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Canadians downsizing prom spending this year

Visa Canada survey reveals Canadians planning to spend less this year; Visa's "Plan'it Prom" App helps manage budget and savings

Toronto, ON – March 31, 2015 – A new national survey released today by Visa Canada shows that Canadians are holding the purse strings a little tighter this coming prom season. Canadian households with teenagers plan on spending an average of $508 this year on prom, compared to $804 last year. Parents with teenage daughters plan to spend more ($424) than those with teenage sons ($278), and moms overall are far freer with their funds, planning to spend $588 compared to dads ($431). Canadian parents are also shifting the costs to their kids slightly more, shelling out for 76 per cent of their children's prom costs, compared to 81 per cent last year.

To help make prom a teachable moment, Visa Canada is offering a free smartphone app aimed at prom-going teens. Plan'it Prom allows users to make a realistic, detailed prom budget and then helps them stick to that budget by allowing them to track their spending as they shop. Plan'it Prom is available in the iTunes App Store, Google Play and from

"It's good to see that Canadian families are being conscious of their spending," said Carla Hindman, Visa Canada's Director of Financial Education. "Prom is absolutely a special occasion for teens, but it's also a great chance for parents to share a valuable financial lesson before their kids go off to college or university."

The survey, conducted separately in the United States during the same time period, found that Americans are spending far more on prom plans, with an intended spend of $919 USD. Contrary to Canadians, American dads are the bigger spenders. They plan to spend $1160 USD, compared to American moms who plan to spend $710 USD.

The survey also demonstrates that the 'promposal' trend – a public prom invitation modelled on a marriage proposal – is a far bigger deal south of the border. Thirty-five per cent of Canadian families with teens reported no plans to spend any money on a promposal, and the remaining 65 per cent only planned to spend an average of $151. In the United States, however, households with teens plan to spend more than double, $324 USD, on a promposal.

"Spending that much money just to invite your date is impractical," said Hindman. "There may be a better way to spend those dollars; in fact there are lots of ways to cut costs without sacrificing the fun of prom. The Plan'it Prom app can help teens maximize their memories without breaking the bank."

Check out Plan'it Prom to help save on the cost of the big night, with tips like this:

  • The Favourite – Focus on investing in one desired item and spend frugally on other items.
  • The Makeup and Hair – Join forces with a talented friend to do hair and makeup for free.
  • The Outfit – Shop early and shop often! Knowing prices and watching for sales can help teens find a great deal – and savvy shoppers can score amazing finds at consignment and thrift shops.
  • The Transportation – Split the cost of a limo with friends or research untraditional transportation like renting a bus.


About the Surveys
*The survey results are based on 1009 live telephone interviews conducted nationally in Canada among adults 18+, using dual frame sampling (landline & cell phones) in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel. The interviewing dates were February 3 – 8, 2015 and the margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points (larger for subgroups such as households with teenagers).

*The US survey results are based on 3041 live telephone interviews conducted nationally in the United States among adults 18+, using dual frame sampling (landline & cell phones) in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel. The interviewing dates were January 21 – 25, 2015 and the margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points for the overall sample (larger for subgroups such as households with teenagers).

About Visa Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks – VisaNet – that is capable of handling more than 56,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead of time with prepaid or pay later with credit products. For more information, visit and @VisaNewsCA.

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Laura Crochetiere
+1 (416) 598-5790