When children are young, and they want to take up an extracurricular activity, it seems so easy: just sign them up and enjoy the fun, right? But when they get older, and their activities become more expensive, it becomes a bit more complicated. In the United States, parents are expected to pay for their children’s extracurricular activities. But these activities can get expensive. So, how do you pay for them?
As your children get older, the cost of participation in sports and other extracurricular activities goes up. You may have heard about the rising cost of college, but did you know that the cost of getting your child started in sports can be equally as expensive? Some parents may think that sports are not important, but it is a great way for your child to stay active. It also teaches your child a number of life lessons, such as responsibility, respect, and teamwork. Not only that, but it can also help them stay in shape. Here are a few ways that you can pay for your kids’ extracurricular activities.
Start with smaller activities
If you have kids, you know how expensive extracurricular activities can be. Between sports, clubs, and camps, it seems like it’s hard to keep up with all the costs. If your kids are involved in a lot of activities, it can also be hard to balance sports and school. If you can’t afford to pay for all the things your kids want to do, start with the smaller activities first. Often, the smaller activities are the ones that don’t provide as much of an opportunity for scholarships. For example, if your kids like to play soccer or baseball, consider starting with a local rec league first. Or send them off to summer camp with lots of learning activities and independence. These are typically less expensive and less competitive than travel teams.
Let your child help pay for some
There are many ways to pay for sports, theater, and other extracurricular activities, but one of the best ways to do so is to have your child help you pay for them. If you are paying for the activities, you should allow your child to “earn” the money. This means you can let your child do some simple household chores, or you can make them sell something that they would normally use, like toys or games, and give the money to you. This way, your child is learning the value of money and giving back to the family in a way that doesn’t seem like a handout.
Kids’ extracurricular activities can put a strain on the family’s finances. Parents have to find ways to pay for: travel, uniforms and equipment, registration fees, and sometimes even snacks (just ask any soccer mom!). If you find yourself in this position, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent study found that the average parent spends $60 a month on sports and $145 a month on theater for their children. This is why you need to plan ahead, save and budget to put aside money for your kid to participate in activities.
Turn to a credit union
A credit union is a great place to start if you’re looking to pick up or refinance your loans with a lower interest rate. The best part? Credit unions are non-profit financial institutions that exist to help you. Credit unions don’t pay their executives millions of dollars. They offer lower interest rates on loans, lower fees, and better rates on certificates of deposit than the national average.
Get a side job
If you’re like most parents, you get a little nervous when your child signs up for a new sport or extracurricular activity. The good news is that you don’t have to pay for it all. Get a side job. A second job can bring in a little extra cash to help pay for your kid’s activities. Before you do anything else, make sure you know about all the tax implications of having a job. For example, if you have a part-time job, you can deduct the cost of transportation and meals. But if you work full-time, you can only deduct the cost of commuting.
If you can take care of all the extracurricular activities on your own, that’s great! But if you are someone who works from home or runs a small business, a side source of income will help you afford all the activities you need to pay for.