Prom Pressure to Empty Pockets
By Lily Munsee
Prom is a night many students look forward to throughout high school. It is a night that allows students to get dressed up, rent a limo, and go to a fancy place. It’s also a night that families are forced to spend tremendous amounts of money on.
Everyone knows Prom is expensive, but it’s difficult to grasp just how expensive it can be until it’s time to break out the checkbook. According to Visa’s annual prom survey, “This year American families will spend an average of $919.”
As overwhelming as $919 seems, it’s actually a lower average than years past. According to Visa, “In 2013 alone, the average cost of prom was over $1,400. In 2014, the average cost of prom totaled over $1,900.”
These unbelievable numbers are quite shocking, but senior Elena Golubovich puts them in perspective.
“A lot of it has to do with the dress, which is a lot; spending the night in San Francisco and the ticket itself, which is almost $100,” said Golubovich.
Senior Sarah Bailey agrees with Golubovich.
“I run the prom dress Instagram, and the dresses girls are getting range from around $100-$500,” said Bailey. “And then there’s hotel expenses, transportation, the ticket itself, and any other expenses.”
There is a lot of criticism focused on the amount people spend on Prom. For girls, their appearance can even become contentious, with a rush to reserve a dress, and fierce tension if anyone purchases the same or similar dress design.
“I don’t necessarily feel pressured to spend a lot,” said Golubovich, “but I definitely want to look good because it’s like a subconscious competition between every girl. Who looks the best? Who has the nicest hair, makeup, dress, shoes?”
Prom is quite a large expense for the guys as well. They have to rent or buy a tux, buy their tickets and possibly their date’s, and pitch in for hotel and transportation.
“Prom is going to cost me anywhere from $250 to $300,” said senior Alex Frey. “I have to get tickets for me and my date and I have to rent a tux.”
Junior Irvin Gonzalez agrees with Frey’s statements.
“My tux alone is going to be $200, and then there’s the hotel and tickets to worry about,” said Gonzalez.
However, the amount guys spend holds no comparison to that of the girls.
“I know some disagree, but girls definitely spend a lot more on prom,” said Golubovich. “I understand renting a tux is expensive, but buying a dress, getting makeup done, getting new shoes, maybe a spray tan, new hair and a lot more adds up to a huge costs for girls. In addition, nowadays girls are more independent and therefore more likely to buy their own ticket or ride, among other things.”
If a girl were to get her nails done in a salon, it could cost $20-$40 depending on whether she gets a manicure, gels, or acrylics. If she goes to a hair salon to get her hair done professionally, most salons around Novato charge $50 and up for Prom hairstyles. For professionally done makeup, it will cost around $50, if not more.
Ultimately, prom is going to be a significant investment, no matter your gender. The hope is that prom is amazing and it’ll all be worth it.
“Yeah, it’s going to cost a lot, but it’s Prom. It’s super exciting and only happens once. It’s going to be great,” said Bailey.