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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Ladies,
A friend and I were talking the other day (she's a homeschool mom as I am living on one income) and we got talking abut budgets for all those wonderful "extras" that we want to give our kids. I'm not talking video games here, but music lessons, being able to play on a sports team, supplies for a special area of interest. I pay $165 (total) a month for all 3 of my boys to take piano lessons. They are also in a band and I have been trying to budget for a base guitar and amp for one of them and some good microphones for my 2 singers. Two of my friend's children are also in the same band. She also has her kids in piano, cello, violin, viola and guitar lessons. Her kids are also active in sports. I have 2 that do swim team, but that's it for the moment because I can't afford to have them in other sports and be driving them all over the countryside 2 nights a week for games and add practices the other 3 nights of the week. Her husband just about had a cow the other night when he went over the budget and realized how much they are paying for all the music lessons. The next day she found out that her viola playing daughter's lessons will be longer next Fall and that increases the cost tremendously. All of their children are very talented musically and she does not want to have to give any ot the lessons up.
I'm trying to help her find ways to cut down on costs in other areas so that she can have the kids continue with the lessons. She asked me the question: How much should a parent budget for their children's activities? I told her I thought it was all relative to how much disposible income you have and where your priorities are. So....I'm asking you all, how do you decide who gets to do what and how much to spend????
 

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That is an easy one for me, if it isn't darn near free or sponsored Im afraid that they just can't do it. It must sound awful, but that is about the truth of the matter. Music lessons where parents provide the instrument and the school provides lessons is okay, same thing with sports, many of our schools and park departments have scholarships and that is how my kids have been involved in extra cirricular activities. Maybe your friend can look into some of that stuff.

Good luck to you and your friend. I know the thing is that we always want our children to have more than we had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I hear you Robin!!! My parents help to provide music lesson for the boys because we can't squeeze much more out of our already strained budget. The swim team is free (all it costs me is our family pass of $25 for the summer and we use that anyway), but I do have to cover the cost of gas to all the meets (and many are over an hour away). I drive my kids because I want to be there for them and also because I have seen how some of the other parents and coachs drive and there is no way my kids are getting in a car with them. We also take kids with us who'd parents either can't or don't care to make it.
 

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It has to be free or darn close here too! I have 4 kids and they would love to do all the extras, but I just can't not to mention I would be running to and from games, meets, and practices all the time. They play softball and t ball if they want to and that is about it.
 

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We're pretty much in the same boat here - we try to take advantage of activities that are free, or very close to it. Most of the kids' activities include some basic expenses - band and scout uniforms, etc.- and even some church activities require money for dues and study materials. But extras beyond that just don't fit into our budget, and I try to keep the kids schedules from getting too overloaded as well.
 

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Molly is in first grade, and all we do now is Brownie Girl Scouts. We bought a uniform this year, that and the dues set us back about $100 for the year. Music lessons are great if you can afford them, we can not. We will be paying for two weeks of swim lessons this summer through the City Parks Department.

Does anyone else get tired of the expenses for school pictures (twice a year now!), yearbooks, etc.? It seems like it is always something.

Deb
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Deb,
We have been homeschooling for the last 5 years, but when my kids were still in public school it seemed that we were always expected to be buying this or that, paying for all kinds of field trips (most of which were not educational) or supplying items for the classroom or for the multitude of class parties! I was the room mom for my twin's class and I constantly had parents bailing out of their commitments at the last minute leaving me to fill in the item needed or to chaperone.
 

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I'm in favor of seeing if she can work out the budget for the longer music lessons.

Although it sounds like her children are in a lot of activities, I don't think I'd skimp on music lessons for a child who is progressing in an instrument. I'd cut out a different activity or see if I could be more frugal in some other area to make up the difference.

Is it Suzuki viola?
 

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My dd is in band and used money in her savings account to purchase her flute. If it isn't school related, I curb activities. Why? Because my DH and I both work and our schedules are unpredictable.

Why pay all the entrance fees, buy uniforms, etc if your child will only attend 4 out of 12 times? We just can't do it.

I don't allow my children to "SELL" stuff for PTO. Before you all start yelling...We pay enough taxes for the school to acquire what it needs. The PTO uses fund raisers for XTRA's...

I used to do the fund raisers...then my dd started 2nd grade and came home from school her first day with a sale...NO! They'd gone tooooo far. The schools have become to accustomed to depending on fundraisers for the unneccessary stuff.

They have an all school party the last day of school....basically they pay a mini-carnaval to set up at the local playground/ park. What ever happened to in class end of school parties. I think this is a bit frivolous. Or am I being tooooo frugal?

Yes the kids have fun, but the money would serve better if it were used to maintain the computer facilities. That is my opinion.
 
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