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.
Register for extracurricular activities as early as possible. Sometimes you get a discount for early registration. Registering early also gives you time to accommodate the expense into your budget and avoids late registration fee in case you forgot to do it in time.
Look for sales and discounts
Some activities might offer a discount. Check if your child qualifies for those discounts. Look for discount coupons when shopping for equipment, uniforms, or any other items that are required. Compare prices online and in-store to get the best price.
Avoid getting the add-ons
It’s not necessary that your child should have every small item used in the activity. Skip the things that are not essential. For example, the cost of professional photos and videos can add up to the activity cost. Instead, you can take photos or videos with your own camera.
These smart tips will help you save on extracurricular activities of your child.
Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child’s social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.