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Old 09-25-2012, 09:51 PM   #16
MrsPete
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Originally Posted by clh2 View Post
Absolutely...again we only ordered "5" announcements from Josten's. One for DD's scrapbook, and one for my parents. And 3-others that will probably never get used.

The etsy design we used was:

The cost to have this done was $15, and then we had reprints done at Costco for $0.39 each (or was it $0.40). There are many desgins that are $10, and some even less than that - this particular design just suited my DD to a tee. You can design invites in the photo websites for Walgreens, Walmart, etc too, and then you just pay for the printing. I just happened to "really" like the etsy design best. Again - it just "fit" our DD. We didn't "get" the invites from the etsy shop - just the file. Hope that makes sense!
We used an online printing place -- Pear Tree was in the name. We ordered two-sided announcements that invited people to her graduation, her luncheon beforehand, and ended with a line telling where she would attend college /what she would study.

We bought 25 announcements (included 3 pictures of her) plus color-coordinated cards with her name on the front (to use as Thank Yous -- cards that actually read Thank You on the front are so crass). I want to say it was in the $35-40 range. The school invitations would've cost $12-15, but they were ugly.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
Thank Yous -- cards that actually read Thank You on the front are so crass.
Seriously?
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:35 AM   #18
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Order everything early as the prices will go up later on. I did get his senior pictures since he's not a camera person-that was my biggest expense. We just ordered the basic invitations, cap/gown set, and a cove for his diploma. As for prom he paid his own gas and for dinner. I rented the tux and shoes from a local shop that had a special for his high school and he just went kinda basic but looked so good. I have a DSL Cannon camera so the girls mom and I took them to a local university that has a lake and rose garden and I took their pictures. When they left for dinner, me and her mom took off to Walmart and got a lot of pictures printed right in store. We both got all the pics on a cd, and bought photos albums right there and loaded them up at home. They each had a nice album of pictures on their beds when they got home.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:44 AM   #19
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Oh, the list can be rather long:

Senior pictures - Done, as I mentioned.

Cap & Gown pictures - Not done around here.

Senior yearbook - already ordered and no more expensive than last year.

Special page in the yearbook - not done around here.

Class group picture - not aware of this... maybe it comes in the spring??

For athletes, recognition ad in the sports media guide - never heard of such a thing and DD is a 3 year varsity swimmer.

For athletes, sports team pictures - this is a yearly thing and only about $20

Cap and gown - obviously, but already prepared.

Clothing for graduation - actually bought MY dress for her graduation yesterday on clearance at Macy's! I'm sure she will just wear a sundress and sandals, as that is what most of the girls do.

Announcements & name cards, party invitations - Not sure what a "name card" is and I will be making the combined announcements/invites myself.

Class tee-shirts, sweatshirts, keychains, extra tassels (all sold along with cap and gowns) - t-shirts are in the works, never seen or heard of class sweatshirts or keychains here. Extra tassels I assume are for honor societies?? DD is in NHS, Latin HS and Spanish HS, so I am already assuming that there will be extra expenses for graduation attire for those.

Class ring -- though I think most people buy these junior year - Around here it is sophomore year usually. We gave DD $$ for her ring for Christmas last year and she ordered it this summer and it came the first week of school. It was a bit more than we had planned, but not terribly expensive and it was a Christmas gift.

Letterman's jacket -- again, most people buy them earlier, though you might add patches senior year - Not something I've seen around here. Didn't even realize that schools still did those.

College visits (gas, meals, time) - I consider these "college" expenses and honestly, we drive so much already for swim and such, a few more tanks of gas aren't really noticed. I try hard to pack meals and snacks in the car whenever possible....both for health reasons and for budget reasons. We are heading to RI this weekend to re-visit two schools and will stay overnight with family nearby to save on hotel costs.

College tees /sweats -- at least for the school she chooses - Not a necessity and again, we've seen that many of the colleges offer either a free t-shirt after you are accepted or at least a discount in the campus book store. And this is NOT a senior year necessity. If she has made a college choice by Christmas, then I will suggest she ask for college gear for gifts.

College admissions fees ($50-80 per school) - Again, I consider this a "college" expense and we are prepared for it.

Transcripts for each college application - See above

SAT or ACT fees - She took the SAT last year and is taking it again next month, hoping to improve her math score. Not such a major expense.

AP testing fees - Did 3 last year and will do 3 again this year. Money well spent.

AP test prep books -- well worth the money - Not a necessity and probably will NOT buy any. The AP teachers offer enough extra study sessions and a lot of AP prep is available free online.

