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Extracurricular Activities Can Be Expensive
How Do You Pay for All Those Extras?
'Enjoy being a kid, it's the best time of your life', my father often told me.
I really did have a great childhood. I went to several camps each summer, snow skied with my church youth group, and I was involved in dance lessons for years. My life was filled with great experiences. I created wonderful memories and friendships that I still cherish today. I want these experiences for my own kids.
Yet, now that I have two boys of my own, I have discovered all those great experiences cost money. Check out the following facts:
- According to the American Camp Association, the average weekly cost of summer sleep away camp is $690, and can be as high as $2,000 depending on your child's interest.
- Money Magazine notes American families spend on average, $739 a year on extracurricular sports activities for their kids.
- If your child is interested in dance, musical instrument, gymnastics, or other specialty lessons, then plan to spend anywhere from $13 to over $100 per hour for professional instruction.
All of those great memory-making moments come at a high cost and often it is just too high for many families.
So what can you do in order to provide these opportunities for your kids?
- First, you should research and ask questions. Ask friends about their own experiences and if they believed the camp, lesson, etc. was fun, engaging, or worthwhile for their kids.
- Sign up early. Many camps, music schools, and dance schools offer "early bird" sign up discounts.
- Ask if any scholarships are available.
- Offer to volunteer your time to help the organization.
- Shop around and let the camp or school know that you are looking at all your options. They may offer you an incentive to go with their service.
- Let your kids help pay! There are so many ways for kids to earn money in service job
When my son decided that fly-fishing was his favorite hobby, I was extremely happy. Hey, I thought, my son wants to be outside, enjoy nature, and some days he even brings home dinner! This was great. Well it was until he needed more gear, he wanted supplies to tie his own flies, he needed a ride to a river forty miles away, you can see where I am going with this. Fly-fishing is an expensive hobby. I did not want to squash his enthusiasm, so I told him he needed to find a way to earn some money to help support his fishing habit. By using the skills he learned from The Kingdom Code money management program, he started more than one service business to make money. We live in Alaska, so he cuts firewood, cleans and cuts fish for tourists, does lawn work, pet sits, and he will even take care of chickens.
His hard work has made his pricey hobby possible, and he enjoys being able to pay for the things he wants. Now, he has learned so much about fly tying, he is considering starting a new business selling his hand tied flies to other local fishermen and the many tourists that visit our town.
When children are passionate about hobbies, sports, and other interests, encourage them and find ways for them to help pay for these extra and important experiences. My father wasn't entirely correct. My childhood was wonderful, but being a parent and watching my kids make memories is even better.
By: Jennifer Hilder