The Senior Year Shopping List is Too Expensive


Stephanie Gallegos, Contributor

As seniors, there are lots of things we have fit into our budget. Cap and gowns, yearbooks, senior pictures, and prom tickets become such an important part of our senior year’s shopping list, we discuss them in our Economics class. We are taught how to manage our money and how to find ways to fit all of these items into our budget.

Overall the amount of expenses that seniors spend during this year is around $600 or more.

Are all of these items actual necessities? The concept of needs and wants is discussed heavily in our classrooms as it is something that teens tend to overlook.

Social expectations emphasize money spending. There are certain social norms that advertise spending a certain amount of money on specific items. For instance, the common misconception about prom is that you need to spend a lot of money on your dress or else it won’t be nice.  When it comes to items such as these, students view cheaper products as having low quality, but most of the time, that is not the case.

As seniors, we must buy our caps and gowns, which are around $40. Without them, we don’t get to walk for graduation.

Another expense is prom tickets. Tickets for prom start off at $80 in the first week of April. After that, prices begin to increase. Prom isn’t a mandatory event, but it is an essential part of the senior experience. It is the biggest dance of the year, a way to celebrate that you are almost done with high school.

Another thing we have to pay for is our senior portraits. There are packages that are available for purchase varying in price. Just the process of taking the picture is around $25. A single picture costs around $40 and the price of packages increase from there.

Senior Caterin Duarte said, “For the quality of the things, the cost is too high. The pictures don’t come out great and there are only two poses for your pictures.”

Yearbooks are a way for students, seniors specifically, to have a memento from high school. Yearbooks start at $80 but increase in price if the demand is high and a new order is necessary. For the yearbook, there are also extra things that you could purchase. If you want a quarter-page for yourself it would be $80, a half page is $150 and a full page is $260.

Senior Jerelyn Garcia explains, “I think that the yearbook is somewhat reasonable because that’s the same amount that other schools sell them for. But, the rest of the expenses are high.”

During this time we’re also in the works of submitting college applications. In order to submit a college application, there’s a fee. The fees range from $5-30, depending on the school. Now. take into account the trips that some students take in order to check out colleges that they’re interested in.

The year high schoolers wait for is senior year. Once it’s time, you finally take into consideration the amount of money that goes into this one year. The amount of effort needed to put into this year and the money is drastic.

What could be done to minimize the number of expenses during this year? Check in with your Economics teacher because this is the class where we finally learn something that’s beneficial to us and something that we will for sure use soon. It is a big part of our lives as adulthood approaches.

I asked a handful of seniors how much they plan on spending for prom and the amount ranged from about $300-$800, the ticket price is included. In addition, most of the seniors have bought their yearbooks, adding $80 more. Now add $40 for the cap and gown because these are not optional. For the senior portraits, each picture is about $45 but you could spend as much as $140 or more, depending on which package you buy.

Could these expenses be draining the parents’ (and students’) pockets, even before heading off to college where much more money shall be spent?

Senior Allison Rodas admits, “I’m wasting money on things that could be used for something else.”