Back to school time has arrived. For many, that means that it’s time to choose extracurricular activities. While extracurricular activities can be excellent opportunities for students to improve themselves, learn new skills, and find their passions, these extra activities can also be expensive.
It’s true that you probably want your children to enjoy their time at school, as well as learn new skills and be involved. However, it’s probably not wise for your pocketbook to have your children involved in too many activities. If your budget is tight, here are some things to consider as you help your child choose extracurricular activities:
First of all, this is a chance for your child to learn important lessons  about priorities. We don’t always get to do everything we want to do all the time, so it is a good idea to help your child understand that now, especially if your budget just can’t handle a lot of activities. Some of the things to help your child consider when choosing activities include:
- How much the child enjoyes the activity.
- Whether there is a chance to excel at the activity.
- Time the activity takes to accomplish.
- Other obligations that conflict with the activity.
- How expensive the activity is.
Help your children list the activities they are involved with, and decide on which they enjoy the most. This can also be a good way to help your child see that he or she might have time to excel at a particular activity, with time to practice. Having more time to work on one activity might be beneficial, and your child might decide that a little extra time to work on a particularly interesting activity is of benefit.
Understanding Your Budget
While you don’t want to overburden your child  with the specifics of your financial situation, you should still explain matters. Talk over how much you can provide for an extracurricular activities in your budget. Perhaps your child might be willing to to participate in two or three less expensive activities, if budgetary constraints mean that he or she could only participate in one expensive activity.
You might also consider encouraging your child to help pay for some of the his or her extracurricular activities. It is possible to earn money with a part time job, do odd jobs around the neighborhood, babysit or find other ways to help pay for expensive activities.
Saving Money on Extracurricular Activities
There are ways to save money on extracurricular activities, even when they are expensive. One of the most common ways is to rent equipment if you can. It is usually possible to rent sports equipment, musical instruments and other necessities for extracurricular activities.
You might also find out if there is fund available to help you pay for items that you need. In some cases, there are funds set up, designed to help those with budget constraints pay for different items. This can be one way to get help with extracurricular activities.
In the end, though, sometimes you need to make hard decisions — and sometimes your kids need to make those decisions, too.
(Photo: besighnyawn )