Teeth, tans, limos and pre-parties lead to £165 average cost of celebrating end of school days
29 June 2015
Making the school prom a night to remember is placing increasing pressure on the bank of mum and dad, according to new research from Nationwide Building Society.
The culture of school proms has taken the UK by storm in recent years, having been adopted from America, where it has long been a significant, and potentially expensive, occasion.
And with the costs soaring, Nationwide is reminding parents to plan ahead and consider opening a youth current account for their children in order to help them save towards the big day. Nationwide’s FlexOne current account, which is available to those aged 11-17, is the most highly rated youth account according to Which?, and offers access to an exclusive FlexOne Regular saver paying 3.50% gross p.a./AER*. The account, which is completely fee-free, provides a range of benefits including 25 per cent discount off Vue cinema tickets and dedicated financial support and help via a 24/7 Twitter service.
The poll, which surveyed the parents of children due to send a child to a prom this year and those whose children have attended a prom in the last two years, shows the average spend is £165, with seven in ten (72%) spending more £100 or more. However, the figures show nearly a third (30%) spend in excess of £200.
It appears that the need to impress at the school prom is beginning to stretch parent’s finances to the limit, with more than eight in ten (86%) stating that there is now too much pressure to spend considerable money on the occasion. This compares to just six per cent who think that there isn’t too much pressure.
And it’s not just new clothes parents are buying, although two thirds (67%) do splash out on buying or hiring outfits. Around four in ten (39%) pay out for transport – with 42% of those arriving in style in a limousine, while 18 per cent will book a taxi.
Almost half (46%) get their hair cut or styled and one in ten get a spray tan. One in five polled said their children either hosted or attended a pre-prom party, while one in 20 got their teeth whitened.
The full breakdown of parents’ prom spend includes:
- Clothing: 67 per cent
- Shoes: 54 per cent
- Hair: 46 per cent
- Transport: 39 per cent
- Accessories: 27 per cent
- Spending money: 24 per cent
- Pre-prom party: 22 per cent
- Beauty treatments: 20 per cent
- Photography: 16 per cent
- Spray tan: 10 per cent
- Gifts for prom partner: 6 per cent
- Teeth whitening: 4 per cent
- Nothing/I'm not sure yet: 3 per cent
- Other: 1 per cent
Phil Smith, Nationwide’s Head of Current Accounts, said: “The recent popularity of American style school proms has the potential to hit parents financially if they are not prepared. Family life can be expensive enough without being broadsided by additional pressures. For those parents intending on planning a big day for their son or daughter, we would suggest perhaps saving into a ring-fenced account. Either way, we would always advise sticking to a budget and managing expectations at the outset, lest the costs spiral out of control. That might mean also managing any teenage tantrums, but hopefully that will be a passing phase!”
“It is also worth considering your child opening their own current account so they can start managing their money and saving towards the things that matter to them. Our FlexOne account is completely fee-free and provides a range of competitive benefits to suit the lifestyles of young people. Having a current account is a great first step towards financial independence and an ideal way to encourage children to start putting money towards something that is special to them”.