Dear Frugal Upstate,
I would love to see you do an entry on frugal sports or after school activities for kids, teens and even adults.
For example, I ice skated for many years before quitting. I’m getting back into it in the near future and am trying to find ways to make it more frugal. Ice skating is an expensive sport. You have skates (mine cost upwards of $400) and costumes if you compete. Thankfully my expensive skates still fit!
But I think it would be really neat to see a post or even a mini-series on frugality in doing after school sports and extra curricular activities for school age kids.
What an interesting and pertinent question! So far my sports/after school activities for the kiddos have been limited-they are only in 1st & 3rd grade.
For soccer the team provides the T-Shirts, but you have to buy the shin guards and knee high socks. Do you know how hard it is to find knee high socks for a 6yr old? The only ones I could find were the actual “soccer socks” that cost $6 a pair. Luckily for me they don’t require cleats at this age in our area, so he played in his sneakers till I found a pair of cleats at the thrift store for $3 that fit.
Even though I don’t have a lot of personal experience with expensive extracurriculars yet, I do have two suggestions.
1. Buy it used.
If there is any specialty equipment required (instruments, sports gear, ice skates etc) for the extracurricular activity, see if there is a way to purchase it used. Thrift stores, yard sales, Craigs List, Ebay, Classifieds, and Freecycle are all great ways to find items at a fraction of the cost of new! You can also try stores like “Play It Again Sports” which specializes in used sports equipment.
2. Ask Around.
Remember the old saying “Ask and ye shall receive”? If you need something, try asking around. You never know what your family or friends may have lurking in their attics or basement. For some reason people sometimes form strange nostalgic/guilty attachments to items which we no longer need but can’t quite get rid of. I know that personally I lugged the flute that my parents bought me in 2nd grade around through college and 4 military moves (note: I stopped playing the thing in highschool) until I finally a coworker mentioned needing one for her daughter. Presto-she got a free flute and I didn’t have to feel like I was “throwing out” a perfectly good instrument.
So what is the most expensive part of after school activities for all of you? What are your best ideas to help save money while letting your children participate? I’d love to hear your ideas!