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Price of Prom On Decline, But Still High

Prom spending is expected to fall 14% this year, to an average of $978 per household.

SPRINGFIELD, MO -- After three years of increased spending on prom nationwide, parents and teens are expected to spend less on the annual formal this year.

From the dress to the shoes, jewelry, dinner, and limo, prom can come at a hefty price.

"I think last year we spent about $500," said Tammy Stephens.

Tammy and her daughter McKayla spent Tuesday afternoon shopping for prom dresses.

"I don't want to spend more than $250 if at all possible," Tammy said.

According to a new survey by Visa, prom spending is expected to fall 14% this year, to an average of $978 per household.

That accounts for prom attire, limo rental, tickets and dinner. Families in the Midwest are the spending the least nationwide, averaging about $835.

The survey also found parents will cover about 56% of those costs, while teens cover the remaining 44%.

"It seems like the teens do help out with a lot of the costs, whether it be parents pay for dress, and they pay for the shoes and the makeup, or part of the dress and divide it and pay for expenses of night," said Andrea Alcorn, the owner of Gracie's Bridal.

Alcorn and Gracie's Bridal manager Elizabeth Pinkley said most girls come in with a budget.

"Whether it be $200 or $600, depends on the person," said Pinkley.

Even with a budget in mind, many teens said you can't sacrifice purchasing that perfect dress, but there are other ways you can save.

"Shoes can range between $50 to $100. Jewelry depends on where you purchase it," said Alcorn.

"But you can save a couple of hundred dollars if you wore your own shoes, maybe borrow jewelry from friends, or if you have a friend that's really great with hair, you can have someone do your hair, too."

Sometimes saving money doesn't trump the total experience of prom.

Gary Spaniak said a ride in his decked out 14-seater limo costs about $750 for five hours, a price he said is worth every penny.

"It's a major part of the memory, it's major part of what's going on," he said.

Setting a hard budget often helps with maintaining your price point, and budgeting tools are available online.

Visa has even launched a new app called Plan'it Prom, which helps users create a detailed budget and track spending.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the free app.
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