appointment hours before leaving for the PROM, with a big tip. Then, the makeup, the nails and a pedicure, and another big tip. Then, of course, the limousine. While at the PROM, they will need a little extra spending cash for the photographer to take special pictures of them with their friends.
The difficulty, as you said in your post, is that parents want to help their daughter learn to budget, but the daughter is going through her high school years with her friends and all this means so much to them. My husband and I look back on this with humor, but there was a fair amount of family tension over these things. What to us seemed so trivial and unnecessary, to our daughter was so emotionally important. Emotional rifts are hard to repair.
And all these expenses are a dress rehearsal for what is coming next year - the college sorority experience.
Last edited by Miriam2 on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Miriam2
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Miriam2 »

texasdiver wrote:And this is just daughter #1. There are 2 more to come.
Oh my, have you got your hands full :shock:
Last edited by Miriam2 on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2comma
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by 2comma »

I once witnessed a teenage girl shout down - the knockout punch was "You buy your clothes at Kmart"! There was no comeback.

Three daughters and you're worried about proms? Pleeeeease let us know when the wedding start!
If I am stupid I will pay.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Andyrunner »

I have an 18 month old daughter. I better start saving now!!! By the time my kid goes to prom it will cost the same as a wedding.

A lot has changed since I went to prom and that was only in 2003.
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Miriam2
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Miriam2 »

texasdiver wrote:The oldest teenager is now a HS junior and is out shopping for prom attire and the like.
The girls do like to "borrow" each other's dresses for different events. My daughter borrowed a friend's older sister's dress for the junior prom.
Last edited by Miriam2 on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Puakinekine
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Puakinekine »

Customs and culture are different everywhere, and each child has different needs, so really there is no way for most of us to answer your question. (Here's the "But") I live in a completely different environment, where even the most affluent girls in town (my d. was one) were perfectly fine with going to consignment shops for their dresses. The most admired girls were the ones who made the most out of very little. Part of that comes from the shopping being terrible here, but for the most part it comes from most people not having that much extra money. Any money spent on playing make believe princess goes towards weddings, not proms.

Most young girls are just simply beautiful in their own right. They don't need to spend a lot of money and gild the lily. But your daughter is at an age where fitting in is of paramount importance and I can sympathize with that. And I can sympathize with her wanting a beautiful dress. But she also has to learn that money is finite even if you are a princess. So, perhaps work with her on what items she thinks are needed and her guess at cost, modify that somewhat to your reality, and then send her off with the cash and her list. And if she spends her entire budget on shoes, that is her problem. You can also give her the choice of cutting that number in half and giving the other half to a good cause ---but that may be laying guilt on unnecessarily. There is a fine art to looking good within a budget, she should start cultivating it now.

This is only a junior prom, she has the senior one to go and perhaps a wedding. The way you handle this one may set a precedent for the others.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by KlangFool »

dodecahedron wrote: I don't understand why today's kids need to spend a ton of money to have fun at a dance. (My own daughters enjoy contra-dancing and various other types of folk dancing but never expressed any interest whatsoever in going to a prom during their high school years. One of them did, however, purchase a thriftshop prom dress for $5 to wear as a fun costume when she was part of the IgNobel Prize ceremony stage staff one year.)
dodecahedron,

The answer is obvious. Their parents are willing to spend money on this kind of stuff.

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xrvision
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by xrvision »

Try the Aveda Hair School in Dallas- little slow but reasonable $. And it's right by North Park for makeup!
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Wildebeest »

I would suggest to read "No two alike. Human nature and human individuality" by Judith Rich Harris . This book was an eye opener for me.

As parents we feel we are responsible for the values of our children. After reading the book, I felt released.

My two cents: your daughter would have to earn every last penny herself for Junior Prom extravaganza.

However if you feel generous, more power to you.
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HIinvestor
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by HIinvestor »

I went shopping with D to get her a prom gown. There was only one in the entire mall each year that fit properly without alterations (other than hemming that I did each time--jr and sr proms). I think it was $100 for one and $200 for the other. She did wear one gown to a wedding, where her aunt was married and looked great!

The kids all chipped in together to rent a limo that held about 5 couples. I think they each paid $50 per couple. The prom included dinner. One person bought the bid for the couple and the other person paid for photos--a few photos of the couple and some photos of the group of girls in D's happy group of friends. We paid $30 or so for the hairdresser and just had D get her makeup at the dept store, where D purchased a few of the cosmetics she liked.

