How to Save Money on Your Kids’ Expensive Extracurricular Activities
With school back in session, your kids are probably eager to enroll in extracurricular activities. You want them to be involved in the clubs, sports, or music lessons of their choice—after all, these activities help kids hone new skills and make new friends, use their time constructively, and build a resume for jobs and college applications.
Unfortunately, opportunities for enrichment come at a cost. If you’re having a hard time justifying the expense, consider these tips to make your kids’ extracurricular activities more affordable.
Check Out Government or Nonprofit Programs
Before you sign up your kids for a traveling sports team or private piano lessons, see if you can find similar offerings from your child’s school or church. The local library, community college, parks and rec department, or YMCA may also sponsor programs that spark your children’s interest.
Look into Discounts
It never hurts to ask the activity provider about available discounts before signing up. Become informed by asking these questions upfront:
- Is there a trial period where my child can try a class or two for free before we commit?
- Do you offer discounts for returning participants?
- Can I pay less per child if I enroll more than one?
- Do you offer referral discounts if I recommend your program to another family?
- Is there a reduced rate for early registration or signing up for a package of sessions?
- Can I volunteer to coach in exchange for a reduced rate?
- Do you offer scholarships?
- Can I pay based on my income?
- Can I set up a payment plan?
Reduce Associated Costs
Many activities cost more than just the enrollment price. You may also need to purchase uniforms and equipment, pay for travel and performance tickets, or participate in fundraisers. To reduce these costs, try the following:
- Arrange carpools.
- Buy used equipment and attire.
- Limit your family’s attendance at performances so everyone can go to the big show at the end of the year.
Pursue DIY Extracurricular Activities
Children can benefit from activities that don’t come with formal fees or tuition. Here’s how to DIY your extracurriculars:
- Check YouTube for free music or dance tutorials.
- Look up recipes online to try with the budding chefs in your family.
- Ask your local library for free software to learn a foreign language.
- Arrange a network of friends and family who take turns teaching lessons out of their home on topics they have mastered.
Explain Budget Limitations to Your Kids
Sometimes, you simply have to say no when your child asks to sign up for yet another activity. You don’t want to put financial stress on your kids, but it’s reasonable to be open about the constraints on your budget.
GCS Credit Union offers banking solutions to help you manage your money and pay for activities. Contact us at (618) 797-7993 to learn about becoming a member and taking advantage of our great financial products and services.