Acceptance fee once she chooses her college -- I don't remember paying money to accept when I was a student, but I could be wrong - Never heard of such a thing, other than a tuition deposit. But again, I consider this a college expense and it will come from her college savings.

Housing down payment - see above.

Doctor's visit for college health form & vaccinations - Health insurance will pick this up.

College orientation fee -- orientation is mandatory - College expense.

Dorm stuff like lamps and bedsheets - Already told her to start asking for this stuff for Christmas and I have already been putting a bit aside for such things (although I KNOW not to buy anything decorative as she and any potential roommates may want to coordinate this stuff).

Laptop for college - Already planned for.... may be her HS graduation gift.

Prom expenses -- possibly other special events such as Homecoming dances, Semi-formal, Volleyball Banquet, etc. - Homecoming is Friday. She is still debating whether or not to attend. Tickets are only $5 and she is okay with wearing last year's dress (which I bought for $5 off the Macy's clearance rack). I bought some dresses yesterday at Macy's for her to try, but she didn't like any of them, so back they go.

Prom dress/shoes/bag will have a budget. She bought very neutral shoes and bag last year with the hopes of wearing them twice. I do NOT expect her to wear her dress again, but she will have a budget of $200, as she did this past spring. She and some friends (from another school area) are talking about a dress swap. It would be great if that worked out! Hopefully tickets won't be more than $50 (this includes dinner and dancing). If she has a date or decides to go with a group and they want to share a limo, then she can figure out how to pay for it. Otherwise she is welcome to drive my car or carpool.

No sports banquets here.... there is a sports awards night at the HS and for the swim team that has traditionally been followed by a dessert night or even a pasta supper at the Team Captain's house.... which this year is us!!

Senior picnic, breakfast, grad night . . . whatever your school hosts. - Again, haven't heard of any of this stuff.... usually it is just a day trip somewhere local like Six Flags. Most kids take a BIG trip abroad Junior or Senior year and that is considered their big trip.

Senior class gift to the school - That usually comes from the class till.

School fees, if your student owes money from previous years - Never have paid any additional fees for any classes at our HS, other than AP or SAT test fees.

Graduation party -- even an at-home party will cost money; you'll buy food and drinks at least - As I mentioned in my original post, we are already preparing for and planning her graduation party! Can't wait!!

Graduation gift -- for her, and you'll probably buy something for the kids who've been her close friends over the years - Already talking about fun, affordable gifts for friends (probably about 10 at this point) and have come up with some GREAT original ideas. Her new college laptop computer may be her graduation gift.

OH MY! That list is LONG! But I can honestly say, I've never heard of most of this stuff with regards to our high school! But I can honestly say THANK YOU for the big heads up! You are right.... all of this stuff can nickel and dime you to death!! ..............................P
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:43 PM   #20
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But - If I had known better - I would have networked the "heck" out of using someone's (from the prior class) to use their graduation gown. You can opt to just purchase the cap/tassels, but not the gown - if you can borrow some!
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Be sure you order your cap and gown as soon as they're offered. We're a Jostens school, and our cap/gown/tassel set is only $9.99 -- IF you order it this month. They'll go up later; in fact, they'll be over $100 in June.
?? Your school has you buy a cap and gown?? Our school here provide them and then you give them back when you are done with them- if you don't give it back they withold your diploma until you give it back! Never heard of anyplace that made you buy one- what in the world do you do with it after the 2 hours that you use it??? The cap and gown go back and the tassel you keep.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:39 PM   #21
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?? Your school has you buy a cap and gown?? Our school here provide them and then you give them back when you are done with them- if you don't give it back they withold your diploma until you give it back! Never heard of anyplace that made you buy one- what in the world do you do with it after the 2 hours that you use it??? The cap and gown go back and the tassel you keep.
We had to buy ours and they were more than $9.99 but I don't remember how much. I have twins so I had to buy two. One of my girls decorated the top of her cap so it wouldn't be able to be passed on to someone else (doubt anyone would want her bedazzled cap )

I don't think my girls would let me give their gowns away, I think they want to keep them. But if they decide they want to, that is fine with me.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:57 AM   #22
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?? Your school has you buy a cap and gown?? Our school here provide them and then you give them back when you are done with them- if you don't give it back they withold your diploma until you give it back! Never heard of anyplace that made you buy one- what in the world do you do with it after the 2 hours that you use it??? The cap and gown go back and the tassel you keep.
We had to pay $50 to RENT for high school grad. There was an additional fee for kids who did not turn them in.

For College, they paid $50 to BUY them. (PSU went with "Green" gowns and caps made from recylced materials. The kids felt like they were sitting in black garbage bags out on the field with sun beaming down at them!)

