How to Save Money on Extracurricular Activities
It’s that time of year again when kids come home from school with notes saying, “Mom may I?” every other day. This leads us to look at our budget and figure out How to Save Money on Extracurricular Activities. While some schools are able to supply all needs for various sporting groups or clubs without extra money out of your pocket that is not always the case in every community. That coupled with the advent of extracurricular activities outside of schools has brought about the need for sometimes thousands of dollars a year in your budget to cover these costs. We’ve compiled a few tips that will hopefully help you save a considerable amount of money on the extracurricular activities your children choose this year.
Ask others who have been there before you buy.
If your daughter wants to be in dance or your son wants to be in karate, check with friends, family or other parents in your school or local MOPS group and find out what costs you should expect. Knowing ahead of time what to expect from someone that has been there will be a huge help in knowing if this activity is the right one for you and your child and your family budget.
Verify time and travel requirements before you commit.
Although gymnastics may be the least expensive activity to sign up for from your daughters list, there are often meets all over your state or region she would be asked to participate in. Verify when and how often you would be required to accompany your child and at what cost and distance. Overnight stays, traveling hundreds of miles and the expenses involved should all be considered in your decision making process.
Stick to only one extracurricular activity per child at a time.
If your budget is slim, don’t put too much on your plate. Not only are multiple activities a lot of pressure on your children they are also too much for your budget. Stand your ground and make your child decide which of their choices the one they want the most this year. If it is possible to do activities for only short periods of time so they can do more than one per school year, then weigh the financial commitment and allow them to do one in the Fall and one in the Spring.
Buy supplies used or in groups for discounts.
Need dance shoes or leotards? Check places like eBay, Craigslist, Local Facebook Swap Shops or Thrift Shops or even Amazon. Children grow far too quickly to spend $250 on one leotard for gymnastics. Cleats, softball gloves, bats and even pads can be found in excellent used condition as well. Check with other team mates and see about buying bulk quantities of specific items from wholesalers to get each person a better discounted price.
Swallow your pride and ask about scholarships and discounts.
Let’s face it, not all of us make enough money to pay $500 extra dollars each semester for extracurricular activities. Don’t be ashamed to ask the organizers and those in charge if there are scholarships or discounts available for your child due to your lower income level. Some will ask that a parent agree to work concession stands for events, help clean up after practice or simply work on the honor system of “give back when you can”. You won’t know unless you ask.
Extracurricular activities are an important part of your child’s development as a person in society and should be a priority as a parent to help provide, but do so within reason and within your family budget. If it means paying your electric or signing them up for Soccer this Fall, the electric is far more important to them in the long run then extracurricular activities. Do your research and make wise decisions for your family and your budget.