Q: Our daughter is graduating from high school in June. How can we help her to understand that there is a limit on what we are able to spend on her graduation?
A: High-school graduation can be an exciting and emotional time for many families. Grads are looking to celebrate the end of their high-school years and parents wonder where the years went.
As with any special event, it's important that you are able to enjoy the celebration and not end up in debt. If you want your daughter to understand that there are financial limits, you need to include her in the planning process.
Seek her input and discuss grad expenses she might help pay for.
- Consider how you can keep costs reasonable as you plan: Graduation clothing and shoes; hair and makeup; transportation (taxi versus limousine); graduation tickets, gifts and photos; celebrating with family and friends; school graduation activities.
- Start planning now to avoid a budget crisis later. Four to six months before graduation, you should: buy graduation outfits and shoes, remembering to include siblings and parents; book and pay a deposit for transportation.
- Three months before graduation: book hair and makeup appointments; buy graduation tickets; plan your celebration with family and friends.
- One month before graduation: buy gifts; set money aside for hair and makeup costs; finish paying for transportation; buy supplies for grad celebration.
Graduation is as much about the report card, as it is about the celebration. Ensure your own passing grade with a budget and plan that puts you at the top of the money management class.