Monday, April 27, 2009


Prom was on Saturday.  Here is Jester with his date.  He is the only one of our seven children who attends school outside our home.  He transferred to the local public school in November, and seems to be doing very well.  He is taking advantage of all the extras of public school life.

After saying good-bye to Jester and his date, I asked Jouster, who has never been to a prom (and most likely will never go to one) if he felt bad he didn't get to experience this teenage 'rite of passage'.  He said, "Are you kidding me?  I'd rather save my money."

He was right about the money thing.  I didn't realize how much money people spent on prom until I saw first hand.  The prom attendees gather at the local Library to have a photo shoot  early in the day.  I couldn't believe the elaborate dresses, bouquets of flowers, accessories, tanned skin, artificial nails, and professionally done hair.  It made me a little sick to think of the cost some people put into the prom.  Does anyone remember that about 950 employees at a local plant here in town, lost their jobs just a few months ago?  Apparently prom is recession proof.  Watching a stretch limo pull up to haul a load of students to The Cities for a meal before the big dance made me realize how ridiculous and showy this event really is.

I couldn't help but think how much money was spent on prom in our town alone--The amount spent nation wide must be unfathomable.  Jester said he and his date went the cheap flowers, she found an inexpensive dress online, he wore his own dress shoes instead of renting a pair with his tux, they chose to eat at a local restaurant instead of driving to The Cities, she didn't pay for an updo, no professional photos, no hotel room afterward (yes, hotel is now part of that rite of passage)  and neither of them paid the extra fee to participate in the grand march.  They still spent close to $400.  I wonder if those couples who spent two to three times more on prom had more fun than Jester and his gal?  I read on Wealth Junkie$ that if kids took the $1000 they'd spend on prom, invested it, and earned just 8% until they retired, they would have $37,000. 

I went to prom.  Yes, I had fun and I am certain my parents would have had a hard time convincing me to skip it and invest the money instead.  But now I think it would be fun if I had taken expenses from both my proms, and my date's expenses, and invested it.  I'd call up my 'could have been' prom dates when I turn 65, meet for coffee and talk about how much fun we could have had as teenagers.  I'd pull out a wad of cash and split that $37,000 (maybe not evenly since I was the smart one to forego prom and invest the money wisely).  Then we'd take the real loves of our lives on fun vacation getaways, or put the cash toward our snowbird campers.  I can guarantee you, none of us would then regret missing prom.  Now, if only I can convince the rest of my kids...


  1. Lovely photo of the Prom couple! We were in perkins the other evening and noticed some Prom goers there? Far Guy said "What Guy would take his prom date out for dinner at Perkins?" We decided that it was a sign of economic times.
    Personally I could never understand all the big hoopla about prom...but my girls was something they had to save for tho..and then decided if the expense was worth it:)

  2. She found her dress online?? is really pretty and fits her great.

    We don't have to pay to be in the grand march here but there are still quite a few expenses! I can't believe how much money those dresses are now...and of course you can't wear it more than once!!!!!! I think I wore the same one 2 years in a row and used it for the snow queen contest and senior pictures too...that is unheard of now!!!!

    Last year Courtney did the whole fingernail thing....this year I bought her fake ones at walmart for $5 and polish from Vamp and they were just as pretty as the $50 we spent on them last year. I also made her wear the same shoes she wore last year...shhhh don't tell her friends.

  3. That's funny -my thought was similar to Frazzled Farm Wife - that dress fits her so well! Hard to believe she bought online - that's awesome!

    My school did not have a prom, so I didn't realize I was missing anything. But, they do look great all dressed up!

  4. I went to two proms ten years ago - where we still had the things like professional hairdos and limos - but it just seems like so much less than what I see of today's proms. Even attending a boarding school with a high income demographic, I can't think of anyone who spent even close to $1000. When I look at area town papers' coverage of the prom, I'm totally amazed by how much the idea and meaning of prom has changed in only 10 years. Prom was always important, but it seems *ultra* important now. I suspect it has something to do with all those shows that glorify bad behavior and bad taste - that "Sweet 16" show and all the "Bridezilla"-type bridal shows.

    Love the pic!



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