We have twins so all grad expenses were double.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #23
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Thanks Mrs. Pete for the exhaustive list! I appreciate ALL the items you listed (even if they're to prepare for college) because they are all money that will be spent this school year.

PJ - I'd be interested in your ideas for friends' grad gifts - I hadn't even thought about that.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:31 AM   #24
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Our DS will also be graduating this June and all my wife and I keep seeing/hearing is you owe this for this and this for that. I'll be honest, I don't think we realized just how expensive it was going to be. We have had 2 parent meetings so far. The first meeting, I really thought DW was going to fall over. My DW works at the school where our kids go. During the meeting, the lady in charge announced that my DW had offered to help co-chair all of the Chem-free activities this year........She had not! The lady in charge knew by announcing to the entire group that my DW would be put on the spot. My wife is always the parent that will help out....just wasn't ready for THAT much of a commitment! Our Chem-free is an awesome program that after graduation, puts on a lock in. For all of the money that the seniors raise during the year goes to put this event on. They have huge prizes such as a used car, laptops, little fridges....etc that they give away. It is a wonderful event, but will end up costing us at least a couple hundred during the year.

Then we have the senior trip to Orlando. It is costing 1275.00 per child. Now mind you, we are in what I would consider a low income district where MANY of the students can not afford this. Yes, it is a great trip, but 1275 is a LOT of money. They could have come up with something for half that price and the kids still could have had a great trip. That money has to be paid by Jan. 15th.

Our son is also taking several college courses this year. Yes, it is a great opportunity and the courses are MUCH cheaper than what they charge as a Freshman, but my son will be attending a very large University in the fall and will be covered 100% with my GI Bill.So for the other students at our school, it's an incredible deal.....for us, not so much. Yes, he is getting 6 Freshman classes over with but had he taken them IN college, I wouldn't be paying for them. So another added expense.

Our senior pictures, we went with a smaller less fancy local place. The quality is awesome. I paid right around 200.00 and we were able to have pictures taken in our school gymnasium (basketball pics), up on the island along the river, and at their studio. Mind you, my sons friends all went with the 2 big name studios. The cheapest paid was 790.00 and the most expensive was over 1200.00. I'm sorry, but that is just NUTS!

At this time my DS has only applied to his dream school and has gotten in. In his mind and ours we really hadn't planned to apply anywhere else but his guidance counselor wants him to apply to at least 5 more. We had to pay for that application fee. However, we have gotten information from MANY colleges that offer to waive their application fees if my son will apply to their school. Yes, my son is a very good student who is involved in things and plays sports so I don't know if this is why we keep hearing from schools offering these things or not. Also, if you are lower income, schools can/will in many cases waive this fee. PLEASE, do take advantage of this! This also applies to taking their SAT's and ACT's. Your guidance department can help you with this. They have vouchers for this. My son's best friend was not going to take them. Because My wife works at school, She was familiar with this.

These are just some of our expenses. Sure would LOVE to win the lottery!
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:07 PM   #25
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Going to the extreme, you can also keep in mind that many of these things are options not necessity's. You can graduate and survive without announcements, proms, trips, rings or parties. Even attending graduation is an option. :-)

Our local thrift store often has graduation gowns.

Some kids would rather have a little cash rather than go to prom. Few people actually wear their senior rings once they graduate...
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:27 PM   #26
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Seriously?
Seriously. I remember learning that in several places as a child -- most noteably from my grandmother, but also in an ettiquette class in Girl Scouts and also in elementary school.
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OH MY! That list is LONG! But I can honestly say, I've never heard of most of this stuff with regards to our high school! But I can honestly say THANK YOU for the big heads up! You are right.... all of this stuff can nickel and dime you to death!! ..............................P
Thought of another one: National Honor drapes and/or honor cords. These aren't a large expense, but all those litle things add up.
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?? Your school has you buy a cap and gown?? Our school here provide them and then you give them back when you are done with them- if you don't give it back they withold your diploma until you give it back! Never heard of anyplace that made you buy one- what in the world do you do with it after the 2 hours that you use it??? The cap and gown go back and the tassel you keep.
Nope, in this area everyone buys, and at $9.99 it's hard to complain about it. I am aware that some areas rent, and I've always wondered how the rental people make any money, given that they'd have to invest in all those sizes and then store them for the whole year.

