A couple of weeks back I had a reader’s question on how to save money on after school activities. Long time reader and fellow blogger Jennifer contacted me saying “I started to write a comment but realized it was too long-would you be interested in having a guest post about the topic?”
Never one to turn down great knowledge I readily agreed! I hope you agree that she brings us some fabulous ideas. Enjoy!
We have 4 children and kid’s activities can really add up. My oldest son is 11 and he loves to play sports. Not being one to get locked into one thing, he wants to try them all. My oldest daughter is the opposite. She fell in love with gymnastics at age 3 and hasn’t looked back since. She has been competing for a few years now and I don’t see an end in sight yet. My third child is just starting to get interested in activities and my fourth child is only 5, so I am trying to hold off on activities for her. Here are some of the things we have done over the years to save money on sports and activities for children.
- Pick and choose what you sign up for. There is plenty of time to try different things out; you don’t have to try them all at once. Aside from scouting my son does one thing at a time.
- Analyze the hourly rate of each activity. The $125 baseball season that meets 3 times a week for 3 months is a much better deal than the $125 soccer that plays once a week for 2 months.
- See if you can get a sibling discount. Both my boys wanted to play soccer. We got a small discount for the second child and rather than being pulled in different directions, we go to the soccer fields just once a week and they play at the same time on neighboring fields.
- Stick close to home. I know many people that drive to gyms 30-40 minutes away several times a week. We prefer the gym that is 4 minutes from our house. It saves time and money. We have also chosen to do things through the schools that happen right after school. Rather than making 2 trips (to drop off and pick up) we have only one trip to pick up the child.
- If your child has a sport or activity that they do a lot, once you are established with a facility or organization you can look for opportunities to barter. By getting to know the coaches and letting them know what my husband would love to do, when they had a need they talked to him. Now he is the strength and conditioning coach in exchange for our monthly tuition.
- Pick sports or activities that have low equipment or start up costs. My son prefers soccer and baseball. The equipment for these are very minimal compared to the hundreds of dollars I could spend getting him suited up for tackle football or ice hockey.
- Look for free activities. Our schools and our library offer numerous free things. From cooking classes to story time and everything in between, my kids can try plenty of things for free through these places.
- Remember you have 18 years for your child to spend trying out sports and activities. Don’t get burned out on them before they even start school. Besides up until age 5 or 6 they really won’t remember it all.
Jennifer is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, ages 5, 7, 9, & 11. She lives a very frugal life in Ohio on a single teacher’s salary. Jennifer has been blogging at Getting Ahead for 3 years.