Are You Prepared for Extra Expenses Senior Year?

School is just around the corner and this year is exciting for my older son. He will be a senior this year and we all remember when it was our turn. Your child’s senior year will be filled with tons of memories but along with that comes added expenses. Are you prepared for the extra expenses senior year?

Most parents don’t realize that their child’s senior year run up quite the tab before their child even steps across the stage. Those extra expenses during the senior year can be a huge setback if you are not prepared. Not only will you have your typical back to school expenses to plan for but during your child’s senior year. But be prepared to spend several thousand dollars before your child graduates.

Skip Purchasing a High School Ring

Depending on your child’s school, your child may come home with a brochure from Josten’s or another company that sells high school rings during their junior year. This is one item that I talked my kids out of purchasing because once they are out of high school, their class ring will likely sit in their jewelry box never to be worn again.

My high school senior ring is sitting in my jewelry box and I haven’t worn it since 1995 when I graduated from high school. Instead of giving my children a high school ring, I opted to give them a non-traditional ring that they can wear long after they graduate high school. Plus, you can find rings under $100 too (aff link) or find a class ring alternative.

Are You Prepared for Extra Expenses Senior Year?

Senior Photos

Most schools have a specific photographer lined up to take senior photos for the yearbook over summer break prior to your senior year. Keep in mind, you don’t have to purchase the photos from the school’s photographer. The picture packages can easily set you back several hundred dollars.

Instead, of purchasing an expensive package, opt to allow your child to take their yearbook photo in their cap and gown. I was planning on hiring my own professional photographer so that I could purchase the rights to the photos taken and print them myself. But since I have my own professional camera now, I plan on doing his photos once the temperatures cool off.


Do you think your child will want a yearbook? If you want to spend money on a keepsake, this is one item that I would splurge on for my kids. Even though a yearbook usually costs anywhere from $50 to $100, it is worth it in my opinion.

Plus, if you want to include an advertisement page to congratulate your child or treat it like a scrapbook memory page. The best way to determine the price of the ad, you will need to contact the yearbook committee at your child’s high school. But keep in mind these additional fees can easily add up quickly.

Senior Trip

The seniors of the graduating class typically plan a senior trip and all of the students are invited. Depending on the location of the trip, the cost of your child going during spring break can easily send your budget soaring.

In my opinion, a senior trip is more of a luxury item and it isn’t necessary for them to go. Yes, you will likely get the guilt trip but as a parent, do you really want to send your child off to a destination like Disney World, Cancun, or other fun places without your supervision?

College Prep Exams

If your child is planning on going to college, they will need to take the SAT or ACT tests in order to possibly get into the school of their choice. These tests can easily run up a tab especially if your child doesn’t pass the first time. There are also courses available to teach you how to pass the test, which can easily add $100 or more to your tab.

College Application Fees

Colleges usually charge you an application fee just to apply to their college. An application fee doesn’t even guarantee that you will be accepted into the college. College expenses can be rather hefty so it is best if your child narrows down their college choice down to two or three.

This will keep you from shelling out a ton of cash on college application fees. Just remember that in-state tuition is cheaper than out of state colleges. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of visiting several college campuses to determine which college best suits your child.

Do encourage your child to start at a community college and take their basics. Going to a community college for the first two years can save you a ton of money.


Prom is a huge deal for most seniors and if your child wants to go it will easily set you back a few hundred dollars. Of course, if you start shopping for your daughter’s dress now for the best selection. Plus, if you start looking now you might be able to find something on clearance or you can even order a dress online. If ordering online, I highly suggest that you get measured by a professional before placing your order. Prom dress sizes run differently than standard clothing and you don’t want to end up ordering the wrong size.

Boys aren’t quite as expensive to outfit but they are expected to give their date flowers, paying for prom tickets, plan on picking them up possibly in a limo, and after prom activities.

Are You Prepared for Extra Expenses Senior Year?


Don’t forget that you have to purchase shoes, jewelry, and any accessories to go with your prom dress. Girls typically want to have their hair and makeup done by a professional. However, these are things that you can do yourself to save some money. You can probably find plenty of choices on Pinterest that include a tutorial. If you plan on doing your daughter’s hair, you should have a practice run to make sure that it turns out good before the big day.

After you get through the end of your child’s senior year, you will have to purchase your child’s graduation invitations, cap and gown, and tassel. You are looking to spend at least $100 just to get your child ready to walk across the stage. If your school’s invitations are super expensive and you have a large family, I suggest making some cheaper DIY version of your school invitations on your printer. This will reduce costs.

Don’t forget to plan for graduation gifts, parties, and other celebrations for your child celebrating their senior year.

Growing up, I knew that my senior year cost my parents a small fortune. However, I was working and I did help contribute to some of the expenses. My son is about to start his senior year, and I’m not looking forward to all the expenses with the territory. But when you are prepared for the extra expenses senior year, it is easier to manage.

Are You Prepared for Extra Expenses Senior Year?

Are You Prepared for Extra Expenses Senior Year of High School?

20 thoughts on “Are You Prepared for Extra Expenses Senior Year?”

  1. Your article is so true. The last year of high school can be very expensive. And not buying a senior ring is a really great tip.

  2. Senior year is so expensive. My class ring stayed in my jewelry box for years until my daughter wore it and promptly lost it. I agree – yes to the yearbook, no to the senior trip. My grandson will be a senior in two years (time flies) and we’re taking him on a family senior trip as a graduation gift.

  3. My son is a senior and holy crap, it seems like there’s a new fee each week. However, I’m lucky, and he’s not into jackets or rings. He only wanted a yearbook. And he’s not into any of the dances, so that saves too!

  4. Senior year expenses do add up quick! The seniors this year are doing a London/Paris trip that will set the parents back about $3,000! I didn’t do the class ring either, but I did splurge on the yearbook for my oldest daughter’s senior year ($65) then took out a full page ad to congratulate her, which was an additional $200. Well worth the cost, imo. Thankfully, I have a professional camera, so I do a lot of the senior photos for my girl’s friends, which saves their parents quite a bit of money, too.

  5. One more year and we have a senior. I think we should get ready for all those expenses, huh? I agree with a yearbook as a great keepsake though. We actually got our son a yearbook every year since he started high school.

  6. Living in a large family has prepared me for what to expect, but now my youngest has already graduated and I no longer have to worry about this! But this is a great list of what to expect for graduation year

  7. Good point about the high school ring. I don’t know where mine is. The most important thing is not to get sucked into all the marketing hype. Senior year can be fun and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune 🙂

  8. While I know it is a couple of years away before I have a senior in high school, but knowing these details is really helpful to prepare for it!

    • My oldest is a senior this year and I’m dreading all the extra costs. But then again, he doesn’t go to all the dances, homecoming, and what not. So unless something changes, I don’t see him going to prom. But you never know. 🙂


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