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Turn the prom into a lesson in budgeting

Pricey proms

Prom season is here and anxious parents are finding costs for this rite of spring can be staggering.

You know the response that you get when a discussion on prom costs takes place. "But I am only in high school once!" your child is likely to say. Hard to argue with that logic, even if many kids go to multiple proms.

So what do you do when faced with the high cost of prom dresses or tux rentals, and transportation, and flowers, and the tickets?

The average family will spend $1,139.00 this year on prom expenses, according to a survey by Visa, Inc. Over time, the prom has become an exercise in keeping up with the Kardashians in terms of fashion.

You can either shrug your shoulders, and fall in line and in debt, or you can turn this springtime social event into a learning experience.

Budgeting for the ball

Why not tell your prom king or queen it is time to learn how to make a budget? This can be a valuable and practical financial lesson, as for many of these prom-going teenagers, college is fast approaching.

Saving some money by approaching the prom with a smart financial approach can help when it comes to getting ready for college as soon as this fall.

The approach is simple. First, set a reasonable and firm budget for the expenses, dress or tux, shoes, hair, transportation, tickets, pictures, after-party plans, etc. It is important to have your child take ownership of a portion of the prom expenses. If they have a job, make it clear they are responsible for a percentage of the cost.

Having your child decide what is important in the budget is a good lesson in how to stretch a dollar with limited funds. It is a skill they can certainly use in college and in life.

You may also find that, by working with your child in this lesson in life and finances, they may find the prom is a nice event to enjoy, but there are bigger and better experiences ahead. This one night will not define their existence and, in the end, you may have not only less drama to endure, but will have taught a valuable lesson.

This entry was posted in finance, budget, budgeting, Money Matters, prom