I love my child.
She works two jobs, gets good grades and knows her way around the bargain racks when it comes to shopping. Over the years she has come to expect financial limits from me, and she's not ashamed to 'shop vintage' at Goodwill or go without. She's also had a student checking account for well over a year, and she knows how to spend money wisely and knows the value of saving money.
And while I've grown accustomed to paying cash for things, I've recently discovered that what she and I are spending for her to go to prom is in line with what others seem to be spending in the Midwest... about $700, according to a story published on Mail.com. This includes the dress, the nails, the hair, the make-up, the shoes, and the flowers.
Is this a lot of money? Yes. Can I afford it? Yes. She's my only child and after having been unemployed and in grad school for two years we cut back on a lot of stuff so I feel...
Do I sound like I'm justifying this? Why yes.... yes I am.
According to the story:
The Visa survey found that teens are covering 39 percent of the cost, while parents are planning to pay for 61 percent.
'One of the reasons that prom spending may be running amok is that parents are paying the vast majority of the costs, giving teens little incentive to economize,' said Jason Aldreman, senior director of global financial education at Visa Inc.
Well Jason, I am proud to say that I didn't use my Visa to pay for my kid's prom and she'll be footing some of the bill as well. We're 'cash only' girls and we like it that way, but I was rather surprised to learn that people making the least spent the most, according to a Visa survey.
Still I had one of those 'feeling old' moments when the kid and I went shopping for dresses with her friend. Her friend's mom and I both commented on how much more we we're spending compared to how much we spent on our prom. I actually had my dress made for $75, but that was almost 25 years ago.
But the story eludes to something bigger at work here that I thought was interesting, the idea that parents are seeing prom as a Cinderella moment... a chance to capture the attention or at least compete with those who are well off financially. Prom seems to be a "social arms race," Alderman said.
I look at prom a little differently in that it offers kids the chance to dabble in the grown-up world, but I don't know maybe I'm missing something.
What do you think?