Extracurricular Costs Adding Up
Do you budget for your kid’s extracurricular activities?
How do you limit which activities your child can pursue? Is it by cost or by interest?
This summer we have had a handful of costs for extracurricular activities for our children and we are in the process of contemplating an additional activity for our youngest son.
From PONY baseball to the early summer football camp and a handful of other activities, our kids have had a busy schedule so far this summer. While we have not explicitly budgeted for these activities, they do fall within the scope of our budget as we live on a rather loose budget where the only hard rules are that our savings goals are being met each month and all of the bills are paid in full – we are free to *live* on the rest.
Our youngest son has been showing quite an interest in skateboarding and practices just about every day. In addition, we’ve taken him to a local skate park and he practices going down the ramp and staying on the board – which is rather impressive to me that he can do that at the age of 5.
We just recently found a local indoor skate park that runs a week long clinic for kids of all ages. We did call and they said they have had a few 5-year-olds before and we can bring him by so he can test the place out and see if he is interested. The cost is $250 for the full week and the classes run from 10am – 4pm and include a cold lunch each day. When you break it down to an hourly fee, I don’t think it is too bad.
But this brings me to the question of how much is too much when it comes to extracurricular activities?
Right now our kids are still pretty young and the costs have been relatively minor. The PONY baseball season came with a $100 fee, while the baseball camp and football camp each had a $40 fee. However, I’ve heard that if our son continues with baseball and makes a traveling team that we can expect to pay into the $1000’s for one season between fees and traveling costs.
As much as I do not want to squash the dreams of my children, there is a point when you have to give serious consideration to whether or not it is feasible to pay the fees for those activities. Will my son become a professional baseball player? I certainly hope he does but the odds are not exactly in his favor. As a parent, I would hate to think that I possibly held him back from that potential because I balked at paying the fee for something.
Will our youngest son be a professional skateboarder? I doubt it but it does bring him a ton of enjoyment right now. Is that worth the $250 for the week long clinic that will teach him much more than he knows now? When I think back to the joy our oldest son had on his face when he turned a double-play in baseball, I feel like these costs are more than worth it.
How have you approached the fees for extracurricular activities for your children? At what point do you draw the line?