By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Prom season will soon be upon us and while spending on the big night is down overall, there’s one surprising area where students are shelling out big bucks. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan takes a look at the numbers and has advice for parents.

An annual survey of prom spending by Visa finds teens and their parents will spend on a national average of $919 dollars on proms this year, down six percent from last year.  The cost includes money spent on dresses and tuxes, limos, tickets, flowers and pictures, and events before and after the actual dance.

The biggest prom spenders are in the northeast, where those surveyed forecast a total spending of $1169.  That’s $738 for prom night, and $431 for what are being called prom-posals, elaborate invitations that can mirror a marriage proposal.

The survey finds also finds that:

– 73 percent of parents say they’ll foot the bill for the prom.

– Dads plan to outspend moms by 63 percent

– Lower income families will spend almost double that of middle class families.

In addition to making a budget, and sticking with it, teens can trim some of their prom costs by sharing a limo with friends, and taking their own prom pictures now that so many have smartphones.

By the way, those prom-posals that I mentioned have become significantly more extravagant in recent years representing up to a third of the cost of the prom itself.  And if you’re wondering what can cost that much: Some examples are invitations via skywriting, or made by entire school choirs.