Prom – the glitter, the glam, the…. $1,000 bill???

According to an annual survey conducted by Visa, most families plan on spending about $900 to send a perfectly coiffed teen off to the prom. Families with a household income of less than $25,000, however, take it a bit further. On average, they plan to spend almost $1,400 on Prom Night 2015, a figure equal to more than 5% of their yearly income. Those making more than $50,000 intend on spending a nice chunk of change while using a much smaller portion of their yearly earnings – about $800, less than 2% of their income.

Expenses for the typical dream prom include the cost of formal wear, flowers, photographs and a nice pre-prom dinner. At many schools, the tickets themselves are $100 or more. Throw a stretch limo into the equation and it’s easy to see how prom spending can get out of control.

Unfortunately, the prom isn’t the only way that spending habits could be getting the best of America’s middle class. Every year, we become less inclined to save and more inclined to spend. With so much easily accessible credit and so many pretty things to buy and own, it often seems like there are a lot more incentives to spend, spend, spend, especially now while the economy is strong.

Only about half of Americans have established real savings plans with goals, methods for achieving those goals and some cushion for emergencies and that just so happens to be the higher-earning half. Collectively, we tend to save only about 5% of whatever we make. While it’s true that 5% can add up to a pretty penny, it’s rare that 5% is enough to cover retirement, home and car repairs, educational costs and all the other things Americans save up for… heck it barely covers the cost of cable TV.

Now, before you guys get angry and start sending me the typical – our kids deserve this and you don’t even have children tweets – I am not saying that your child shouldn’t be able to have the prom of their dreams. I am just saying that you shouldn’t charge up your credit cards or pay your rent late to accomplish this. I am a big fan of Rent the Runway or hell borrowing a friends’ gown. Why not rent a prom gown instead of buying one? Young men are not going out and buying a tux for the occasion why should young ladies? Think about it, you will probably never wear this gown again so why the heck should you buy it? We need to start thinking of ways to make prom happen without sending yourself to the poor house.

Now, I like to shop ‘til I drop as much as any other heiress but today I’m sending out an S.O.S. call. It’s time to start Crawling Before You Walk! This means slow your roll, budget, stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians and realize that you can live a perfectly happy life within your own means. It also means that it’s ok to say no. No one will die because you refuse to purchase a pair or Loubs for your daughter to wear to prom or charter a party bus for your son and his friends.

I’m an income protector and a financial fairy godmother. Even with an uncertain future ahead, I can help you establish a savings plan or come up with immediate solutions for your overspending tendencies. We all overspend sometimes. It’s simply a matter of balancing all that out with some savings and budgeting.

When you are truly tired of being sick and tired of worrying about money give me a call. I mean really tired! Don’t waste my time or yours if you aren’t really ready. I should warn you that you should prepare yourself for me to be brutally honest with you. I won’t water it down or add sugar to it but with my help and your willingness to make a true change in your life I bet I can get you on the path to financial freedom!

Happy Crawling!

Buffie the Tax Heiress