D bought a pair of black strappy sandals thar she wore for many years afterwards. She confided that all the girls just kicked off their footwear when they danced anyway.

Several of D's friends wore hand-me-downs. D didn't have anyone that was her size. One of her friends got a lovely outfit from the thrift shop for very little. Another friend's D got a gown from Nieman Marcus for $400 or so. Some if her friends got their gowns from bridal shops (bridesmaids gowns, etc.). Actually the gown we bought D was a bridesmaid's gown in a midnight blue with a blue stole. It was satiny and looked perfect.

For flowers, the girls often bought leis for the guys and the guys bought bouquets for the girls. Tbsp was another $50-100.

By the way, the guys spent quite a bit renting tuxes. My neighbor borrowed the tuxedo jacket and cumberbund S had for Marcing Band and wore that. They wore their own black slacks, since they fit better than S's. It saved them a nice sum not renting a tix, which can be $100-200+!
Last edited by HIinvestor on Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bluejello
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by bluejello »

Speaking as someone who's been a teenage girl, I think this is an excellent opportunity to for her to learn how to balance her needs and desires with budgeting and financial realities. Here's what I would do:

Ask her to draw up a line item budget with her estimated expenses for the year. Not just prom (dresses, accessories, hair, nails, limo, etc.), but everything else too. Clothes, books, pocket money. Does she compete in sports that require fees and equipment? Does she participate in after-school activities that cost money? What about the cost of SATs, SAT tutors, college applications, etc.? And don't forget about saving for college! Add it all up.

Once she has a budget for the year, go over it with her. If there are areas where you think she's substantially overestimated or underestimated the cost of things, ask her to do a bit more research. If there's items that you think she's left off the list entirely, then add them in. Come up with one total number that is her budget for the year.

Then have her figure out how much of this she'll be able to cover with her part-time job. Finally, agree on an amount that you will give her either weekly, monthly, or lump sum. Make it clear that this is IT for the year — there will be no more money from the bank of mom and dad.

It is now up to her to manage her money. You stay out of her way. If she wants to blow $1,000 on a prom dress and then not have any money for new clothes the rest of the year, she can do that. If she chooses to be very frugal with prom and save the money for college instead, good for her. If she finds herself running out of money and comes to you asking for more, too bad. She'll almost certainly make some bad choices this year and find herself short of cash at least a couple of times, but it's much better that she learn those lessons now while she's still under your roof.

This will be excellent preparation for college and life on her own as a young adult. Best of luck!
Last edited by bluejello on Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Toons »

200 bucks,,,,,,,Max :wink:
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

My son's date got a beautiful gown at a vintage/thrift shop. I think she had someone do her hair that day, and she did get a Boutonniere for him. The kids both go to a private school and while many families can afford any kind of limo and extravagance, out of consideration for their classmates who might not be able to afford those things, it is a tradition that one family hosts a pre-prom photo-session at their home (the class size is approx. 100) and then rented buses take the kids to the prom. Prom tickets were, iirc, $40 and usually the boy paid.

To be honest, the girls who spent less looked every bit as lovely as the ones who went overboard.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Lafder »

100 max for EVERYTHING which they want to include dress, shoes, makeup, dinner.

Really I would want it to come out of her regular allowance. But I would be talked into giving an extra 100 for a special event.

Luckily there are stores that have niceish/formalish dresses for under 50$ I have never paid 100$ for a dress for myself and no way would I encourage my daughter to do so.

No, not even on a wedding or graduation dress did I spend 100$ !!

Limo!? I would definitely not give any extra for that and luckily she has not asked. It is not the norm even at her private school.

Agreeing with your partner is a factor, as well as what the other kids are doing.

Good luck!!
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Sunflower
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Sunflower »

IMO you should differentiate between the junior prom and senior prom; junior being a dry run and senior you get the limo, or higher priced items. Make this clear. Not quite the same thing, but I had a friend who wanted a big Sweet 16 party (really 15, a quinceanera). Her parents told her they would pay for her wedding or a coming out party, which did she want? She decided to forego the party.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by toofache32 »

Miriam2 wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Here's a question you guys should have fun with.
Well, I'm not the guy, but I'll weigh in - from a mother's experience.

