Average family spends nearly $1,000 on prom

The bad news is that teens are still spending close to $1,000 on the big night.

This year, American families with teens are spending an average of $978. That is 14 percent less than last year's $1,139 average, according to a new nationwide survey released by Visa Inc. This is the first time in the past three years that spending has decreased for the event.

To save on the cost of prom, Practical Money Skills For Life has provided some tips:

  • Shop for formal wear at consignment stores or online. As with tuxedos, many outlets rent formal dresses and accessories for one-time use.
  • Have make-up done at a department store's cosmetics department or find a talented friend to help.
  • Split the cost of a limo with other couples or drive yourselves.
  • Take pre-prom photos yourself or use cell phones or digital phones for candids at the events.
  • Work out a prom budget in advance to determine what you can afford. Parents, set a limit of what you will contribute and stick to it.

Visa has also created an app to help teens stick to their prom budgets. The free Plan'it Prom app lets users make a realistic, detailed prom budget and then helps them stick to that budget by allowing them to track their spending as they shop. Plan'it Prom is available in the iTunes store, the Google Play store and from www.practicalmoneyskills.com/prom.

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