As for using them again, I've seen a few turn up in skits here and there (i.e., judges' robes), or as Halloween costumes. I saw a few "Dementors" wearing black grad robes at the midnight Harry Potter premier -- I started to type last summer, but now I think that's wrong. Can it be two summers ago?
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Thanks Mrs. Pete for the exhaustive list! I appreciate ALL the items you listed (even if they're to prepare for college) because they are all money that will be spent this school year.
Someone else commented that certain items were "college expenses" not "senior year expenses". I personally didn't think of them as separate items, though some costs had to do with high school, while others had to do with preparation for college. I paid it all while she was a senior.
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Our local thrift store often has graduation gowns.
Ours are super-cheap quality -- semi-disposable almost. No one uses an older sibling's robe because a new tassle with the correct year costs $8, while a whole new package costs only $9.99. You'd never find one in a thrift store, but -- again -- for the cost, who cares?

Last edited by MrsPete; 10-10-2012 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:59 PM   #27
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Our cap/gown minimum package is $56. My son will be using his older brothers. It's a little on the short side for him, but we're hoping he can trade with someone.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:11 AM   #28
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PJ - I'd be interested in your ideas for friends' grad gifts - I hadn't even thought about that.
Check out Pinterest for lots of gift ideas. I think we are leaning towards a small basket/bag for each friend with a "Study Night" theme. Thinking of including a jar of 1-2-3 individual cake mix (found idea/recipe on Pinterest), a carton of shelf-stable organic chocolate milk (available by the case at Costco), a few highlighters and pens (bought earlier this year at Staples on their 1 cent sales), peppermints Lifesavers (scent of peppermint is said to be good for concentrating/learning). I think we can do it for $5 or under for each bag.

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Going to the extreme, you can also keep in mind that many of these things are options not necessity's. You can graduate and survive without announcements, proms, trips, rings or parties. Even attending graduation is an option. :-)

Our local thrift store often has graduation gowns.

Some kids would rather have a little cash rather than go to prom. Few people actually wear their senior rings once they graduate...
AMEN! The first voice of reason! ................P
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:45 AM   #29
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Why is there such a need for announcements/pictures/rings, etc.?

One daughter is a senior in college this year, the other a senior in high school. We have never ordered announcements/pictures/rings. I just feel they are a waste of money, for my family, anyway.

When I receive announcements, it is "oh, that's nice", then in the garbage. I already know this person's child graduated, and they will receive a gift from me if we are close, so I just view the announcement as a waste of money. Other than maybe adding it to a scrapbook, I don't see the need.

Same with pictures. So I get a picture of cousin so-and-so's senior picture. Maybe I toss it into the box of pictures waiting to be put in a photo album. Again, a waste of money for the parents, because really, who else is going to put the same value on your child's senior picture that you the parent will? I mean, I think my daughters are amazing and awesome, and I love having their pictures around me, but I don't expect anyone else to put up my children's pictures. Plus, we take pictures all year long, those shots of my children mean so much more than a posed studio picture.

Class ring, as my eldest said to her little sister that thought she wanted one, "you won't wear it at college, no one cares". I don't mind buying her a special piece of jewelry that she will wear, to commemorate this stage in her life, and that she will wear in later years, but a class ring that will just be placed in a jewelry box come college, I don't see the need. Perhaps class rings were more important back when not as many people went to college, but there is such a push for college now, I would think college ring would be more significant, no?

I did buy my daughters a tassel with their school colours and graduation date, it was not expensive, and I will attach it to the 2013 Graduation Minnie that I am hoping the Disney Store carries again this year! Nowhere near the cost of announcements, et al, and this is something that my daughters do value.

Perhaps it also helps that for my side of the family, mostly all in Europe, this stuff is not done there. For my DH's side, eh, no one really cares what happens with anyone else. Our family friends all know my kids, know what happens in our lives, so I just don't see the need to send them pictures and announcements.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with going all out and buying the graduation stuff, just that for me, I don't see the purpose. Instead, we are taking one big, last family vacation with all of us together, before life beckons my children to live their own lives. For my family, that type of spending for graduation makes much more sense!
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:50 AM   #30
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Cap & Gown were $47.25, including tax & paid for I think the 3rd week of school.

Not doing graduation announcements. I've already had a few friends ask "Why not? Everyone we sent one to sent a check to my child." I agree with the previous posters who've said that the people who matter already know my son is graduating in June.

Haven't ordered senior pics yet. Waiting for cap & gown photos to be taken and then will order. Not planning on ordering a lot. Other than us & the grandparents, I can't imagine anyone wanting to display his pic. I think my siblings would be more likely to display a family pic or pic of my 4 boys together at his graduation.

I will be paying $125 for a 1/4 page ad in the yearbook that will have 2 pictures and fits up to 75 words. Haven't quite figured out what to write, but planning to use a pic of him in his Power Wheels jeep when he was 2 and a picture with his new car. (New to him...it's a '98)
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