April 14, 2008,
L.G. asks from Hollywood, MD on April 08, 2008
Growing up my parents did not pay for Prom or any related expenses. What should I do if my daughter is expecting us to pay for everything (dress, hair, limo, flowers, pictures, etc.). This is expensive for us and something we do not want to start a tradition of doing in our family. My teenager is very upset by this, especially since "all" her friend's parents are paying for this. I asked her to write a budget and she got annoyed that I would ask her to do that. Any ideas on what to do?
C.H. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
Keep up the good work! You're raising a self-sufficient, money-concious child that will appreciate what she has. It's not easy and she will fight you. My parents did the same to me, and I will do the same with my 3 when they are that age. Just because everyone has or does something, doesn't mean they get to, too. As long as she is working, she should save the money for this. If she is not working, you may want to give her a reasonable (frugal) budget that she can work within - and nothing extra. The only thing necessary for prom is a dress. If she has all of this for prom, then what will make her wedding special?
L.W. answers from Norfolk on April 09, 2008
well if she has a job.. maybe you all could agree to match whatever she can save... that way she is still responsible and will work hard to save. I would also explain the situation... we just don't really have the money... she would just have to deal with that. Good luck
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B.B. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
I guess it's time for a job? This way she gets what she wants - Or does she want it bad enough? If prom is to close to make that happen, maybe she would be able to line up a job before prom, you guys front her the money and she pays you back with money from her job? Prom for my daughter was $600. She worked two months, part-time prior to prom to pay for it. She was happy and got exactly what she wanted.
A.V. answers from Washington DC on April 08, 2008
"All the other parents are doing it?" Makes me laugh. Of course not. We aren't. Our senior is paying his own way (although we've decided that if it comes up, we'll pitch in on a few things to ensure he's safe for the night, like the Post-Prom party tickets).
Hold to your values. My parents didn't shell out oodles of money, either. My mom paid for my dress. I went to Prom in my date's car and we ate with friends at a local Chinese restaurant. I think in some ways, Prom has gotten out of hand.
If she doesn't want to budget with you, she apparently doesn't really want your money. I'd tell her that if she wants help (not a blank check), she needs to sit down and discuss it with you, or she's on her own.
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P.P. answers from Washington DC on April 08, 2008
Set the rules now. If you can help her, by all means do so - but with structure you set. Get a budget and have her "earn" the items. You could have her do extra projects around the house. I have my girls pay half of expensive items they want that aren't necessities. (with chore chart money,etc) I always make sure they get what they want (within reason) but I make them put toward extra things so they appreciate it and think before asking.
Annoyed teenage girl? No kidding, really? Get used to it. If they aren't annoyed you aren't doing your job. My soon to be 15 year old is the one "working" me right now. She is getting a job this summer. As I told her when she tried telling me I'm cheap..."You want too much, you need a job." (I also told her if she called me cheap in front of her friend again I would show her cheap, she was trying to shame me into doing what she wanted. Which btw was buying her shorts on October just because they were on sale-shorts, in October when I was busy buying her fall clothes)
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T.B. answers from Norfolk on April 09, 2008
here is my response to my son when he says "all the other kids...etc" I tell him I am raising HIM...not THEM! anyhoo...my son went to TWO ring dances this year...I paid for the tux...he purchased the tickets, dinner and limo. We split the responsibility within reason! He had to use his own MONEY and it was hilarious to see someone who hates to part with his hard earned money make BUYING decisions!
Keep it simple and choose your battles! hopefully she will only go to PROM once!
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K.B. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
Growing up I too was expected to pay for the extras at prom. My first prom I had to wear my sister's old prom dress!!! How embarrassing! I was the youngest of five kids. When my teenage sons started going to HOmecoming and prom, I paid for the flowers. If they wanted a limo or dinner out they had to come up with the money. Ask your daughter that if all of her friends were jumping off a bridge would she as well. I know that is something our parents used to say but she has to learn within limits. If she wants what everyone else has then she needs to pay for it. If you think it will help tell her you will meet her up to a price. If she has x amount of dollars then you will contribute x amount but no more. Check out consignment shops for dresses. Find a friend who is good with hair and have her/him come over to do her hair. If someone else is good at makeup do the same. It is a special night so make it as special without going broke.
L.L. answers from Dover on April 09, 2008
My daughter graduated in 2007 and all her friends split expenses with their dates. My daughter has held a job since she was 16, so she paid for half the limo, tickets, flowers and the after-prom party. Her date paid for dinner and her flowers, which I think is proper (call me sexist!!??). I bought her dress and paid for her to have her hair done as a special treat...prom is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, right? We found a beautiful dress at Lord & Taylor for less than $200. In my opinion, there's no need to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a dress as I know some of her friends' parents did! Also, the kids picked a reasonably priced restaurant which kept costs down.
Just remember, it is the only prom she'll ever go to, so I would kick in some monetary help IF you can afford it (or find ways for her to earn it around the house). I'm not a big supporter of trying to "keep up" with other kids on a day to day basis, but your daughter should feel really special for this one night :)
K.R. answers from Richmond on April 08, 2008
Does your daughter babysit? We have our 15 yr. old pay for things like this with her babysitting/Christmas/Birthday money. That includes movies & bowling w/friends, BD gifts for her friends, trips to the mall, etc.. Have you been paying for all the other stuff and just don't want to pay for Prom? If they know what's expected of them, they can prepare for it. Maybe she can do some extra work around the house to help pay for some of it. Prom is pretty special, especially if she's a Senior. Offer to take her to one of the nice consignment shops to look for a dress. My kids are accustomed to shopping thrift and consignment. I let them know it not only helps our budget, but is good for the environment to RECYCLE! The kids don't have to take a limo or eat at the most expensive restaurant. You can help her with her hair. It's spring outside - lot's of flowers blooming. There's lots of options - I'm sure you can make it work for her.
If she's not a Senior and wants to go next year, let het know she needs to start saving now. But, do try to work it out for her this year. This is a once a year event that most kids remember the rest of their lives.
J.W. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
Does your daughter have a job? My kids had jobs, we could not afford to pay for Prom, so they paid. I bought the dresses--but only from a discount store--we sure didn't pay more than $100 (and one was less than $20). Your daughter needs to begin to realize the old "money doesn't grow on trees" thing--just because Mom and Dad pay the bills doesn't mean they can pay for everything.
If she doesn't have a job, then you need to take a different approach--like making a budget and figuring out how much she can spend on each item. That's an adult reasonable thong to do. Kids are affected by peer pressure (everyone else's parents are paying--which I'll bet they aren't)parents should be too old for that. Isn't having teens fun????
C.D. answers from Norfolk on April 10, 2008
A million years ago, I paid for my dress and my date paid for my flowers; my mom did my hair and took pictures as we were leaving in his beat up high school guy car.
Last year was my daughter's prom. We found a great vintage dress in a consignment shop, she spray painted an old pair of heels silver (dancer trick), borrowed a beaded purse and fancy barrettes from a neighbor who was excited as we were about decking the girl out. She was going in a group that all bought their own flowers and split the cost of a ride. Neither of us thought the price of the photos the official photographer was charging was worth it, so we took pictures before and they all brought cameras there.
Your daughter has to know that "all" of her friends parents aren't paying for everything, usually. Although my kids go to a school where some parents do, most of them have more sense.