Last year I read an article about how much money the average family spent on prom for their kids, and it blew. my. mind. That article has been on my mind for 9 months, and with prom season upon us, it’s a relevant time to consider some crazy statistics and ask some hard questions of ourselves and the families in our ministries.
3 Surprising Stats:
1. The average American family spent $1,139 on prom last year. You can see the breakdown of how your region compared to the mean by clicking here.
2. Families making less than 50k/year and single parent families spent significantly MORE than the average.
3. Families spent 5% more on prom in 2013 than in 2012. I'm betting it will be higher again this year.
4 Things to Consider:
1. Prom has an almost mythical status in our culture. There's a reason that all teenage romance movies climax at the prom. For many teens, going for the first time is a rite of passage. How are your youth group or your parents harnessing the power of this experience? What are you teaching your students along the way?
2. When you spend money, you have an idea of what you hope to receive in return. The larger the investment, the larger the anticipated return. What are we hoping our students will get out of this financial investment? What are they hoping to get out of it?
3. Prom is a night where teens get to pretend to be grown up. Sort of. They dress in formal wear, shed the supervision of most adults, and party like it's 1999. This is a great opportunity to talk about responsibility, choices, and what it means to really be an adult. Set high expectations, not just for the night, but for the men and women they are becoming.
4. It's really, really expensive. The amount of money we're willing to spend on a one-night school dance has, frankly, gotten a bit out of hand. If you and your parents don't already have frequent conversations with your teens about finances, budgeting, stewardship, and generosity, this is a great way to start that discussion.
I'm no curmudgeon. I went to my Junior and Senior Proms. Adjusting for inflation, in today's dollars I spent around $175 (my sister went for less). But what our families do with their money isn't my concern. My hope is that during this prom season we'll be conscientious of what we're spending and use it as an opportunity for teaching our students and helping them grow. I also hope that we'll remind our students that even on an important, emotionally-charged, culturally-hyped night like prom, we never lose perspective. And that perspective starts and ends with Christ.
Want to score big with your students' parents today?
Send them an email with this information and the questions that will get their teens talking. You don't even have to write it! CLICK HERE to use this email I created as your template. (I do the work, you get the credit. What could be better than that?)