It's a night most high schoolers anticipate for years, thanks to the hype from countless rom-coms, magazines and retailers. In past years, parents have looked forward to it too, willingly shelling out over $1,000 for their teen to have a memorable night. This year, not so much - so far, prom spending is at a three-year low.
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In a survey produced by Visa, the average American family will spend $978 on prom this year, down from $1,139. For years, prom spending reached a new high each spring, and this new low marks a turn in the tide of luxury spending for teens.
Of course, the amount of money parents are willing to spend on their child's prom differs across the country. Here in the Northeast, the projected average this year is $1,104. In the Midwest, it's $835, and on the West Coast it's projected to be $1,125.
Visa also found that the money spent on prom isn't all coming directly from parents' bank accounts. Their survey found that parents cover roughly 56 percent of prom costs, with the remaining being covered by the prom-goers. Once Visa realized the amount of money teens themselves were spending on prom, they developed an app to help them budget for it. The new Plan It Prom app helps teens create and stick to their prom budget. They can track their spending as they shop, and there are even social components, using texting and Twitter to include their date and friends in their spending plan. The app is available for Android and iOS.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence