Many parents want their children to participate in extracurricular activities because they provide opportunities for staying in shape, socializing, working on academics and learning new skill sets. However, most families are working within limited budgets and want to save money wherever they can. The following methods will help you decrease expenses on extracurricular activities without compromising your kids’ options.
Do your research
It is important to know what you’re getting into before you make a long-term commitment to an expensive sport or activity. For example, horseback riding, ice skating and golf can involve costly facility rental time and/or equipment. If your son or daughter would greatly prefer one of these pursuits over a less expensive sport such as basketball or soccer, you’ll have to decide if it is something you can afford.
Prioritize expensive purchases
There are certain items that are worth buying new such as athletic shoes, baseball gloves, and safety gear (i.e. masks, helmets). When you buy used or scout clearance sales, you run the risk of buying a low quality or worse yet, damaged item. There are other instances when it is appropriate to rent or buy used such as a first musical instrument or soccer net for the backyard. You can always buy or upgrade later as needed.
Allow one sport or activity per season
It is easy to take on a lot all at once and then realize that you have no time to attend all of your kids’ activities, let alone pay for them. Limit your children to one sport or activity for each season, especially when there are multiple practices and games per week. For example, if both swimming and marching band take place in the fall, your son or daughter will have to make a choice.