Look at the PROM as the beginning of the end of any reasonable young daughter budget. The dress is only one very expensive part. There are the color coordinated shoes, the color coordinated shawl, the jewelry, the purse, the items that go inside the purse.
There will be the tanning salon or spray tan expenses, the hair, the "highlights," a cut, then the hair salon appointment hours before leaving for the PROM, with a big tip. Then, the makeup, the nails and a pedicure, and another big tip. Then, of course, the limousine. While at the PROM, they will need a little extra spending cash for the photographer to take special pictures of them with their friends.
The difficulty, as you said in your post, is that parents want to help their daughter learn to budget, but the daughter is going through her high school years with her friends and all this means so much to them. My husband and I look back on this with humor, but there was a fair amount of family tension over these things. What to us seemed so trivial and unnecessary, to our daughter was so emotionally important. Emotional rifts are hard to repair.
And all these expenses are a dress rehearsal for what is coming next year - the college sorority experience.
I'm a guy and I have never paid attention to a girl's shoes or nails. This is typical women dressing up for....other women.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

Miriam2 wrote:
texasdiver wrote:Here's a question you guys should have fun with.
Well, I'm not the guy, but I'll weigh in - from a mother's experience.

Look at the PROM as the beginning of the end of any reasonable young daughter budget. The dress is only one very expensive part. There are the color coordinated shoes, the color coordinated shawl, the jewelry, the purse, the items that go inside the purse.
There will be the tanning salon or spray tan expenses, the hair, the "highlights," a cut, then the hair salon appointment hours before leaving for the PROM, with a big tip. Then, the makeup, the nails and a pedicure, and another big tip. Then, of course, the limousine. While at the PROM, they will need a little extra spending cash for the photographer to take special pictures of them with their friends.
The difficulty, as you said in your post, is that parents want to help their daughter learn to budget, but the daughter is going through her high school years with her friends and all this means so much to them. My husband and I look back on this with humor, but there was a fair amount of family tension over these things. What to us seemed so trivial and unnecessary, to our daughter was so emotionally important. Emotional rifts are hard to repair.
And all these expenses are a dress rehearsal for what is coming next year - the college sorority experience.
It's been a long time since I was in high school, but I went to both my proms and it never occurred to me or my family, or, as I recall, any of my classmates in that middle class era (and in New England, not Texas) to spend anything like this.

I had a prom dress and shoes. There was a purse and wrap, but the cost of those would have been negligible. I don't recall who paid for the limo. Plus there were the tickets. As I recall my prom photo was a polaroid at my house.

Jewelry for 15 or 16 year olds? Items inside the purse - what, Kleenex, some emergency money, a comb and lipstick? A hair salon - these girls don't know how to do their own hair? Fake tans, are you people kidding me, or is this a Texas or Southern thing? A pedicure, they don't know how to take care of their nails themselves?

Really, this all sounds crazy and out of control. It's a prom, not a wedding.
Last edited by dolphinsaremammals on Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by interplanetjanet »

Sunflower wrote:IMO you should differentiate between the junior prom and senior prom; junior being a dry run and senior you get the limo, or higher priced items. Make this clear. Not quite the same thing, but I had a friend who wanted a big Sweet 16 party (really 15, a quinceanera). Her parents told her they would pay for her wedding or a coming out party, which did she want? She decided to forego the party.
I do want to say, many quinceanera dresses make fantastic prom dresses, and if you're in an area with a large Hispanic population they can be worth looking at. This is what one of my own daughters did.

I remember some kids doing the limo thing when I was in school, but it didn't seem like it was universal by any means (and this was a nice upper middle-class area). Hair and nails, absolutely. I was several years younger than my classmates so I didn't ever do the prom thing, myself.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by HIinvestor »

Back when dinos roamed the earth, I sewed my prom gowns and also my banquet dress. Mom paid for the material. I can't remember our transportation. I did get a lei forceach event, I believe.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by stoptothink »

texasdiver wrote:
And please don't tell me some story about how your daughter made her own dress for $14 and only spent $25 on the night. That's just not going to happen with this kid.
I'll refrain from this, although my first inclination is to tell how I went to three proms for almost nothing and I'm not a dinosaur (33). I'm male, but none of my dates actually bought dresses for that singular event or had hair/makeup done professionally, and we actually got together to make the boutonniere and corsage together (fun and not hard at all)....and two of them ended up being prom queen in two different very large southern California high schools.

