Canadians plan to spend more than $500 on prom this year: survey

How much do you think should be spent on prom?. Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

TORONTO — Prom, grad, formal — whatever you call it, Canadians plan to spend about $300 less on it this year than last, according to a national survey by Visa Canada.

“When it comes to high school students, there’s kind of no bigger event for these guys than prom. It’s a huge deal, it’s a rite of passage,” said Carla Hindman, Visa Canada’s Director of Financial Education.

She thinks it’s also an opportunity to start a conversation about spending and money management, “especially when you see the kind of money people are spending.”

The Visa survey shows households with teens are prepared to dish out an average of $508 on the big event this year, compared to $804 last year. And parents will likely foot three-quarters of the bill.

“In Canada, moms are a little freer with their funds than dads. But it’s opposite in the States,” Hindman added.

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South of the border, American dads plan to pay US$1,160 on their child’s grad night, which is $450 more than American moms.

Eating up a big chunk of that money will be the “promposal.” As the name suggests, it’s a grandiose invitation to prom, modelled after a marriage proposal. In Canada, 65 per cent of graduating teens are willing to spend $151 just to ask out their date.

READ MORE: Toronto high school restricts ‘Promposals’

“What kills me, what I think is absolutely shocking is that in the States, that number’s more than double: $324 for a promposal alone,” Hindman exclaimed. “So we’re not even talking prom night, we’re talking inviting someone to the prom.”

WATCH: Have ‘Promposals’ gone too far?

 Some prom money-saving tips to keep in mind:

  • Set a budget. Visa has come out with an app called Plan’it Prom (available for iPhones and Androids) which makes that part a little easier.
  • Search for deals — find a daily deal for your hair (if you insist on getting it done) from sites like Groupon or LivingSocial, get your makeup done for free at a department store, or maybe even rent a dress (which tends to be the priciest part of prom).
  • If there’s one item (like the dress) that’s make or break then go for it, Hindman said, and maybe save on something else (like the shoes).


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