Mississippi Money: Don’t Let Extra Curricular Activities Drain Your Budget!
You’re thinking about your child’s school and your child is thinking about what they want to do after school. From sports to arts, dance to scouting, your child likely has plenty of opportunities in front of them. While your older children may be determined to continue the sport or other activity that they have been focused on, your younger child may just want to follow a friend into an activity they picked up at summer camp. Whatever they end up doing, don’t let extra curricular activities drain your budget!
Keep in mind that many activities require a lot more than just the registration fee. Make sure you get a realistic idea of what the total cost is going to be before committing yourself to buying uniforms, special equipment or paying for frequent trips out of town.
Armed with the financial information, set a budget for each child. If your child wants to do too many things, they will have to compromise or find cheaper alternatives themselves.
Shop around for leagues. Particularly in sports, there are often multiple options for where your child goes. Determine if your child is actually interested in the sport of just wants to follow their friends wherever they go. There may be school based, private or church led sports teams available if you look around.
Signing up to something new with friends, siblings or neighbors can save you some money if you find a bulk or sibling rate. It never hurts to ask for a discount, and if you know another child or two who wants to do the same activity, apply together and exercise your purchasing power.
In all of this, don’t forget that one of your most valuable resources is time! Having someone who you can trade transportation duties with is critical for farther away activities. Try to avoid falling into the trap of going out to eat too much because you don’t think you have enough time. Extra curricular activities may force you to keep a close eye on your schedule to keep healthy and frugal meals on the table while your kids whirl around you.
By Ryder Taff