Extracurricular activities are a fun way to get your child- and you- more involved in school. Arts, sports, music, and more are offered at most schools, and if your children are interested in any of them you may be wondering: how am I going to pay for all of that? That question may be even more pressing if you have more than one child, a child that wants to pursue more than one activity, or multiple kids in multiple extracurricular programs. Before you start looking for a part time job to help pay for these expenses, check out these five tips to help you save money on all of those activities your kids want to join this school year.
Register Early and Do Auto-Debit
Many extracurricular programs will offer a discount if you sign up or enroll early on. Pre-registration can save you 10-30 percent, and if you have more than one child in the programs that can really add up. Another way to save money each month is to sign up for automatic payments. If the sports program knows that you will be paying the fees the same way each month they will be more inclined to offer you a savings since they know they will be getting their money from you. Finally, if you pay all fees up-front instead of installments, you could get a discount.
Get Discounts For Multiples
When you have more than one child in an activity, many programs will offer you a percentage or flat rate off the second enrollment. This means you can save money (and time chauffeuring kids around) for having kids in the same programs.
Apply For Scholarships and Reduced Fees
If you have a financial hardship, apply for scholarships or a reduction in costs for your child. Many times you only have to prove your income and submit a statement that shows your child is committed to the program. Ask the program director if these things are available.
Search consignment stores, thrift stores, garage sales, Ebay, Craigslist, and local websites to sell old equipment or uniforms that no longer fit, and to also buy the things you need for the extracurricular programs your kids want to try. Many national chains also offer used gear, so check those, as well. You can even check into swapping with other parents you know or family members. Sometimes, the program director can point you in the direction of a parent that is looking to sell equipment or uniforms.
If you are unsure that your child will stick with the program, rent the equipment (especially if it is a musical instrument) to save money. If they do seem to take to the activity, you can buy equipment later, but if they don’t you can simply return it and not waste any more money on the activity. Rental equipment, uniforms, and costumes can be found in local stores, chain stores,