BUT, the thing that really stood out to me is that your daughter has an after-school job, why is paying for her (junior) prom your concern? Good learning experience about needs/wants and working and saving. Maybe make it all up to her and then the day of give her a cash gift.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by StevieG72 »

Have you cleaned your guns?

Excuse the language in the video..... But this will be me when the time comes.

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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by market timer »

Isn't this the entire point of high school McJobs?
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by livesoft »

I guess proms are a big deal in my neck of the woods. There are lots of prom dresses in resale shops, so say $100. Photos can be taken by the parents. Dinner and limo was done with as a group thing, so the cost of limo was split. I know my daughter had a job and an allowance at the time, so I didn't see any hit to my checking account. I posted photos to my web site for the other parents to pick up.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by prudent »

Can't believe I'm going to write this, but anyway... I have seen some heartbroken young women who didn't have the prom they hoped for when their parents clamped the wallet shut. Wasn't a question of "could they afford it". And I'm not talking about a $1,000 evening either. Some girls want to do a group thing with friends (hair, makeup, nails, transportation, after-prom, etc.) and I think it's important for them to be able to participate at the level their friends are doing (if reasonable). If that's your daughter, don't make her have to cheap out if at all possible or not be able to do those things with her friends. High school girls are insecure enough as it is - it unfortunately can be devastating to be on the outside looking in at their friends for the prom. Much easier to say "no" to other activities if her friends are doing something extravagant (spring break in Cancun).

And other girls I know are completely satisfied with a low-budget affair, bless them for not getting caught up in the frenzy.
3feetpete
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by 3feetpete »

I'm with Prudent. When you signed up for parenthood you weren't thinking budget. Let your daughter have her day but have her mom involved in the major purchases so she doesn't go too crazy.

And besides the social aspects for safety reasons you want her to be with a group and have a limo. That is money well spent.
Rodc
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Rodc »

Lafder wrote:100 max for EVERYTHING which they want to include dress, shoes, makeup, dinner.

Really I would want it to come out of her regular allowance. But I would be talked into giving an extra 100 for a special event.

Luckily there are stores that have niceish/formalish dresses for under 50$ I have never paid 100$ for a dress for myself and no way would I encourage my daughter to do so.

No, not even on a wedding or graduation dress did I spend 100$ !!

Limo!? I would definitely not give any extra for that and luckily she has not asked. It is not the norm even at her private school.

Agreeing with your partner is a factor, as well as what the other kids are doing.


Good luck!!
lafder
The blue seems to contradict everything else.

I got to skip this as dd did not go to prom - just not interested. So anything I say is theoretical.

But I agree with the idea of sitting down and setting a budget and let her deal with it. It will be an excellent learning experience. She may or may not struggle with getting everything in on her budget but that is ok. You may want to set up a few "milestones" where she reports back how she is doing, not for you to correct or direct, but to make sure she has a sounding board in case she is stuck or confused. This is likely to be difficult for her. First time you have to plan something kind of complicated to a budget is hard for most people.

Good luck with getting your wife on board. Would be nice, but may not be possible.

In the end Drama is like to rise at times, but try to stay calm and neutral!

We all do find ourselves in a given culture with local norms. We don't have to totally give in to local norms, but there are costs to acting totally outside those norms, in this case to your relationship with your daughter and her relationship to her friends. So I would take them into consideration, but would not be taken hostage to them either.

I also think there may be value in having her take some of the costs on. I'm not sure which is best, fixed amount or percentage, though maybe the later. One thing I have learned is many times what is a "need" when the kids think they are spending my money quickly becomes an "I don't need" when they find out they are spending their own money (even if they have enough that they in fact could make the purchase if it were a true high priority).

Best of luck.
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Sents
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Sents »

I would spend what you can comfortably afford without spoiling her too much. Perhaps your daughter knows how much her friend's parents are spending and can contribute some feedback. I guess the goal is to make her feel special and fit in with her friends & crowd at the event... Good luck...
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Lafder
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Lafder »

My point was having both parents on the same page that there is no point in you saying one amount and the other parent giving more money (or vice versa).

When I said it depends on what the other kids are doing, I meant you have to take that into consideration in your decisions as well as your own family budget/values.

