Participating in after-school activities is a great way for your child to make new friends and get involved in her community. Though you might be really excited to hear that your little one is ready to pursue a new and exciting interest, there’s one thing to remember: These activities can be really expensive! In many clubs, you may have to pay organization dues or pitch in for the cost of equipment, apparel and transportation.
But have no fear! There are a few things you can do to make your child’s participation in these types of activities financially feasible for your family. Here are four money-saving tips and tricks:
Buy Used Equipment
Whether you need to pick up a bunch of gear for your child to play a more expensive sport like hockey or you’re just looking to rent a tuba so your little one can join the band, skip the trip to the big-name stores and buy used equipment instead.
You can try heading to a local shop or searching an online marketplace for the specific items you need. Though this is a great way to save some money, it’s important to remember that some items should never be purchased secondhand. For instance, you should always invest in a new pair of toe shoes for a dance class.
Work in Lieu of Paying Dues
Joining volunteer organizations, academic clubs and even hobby groups can be costly. After all, they often require membership dues to cover various different types of expenses.
However, in an effort to include all children, some clubs will allow members to staff events, volunteer for extra hours or help with administrative work in lieu of paying dues. Though this isn’t always an option, it’s a good idea to ask the club supervisors, as this can sometimes incur additional costs.
Seek Out Alternatives
Sure, some sports teams require you to pay dues and purchase expensive uniforms. But others allow you to rent equipment and give you the option to avoid transportation costs by driving your little athletes to matches and meets yourself. Though you might not always have a slew of different teams to choose from, it can’t hurt to do a little research to determine if being a part of one organization is less expensive than another.
Get Involved in Your Child’s Activities
If you think that a particular club, organization or team isn’t being run in the most economical manner, you should consider volunteering to take on a leadership role, as this will give you an opportunity to try implementing some cost-saving measures. You might even get a few thank-yous from other parents!