If your child has shown interest in participating in sports, theater, art class, dance, etc, there’s no nice way to put it: You’re in for a financial drain. Sports and other extracurricular activities cost far more than you think. Participation fees, uniforms, equipment, unforeseen fees, everything adds up very quickly. While you won’t completely cut out the cost, you can at least save money. However, if you are stuck with an art class that requires certain brand name art supplies in order to make sure everyone’s using the same quality tools, then you’re going to have to buckle to the demand and look for the cheapest place to get them, or just drop the class.
Some programs offer a discount for pre-registering months in advance. Alternatively, some offer discounts for paying fees in advance, or if fees are paid in full instead of monthly.
Also read: Save 50% or More on Back to School Clothes
Enroll in Community Center Activities
If your child is new to the sport or other activity they want to participate in, try enrolling them in an activity at your local community center instead. The sessions are cheaper and much shorter and provide them with a variety of activities to sample. This gives your child a chance to decide whether they like it or not, without having to deal with a year-long commitment and a possibly miserable kid because they don’t like the sport as much as they thought.
Buy Used Equipment and Musical Instruments
At some point, you will be required to purchase equipment. Assure that the used equipment is of reasonable quality and in good shape. You can also ask family members to send you old sports equipment a nephew or cousin outgrew. Alternatively, you can rent a musical instrument, but purchasing a used one is cheaper in the long run.
Also read: 5 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Money
Look for Sales
Sometimes it’s just not a good idea to buy used equipment like sports or dance shoes. Keep an eye out for sales. Baseball equipment might go on sale some time after the season is over. Be careful buying shoes. You want to make sure your child fits into them. You can buy other equipment offseason and save up for shoes at regular price, or if you can predict your child’s foot growth, buy the next size up of shoe.
Don’t Buy from Studios (If it can be helped)
Don’t buy everything from a studio, since you can get those shoes and leotard for much cheaper elsewhere. Only buy from the studio unless there’s a recital and everyone’s required to wear the same outfit.
This is the BIGGY and will probably save you the most (and be less stress on your family). Chances are, your child wants to participate in ALL the things, or you might want them to as well. Don’t do this. Not only will you be overloading on too many activities, with little to no time to practice for the others, you’ve just created a black hole in your wallet. You will also be too frustrated and worn out from continually running your kid from practice to practice to enjoy any time with them. Limit them to one or two activities.
Set up a carpool schedule with other parents. It’ll help save money on gas for all of you if you take turns driving the kids back and forth to practice.
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