Luckily my daughter and her friends have never brought up a limo, so I have not had to say no. But if all of her friends had made that decision and I refused to help pay, she would be left out and I would feel bad.

There is a way for me to set a budget and her to chose to spend $ on limo vs dress.

I see my daughter and her friends go shop for dresses for events, as well as reuse what they have. The last matching dresses she and her friends bought cost under 25$ There are many other dances/events than just prom where I live.

I think some of the best advice given is to set an allowance /budget for clothes for the year, and let your child make choices on how to spend her $$ herself. Include what you are comfortable spending, or spending already. It is likely no amount will feel like "enough" to most teens. Perhaps they can do extra chores for more ?

lafder
killjoy2012
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by killjoy2012 »

Sunflower wrote:IMO you should differentiate between the junior prom and senior prom; junior being a dry run and senior you get the limo, or higher priced items. Make this clear.
+1. Senior prom is one thing; all other dances throughout high school are another, including junior prom. Even as a guy, for senior prom, you're looking at $300-400 minimum... tux rental ($100-175), limo ($50-300 depending on how many you can split with), prom tickets, after party tickets, her flowers for the dance, possibly flowers @ school the last class day before, etc.

While I get women need a new dress for each dance, and hair/makeup... it shouldn't at the level of senior ball or a wedding.
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by livesoft »

I would say a limo for group transportation is cheap. Plus all your own cars get to stay in your garage and are no where near any teen-age drivers on prom night. Besides, do you want a teenage boy driving your daughter around that night without her girlfriends?
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Rodc
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Rodc »

livesoft wrote:I would say a limo for group transportation is cheap. Plus all your own cars get to stay in your garage and are no where near any teen-age drivers on prom night. Besides, do you want a teenage boy driving your daughter around that night without her girlfriends?
And likely drinking?

For this reason many schools now require all kids show up at the school to be bussed to the event. Then the event is locked down and lasts all night.

But having a professional driver is a good idea otherwise.
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texasdiver
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by texasdiver »

Thanks guys for all the advice. Here there is just one prom that both juniors and seniors attend. Do some of you have separate junior and senior proms? Or are you just distinguishing between junior and senior year prom experiences? The actual event is actually at the school not some hotel and they have an official parent-catered after prom party at the local university to keep the kids from their own devices.

I think the strategy we will take is for daughter to compile a complete list of projected expenses and we will make a budget together. She will have to research what stuff costs if she wants it in the budget. Then we will negotiate a final budget based on what we and her are willing to contribute. Having it all down on paper before hand may be an eye-opening experience for her as I suspect most of her friends just traipse around with mom and her credit card in tow and don't really have any idea what they are spending. And it will give us leverage down the road when she decides she needs something else not in the budget. The last two years the daughter has showed up at prom as the yearbook photographer so this will be the third one she has actually been to but the first as a participant. That means she knows the drill and is very much into doing it "right" in her eyes. She runs with a crowd that will probably be doing medium to extravagant prom experiences and I don't want to be the mean dad but I also intend for this to be an educational experience about budgeting and priorities. I think she is planning to go with a group rather than a specific guy as a date. But that can always change I guess.

Luckily daughter #1 is the complete opposite and will be one of the eclectic kids who makes her outfit of Converse sneakers and duct tape or uses an outfit she found at the local Good Will or Ebay. Or will just skip the whole "nonsense" all together and asks to spend the money on a new telescope or books instead.

Daughter #3 will be more like daughter #1 but more confident and less obsessive about the details.
Rodc
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Rodc »

texasdiver wrote:Thanks guys for all the advice. Here there is just one prom that both juniors and seniors attend. Do some of you have separate junior and senior proms? Or are you just distinguishing between junior and senior year prom experiences? The actual event is actually at the school not some hotel and they have an official parent-catered after prom party at the local university to keep the kids from their own devices.

