Saturday, April 21, 2012

OT: $1000 prom nights and dinners

This is an off topic post. Making the rounds are reports that prom night spending now averages over $1000. To a frugal person, that is stunning, almost unbelievable. Even tougher to process is that low income households (between $20k and $30k per year) tend to spend more than the average. (link1 USA Today). High income families tend to spend less than the average.

Some can read into this, saying that is why the poor are poor, because they blow money on prom nights instead of saving or investing, or using the money to help start a small business. I can see the other side, that this is the one night where the low income kid gets to feel special and live like a wealthy person.

The second news item was the Titanic dinner for $12000 per table, coincidentally about the $1000 per person that prom folks are spending. (link2 Houston Culture). So even in what many see as tough economic times, some have money to spend.

Plenty of pundits advocate frugal living, getting out of debt, and saving more because the end of the financial world is coming. There is something to be said for the opposite, to spend and enjoy life while there are good times to be had. If indeed the sky falls, it usually comes with massive casualties (plague or war or revolution). There aren't many good times available when 25% of the population is dead or dying.

As always, I advocate a healthy balanced approach towards saving, spending and investing. I tend towards the frugal side, but can see the other side too. I don't think the sky is going to fall any time soon. The key word is balance. Find that balance.

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