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Many parents spend hundreds of dollars or more per month on their children’s after school activities. They can help your children grow in various ways. This includes improved socialization, developing a team building mentality, and even learning valuable skills that they can use throughout life. Many children who participate in after-school activities may be too busy to get into common adolescent trouble. Understandably, you want your children to be fully engaged in the late afternoon and early evening hours, but you may be wondering how to save on after school activities.
After all, you have a limited budget available, and you may have several children who you need to plan activities for. If you want to learn how to save on after school activities, rest assured that there are a few ideas available to consider.
You Can Save on After School Activities If You…
Learning how to save on after school activities can help you improve your finances significantly. There are several wonderful ways for you to reduce spending in this area. Some parents will even combine several of these ideas for maximum savings.
1. Become a Coach
In some recreational sports leagues, unpaid parent volunteers are requested. However, at more advanced stages, coaches receive payment for their time and effort. These are usually well-trained or even coaches with a license. Therefore, you may need to attend a few classes to obtain these types of positions.
By becoming a coach for your child’s team, you could earn money while at practice and sporting events. You can use this money to offset your children’s registration costs and other fees. Some leagues also offer discount membership fees for coaches’ children. This may be for both recreational and competition leagues.
2. Offer Some Lessons at Home
Many children want to learn how to play instruments or take art lessons. When you want to learn how to save on after school activities, the good news is that you can do some from home. It only takes a little time and effort on your part.
For example, you may have played the piano as a child. Therefore, you may be able to provide your child with at least a year or two of intro lessons. Then, the little one can move on to more advanced paid lessons. You may also be able to find online art lessons for your child to follow for an hour each afternoon.
3. Pay Tuition or Fees in Full
Some sporting leagues, dance studios and more provide families with a discount if they pay their fees for the season or for the year upfront. This can be a huge financial burden on some families initially. However, the payoff will be fewer expenses in your budget in the months to come. If you plan to pay tuition or fees in full, it can be helpful to budget and save for this expense ahead of time.
4. Look for Discounts on Uniforms and Equipment
Sporting goods and uniforms can cost a small fortune. Therefore, this is an area to focus on when you need to know how to save on after school activities. If you are joining a sports league, you can inquire about former team members who are no longer playing. They may want to sell you their uniform for a discount. You can also shop for sporting goods through online classifieds listings to find savings on used items. Another idea is to shop for sporting goods out of season when they may be more likely to be on sale.
5. Buy Gender Neutral Apparel and Equipment
Another great way to save money on uniforms and equipment is to extend their life. If you have both sons and daughters who may play the same sport, such as soccer or tennis, you can easily purchase gender neutral items for your oldest child. When the younger children are ready to play, you can simply hand down the equipment and apparel for them to use. This can save you a small fortune over the years.
6. Ask for a Free Trial
Many children are interested in trying every sport or activity imaginable. The unfortunate reality is that you do not have the time or money available to sign them up for everything. A good idea is to ask for a free trial class or practice time. In this way, your child can experience the activity first-hand. If your child is torn between several activities, try them all at with a free trial. Then, let your child make a decision.
7. Offer to Volunteer for a Discount
With some activities, you may be able to volunteer your time and effort to receive a discount on tuition or fees. For example, you may be able to be your child’s dance team’s manager. Or you could volunteer at the concession stand at sporting events. Some places may expect you to volunteer without offering a discount. However, it does not hurt to ask for a discount to be applied to your account.
8. Rent Musical Instruments
Musical instruments can cost hundreds of dollars or more. When your child is not certain if he or she likes the instrument or will go on with it for several years or longer, it makes sense to keep your hard-earned money. Rent an instrument as an alternative. Shop around for the best deal on musical instrument rentals to avoid paying more than necessary for this expense.
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9. Look for Ways to Save During the Season
While up-front costs, such as registration fees and uniforms, can cost a small fortune, your expenses may continue throughout the season or year. For example, you may have to shuttle your child to sporting events that are many miles away. Or you have to pay for meals and hotel rooms while you travel and more. A smart idea is to become well-acquainted with some of the other parents. Make plans to carpool to save money on gas. Pack sandwiches for the car. You can even share a hotel room with another parent and child to save money on travel expenses. These efforts can save you hundreds of dollars or more throughout the season.
10. Avoid Paying for Extras
With many activities, parents will be asked to purchase additional items for their children. This may include everything from bumper stickers to the car and team shirts for the parents to professional team photos and more. The cost for these items can quickly add up, so avoid paying for any of them as a regular course of habit.
While you understandably want your children to participate in activities after school, learning how to save money on after school activities is a necessity. After all, you may also need to be saving for college, a summer vacation and many other things. When you learn how to save on after school activities, you can better manage your budget while giving your kids the after school experiences they desire. If you have questions or comments about how to save on after school activities, please feel free to leave messages below.