I think the strategy we will take is for daughter to compile a complete list of projected expenses and we will make a budget together. She will have to research what stuff costs if she wants it in the budget. Then we will negotiate a final budget based on what we and her are willing to contribute. Having it all down on paper before hand may be an eye-opening experience for her as I suspect most of her friends just traipse around with mom and her credit card in tow and don't really have any idea what they are spending. And it will give us leverage down the road when she decides she needs something else not in the budget. The last two years the daughter has showed up at prom as the yearbook photographer so this will be the third one she has actually been to but the first as a participant. That means she knows the drill and is very much into doing it "right" in her eyes. She runs with a crowd that will probably be doing medium to extravagant prom experiences and I don't want to be the mean dad but I also intend for this to be an educational experience about budgeting and priorities. I think she is planning to go with a group rather than a specific guy as a date. But that can always change I guess.

Luckily daughter #1 is the complete opposite and will be one of the eclectic kids who makes her outfit of Converse sneakers and duct tape or uses an outfit she found at the local Good Will or Ebay. Or will just skip the whole "nonsense" all together and asks to spend the money on a new telescope or books instead.

Daughter #3 will be more like daughter #1 but more confident and less obsessive about the details.
Sounds like a good plan. Good luck.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
HIinvestor
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by HIinvestor »

Sounds like you and your W have found a good way to make this a learning experience.

For us, our kids had a lot of health issues that made HS difficult and we wanted our kids to enjoy any social activities they felt healthy enough to participate in so we didn't really do formal budgetting. As it was, I am not good at alterations and D & I both agreed that finding something that didn't need alterations was key. For the rest of the expenses, she did mostly what the others in her group of friends were doing and it worked out in our household.
ShiftF5
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by ShiftF5 »

Miriam2 wrote:
texasdiver wrote:And this is just daughter #1. There are 2 more to come.
Oh my, have you got your hands full :shock:
Great time to define exactly how this goes.

I like the suggestion of line items + total and you agree to pay X, anything above that is on her.

Great learning moment.
Hug401k
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Hug401k »

Oh dear, you said the dreaded word in all formal events. "Dallas". I guess because things are bigger in TX that every formal event in TX seems to be double in size, importance and expense from anywhere else in the country. The sister location of my old company is in Dallas. The other half is in Massachusetts. It's an interesting combo. Even at the company xmas party, the women in Dallas go get their hair done and wear evening attire. Everyone in MA wears their good suit to work that day and throws on some lipstick.

I'd give her enough to have to make a few tough decisions and watch her budget. I've got to think that's going to be $700 minimum in Dallas. I think you have a great approach. Let's us know the final numbers so I can start the savings account for my 9 yr old. :)
MatSci
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by MatSci »

Well, the Bogleheads are nothing if not predictable. The OP said that stories of $14 dresses and $25 dollar budgets were not realistic, so he gets a bunch of stories and advice that raise the cap all the way to $100.

For those not in the know, the average prom expense hit a peak in 2013 at $1139, according to this link http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-m ... urvey-says.

By the way, the highest costs were on the coasts, not in the South.

Yes, I realize that average and median costs are not the same thing, but $100 budgets are not realistic for most kids. I agree with many of the other posters that this may be a good time to have a child work on a budget, but be aware that expectations are likely very skewed.

If you don't know why, you clearly have not been watching your MTV, which feeds a constant stream of shows like My Super Sweet 16. The show follows spoiled rich kids around as they throw complete meltdown level tantrums when they are told they won't be able to hire top level touring musical acts to play their private party (except for the episodes where they do hire these acts). Typical costs are probably in the range of $100,000 (including the de rigueur new car); although the highest costs for parties on the show have reached $200,000.

After being deluged by this kind of excess for a good portion of their young lives, spending 'only a few thousand dollars' on prom seems like the very height of restraint and self-denial.
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Sunflower
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by Sunflower »

texasdiver wrote:Here there is just one prom that both juniors and seniors attend.
Yes, one prom. You stated your daughter is a junior. Next year she'll be a senior and there will be another prom. Basically, your daughters will be going to two proms in a row. Just letting you know so you can get that wallet prepared. :D
HIinvestor
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by HIinvestor »

Also, if your D has friends at other schools, it is possible that she may be invited to proms at other schools, which is more $$$. I attended proms and banquets at other HSs, as did my sister. Whatever you do with this D, this year will set the bar for future events--for her and other kids in your home, so think carefully.
surfhb
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Re: Prom budget for teenage girl?

Post by surfhb »

The best option for both you and her is probably have her pay the entire share of the cost but i seriously doubt that's going to happen. People who grow up in an environment where these kind of things are freely paid for by the parents don't become good money managers as adults....that's just a fact.
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