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OMG, Prom Spending Is TOTALLY Kicking Ass in 2013!

Consumer sentiment hasn’t been great lately. Some bad data lately — including weak March retail sales and a dip in the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, among others — has investors very concerned about the state of spending and what that means for the fragile recovery.

But there is some good news this week on the consumer front. For the second year in a row, spending on prom has climbed higher, according to a study by Visa (NYSE:V).

The price tag of this high school event for an average family in the U.S. is now $1,139. That’s up 5% nationwide from last year and up again after a 33% year-over-year jump in 2012.

Visa’s prom survey also revealed “some interesting regional and economic disparities.” Or put less diplomatically, how rich New England families are more eager to show off at prom than modest Midwesterners.

Regionally, the survey found:

  • Northeastern families will spend an average of $1,528
  • Southern families will spend an average of $1,203
  • Western families will spend an average of $1,079
  • Midwestern families will spend an average of $722

You might think prom is just an upper-class thing, but a “troubling statistic” unearthed by Visa is that “parents surveyed who fell in the lower income brackets (less than $50,000 a year) plan to spend more than the national average, $1,245, while parents who make over $50,000 will spend an average of $1,129. Additionally, single parents plan to spend $1,563, almost double the amount that married parents plan to spend at $770.”

You can get the full details of the report in this press release from Visa, and if you’re so inclined, check out its associated website Practical Money Skills for Life on tips to save on prom and other important events. You can even download a prom planning app to track costs.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at editor@investorplace.com or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP.

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