Most kids today are involved in at least one extracurricular activity, if not more. All of these activities can add up both in terms of family finances and your time as a parent. However, if you have more time than money, you may find that you can negotiate the cost of your children’s extracurricular activities.
Try some of these tips:
- Check out the low cost option first. There are many different places where your child could enroll in extracurricular activities; you don’t necessarily have to choose the best one. Say your kindergardener has an interest in soccer. You could sign your child up for a team, or you could let him try it out through classes at the local community center. The community center course will probably be more reasonable. The trade off is that your child may not learn as much as he would on a team. However, if he is just trying out a sport, the community center course should be fine. If his interest grows, then consider signing up for the team.
- Use daily deal sites. You know you can save money eating out with a daily deal site voucher, but often, they also offer activities kids could participate in. A daily deal site in our area recently offered 60% off a summer acting camp for kids. These vouchers allow your children to try out a sport or activity before deciding if it is something they would like to pursue.
- Barter. Most people no longer barter, which is a shame. Bartering is a great way to get what you need or want at little cost financially. My son has been taking tap dance for 3 years. His second year, we went through a financial crunch and did not have the money to pay for his class. His instructor (who also owned the studio) allowed us to clean the studio once a month for about 2 hours in return for free tuition. I was initially embarrassed to ask, but she said she had this arrangement with several older girls whose families could not afford all of the dance classes they took. She got free studio cleaning in return for offering discounted or free classes.
- Get a discount. Many organizations will offer you discounts if you sign up before a certain day or if you pay the entire season’s worth of tuition/fees upfront. Now that we are again paying for dance class, we got 10% off by paying for the entire year’s worth of dance classes in August. This discount is usually advertised, but if it isn’t, don’t be afraid to ask before you sign up.
- Have siblings take part in the same sport. If your children have interest in the same activities, consider sending them together. Many organizations offer a discount if multiple children from the same family are involved in the same sport.
Kids’ activities and sports can be costly. However, with some ingenuity and creativity, you can find ways to reduce the expense. Don’t be afraid to explore your options.