The start of the new school year brings with it the start of many extra curricular activities. Depending on the activity, and the number of children in your household, the cost of those activities can really add up!
So how can you keep the cost down while still allowing your child to explore outside interests? I’ve put together some great tips for saving money on extra curricular activities.
Purchase gently used equipment. Whether your child is into sports, dance, or music, you can get a good deal on previously owned equipment.
If you are looking for sporting equipment, Play It Again Sports is a resale store that sells a variety of gently used gear, such as soccer pads, golf clubs, and tennis rackets. Other consignment shops geared towards kids, such as Once Upon a Child, carry items like soccer cleats and tap shoes. Don’t have one of these stores near you? Garage sales, although hit or miss, can be a great way to find inexpensive sporting equipment for your child. And, if you can’t find the equipment you are looking for this way, you are almost guaranteed to find what you are looking for on Craigslist or Ebay.
When it comes to buying musical instruments, consider checking your local thrift stores, pawn shops, and garage sales. For large/expensive instruments, renting may be the cheaper alternative, especially if you aren’t sure how long your child will be interested in the instrument. And, of course, Craigslist and Ebay also tend to have a large listing of musical instruments that may meet your needs.
Organize an equipment swap. Have outgrown sports equipment or unwanted musical instruments taking up space? Many school districts have an equipment swap each year where parents and students can exchange their gently used equipment. Call the local high school to see if your district has such an event.
Limit the number of activities each child participates in. Limiting the number of activities each child is in will not only save you money on the equipment they need to participate, but it will also limit the number of practices you have to drive children to, saving your sanity and a bit of gas money, too!
Look into alternatives for those private lessons. Have a child that wants to take music lessons? Instead of paying for private lessons for a beginning student, ask about group lessons, which are usually cheaper.
Or, by speaking to the music director in your school district, you may be able to find a high school student who is giving beginning lessons at a fraction of the cost you would normally pay for lessons elsewhere.
And once you find an instructor, consider having lessons every other week instead of weekly.
One other alternative when it comes to music lessons: check with your local chapter of the Salvation Army. Not every chapter offers music lessons, but if yours does and you meet the requirements, your student can learn to play guitar, piano, brass, or percussion from some wonderful musicians.
School means more than just reading and math. Whether it’s band, sports, or drama, these tips for saving money on extra curricular activities will help you not spend a fortune this year.
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