Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are Your Children’s After-School Activities Blowing Your Budget?

Involving your children in after-school activities is a good way to keep them busy and also from getting into trouble. However, sometimes too many activities can put strain on a family’s budget. There are several activities that your children can get involved in that will not put a strain on your finances. Here are some points to consider:

* Is there a monthly fee for the activity? Such activities include martial arts, gymnastics or dance class. These monthly fees can eat away at a budget very quickly, so plan accordingly and consider registering your child in only one activity at a time. This may not be feasible if you have more than one child as the cost will increase with each child who participates. Some institutions, however, do offer discounts for family participation.

* Many schools have after-school activities such as sports. Most of the time, these activities are funded by the school with little investment from the parents. There are many different sports available for your children to try from ball games to swimming lessons.

* Scouts have clubs virtually everywhere. Look online and find a scout near your home. These clubs are usually low cost and have great benefits. The purpose of the scouts is to teach your children morals and values; they supplement what you teach your children at home. Also taught in the scouts is leadership and teamwork.

* In the US, 4-H clubs are a good way to get children involved in crafts and taking care of animals. 4-H is not available everywhere but they do have a lot of science activities that most other organizations do not. Often they exhibit at local fairs or craft shows.

* Musical lessons are another option, which children often do when they are inspired artistically. One of the best artistic ways for your children to express themselves is through music. This can be instrumental or vocal in nature. Many times schools will have these programs available or they can be found by searching your local phone book. This can get expensive, however, if your child has her heart set on an unusual or valuable instrument. Consider hiring or borrowing bigger instruments, like a piano, before investing in something that may only be a fleeting interest.

Keeping your children occupied after school can get pricey, especially if your children are involved in multiple activities. To ease up on your budget, try to keep children in one primary activity. Schools offer many different sports programs and there are many organizations that cater to children such as 4-H and Boy and Girl Scout clubs. Whichever activity you choose for your children, be sure to make sure they enjoy the activities, otherwise you could be throwing your money away.

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