Tips to Reduce Expenses on Kids’ Extracurricular Activities
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.
Enroll in Your Community Center or YMCA
An excellent way to reduce the overall cost of extracurricular activities is to find school-based or non-profit programs. You can sign your kid up for extracurricular activities such as sports, music, and language training at your local Boys and Girls Club or YMCA. Of course, they are not free of cost but will cost a lot less than private programs .
Take Trial Classes before Enrolling
If you are unsure whether your kid will enjoy a particular activity, ask if they can try it out before enrolling. Some organizations will allow one or two classes on a trial basis, either for a small fee or free of cost. This will help you know if this is an activity your kid wants to be a part of.
Become a Volunteer
Volunteering with the organization can often provide hefty discounts or reduce participation fees for your kid. As a parent, you can assist with coaching, bookkeeping, marketing, etc.
These smart tips will help you save on extracurricular activities of your child.