Most classes around here are $15/class, which adds up really fast. Except for things like music lessons and horseback riding, which work out to around $50/hour. We do take advantage of financial aid and barter when we can...but I can't count on always being able to get aid, YK? In the case of music lessons, we stretch them out and go 2-4 weeks or more between lessons, as needed, with me filling in the gaps at home.
There are some great and relatively inexpensive summer opportunities that support our family's interests, things I can do along with the kids so I'm not sending them off on their own, that we are going to try out just for this summer. But cheap does not equal free. We'll take it one summer at a time.
We do lots of fun free and cheap stuff during the year. We do free soccer and free homeschooling classes (there are some paid classes in our group that we generally opt out of). We were in a free and absolutely wonderful community theater production last winter and will continue doing that yearly. I sing in a free choir, we organize a free monthly sing with friends, and we do a lot of other fun stuff that costs nothing. We don't have school fees; we pay only $5/week during the school year for our homeschool group's dues. We are working on beginning a monthly game night at our house. We also contradance a few times a month, where we get a family rate that works out to about $4/person (regular admission is $10/person).
I feel incredibly lucky that we are able to afford the opportunities that we do. We didn't even feel the need to do any paid activities until about a year ago, and we managed to add activities despite some big financial challenges. Things are easing up for us financially right now and that is why we can consider the summer activities. I know that at any time we can just opt out and things would be fine, but I'm also concerned about making the most of a window of opportunity that I see for some of my kids in some areas. My oldest is surrounded by some amazing mentors who are strongly supporting him in what amounts to a professional learning track (that will quite likely get him paid work as a teen).
My second and third are in the right place at the right time with rare opportunities for things they are developmentally prime for. One takes lessons from a world-class fiddle teacher, and the other, the one who could do perfect headstands at age three, is taking a class at a pro circus school that happens to be in our town. My youngest is dying for horse riding lessons, but I'm having her wait (she is only 5). Still, I'm considering that cost in the future mix.
I guess this is one area where we are comfortable spending more. We scrimp (within our comfort zone) on food and household and housing and heat and clothing and recreation and gas and other things, but spending on kids activities (about one class or instrument per kid) seems really important right now, especially since we homeschool.
It seems like so many people have their kids in so many expensive activities. I don't know how they do it. Maybe they have more money, or less kids, or both - or different priorities, somehow. We have nixed a number of really interesting opportunities that our friends do because they just felt so unaffordable to us. (Wilderness school one day/week at $1700/kid/year, music daycamp at $250/kid/week, all-ages-inclusive Music Together at $15/kid/week would be $60/week for our family, etc., dance lessons, pottery classes, art classes, youth theater at $450/kid/show regardless of role, theatre classes, etc.) And my kids aren't even interested in competitive sports - now that sounds really expensive (hockey, gymnastic, competitive dance, etc).
Can you help put this in perspective for me? What does your family average per kid on activities through the course of a year (including summer)? Does it vary widely by kid or by year? Do you think you are frugal in your choices or is this an area where you knowingly splurge?
My 12 yo takes private violin lessons, $50/hour lesson, and we probably do 45 lessons a year = $2,250. Violin rental is $35/month = $420. It's a rent to own situation, and we'll probably buy a pretty good instrument in a year or so with what we've paid in over the years. She's auditioning for a good youth orchestra next month and if she gets in, that will be another $800/year. There are also miscellaneous fees for auditions, field trips, etc.
She also takes Tae Kwon Do. It's hard to put an annual price on that as it's a contract that takes them through getting a second degree black belt. It was about $5000 for the entire contract. We pay about $100/month, and have less than a year's payment left. It will be at least another two years before she gets to 2nd degree black belt. There are also miscellaneous expenses for competitions and belt tests.
My 9 year old takes ballet, tap and gymnastics. The total for the three is $120/month. She doesn't take lessons in the summer, so it's $1,160/year. Recital fees and costumes are about $150/year. She also recently started private flute lessons, which are $27/half hour, and again we try to do about 45 lessons=$1,215/year. Her flute rental is $37/month or $444/year. We'll be paying in for a few years before we buy (also a rent to buy program.
All this doesn't include summer camps and activities, for which we probably spend around $1,000 total.
Seeing all this makes me realize why I'm 50 years old and my house is still furnished in Early Castoff.
If you'd asked me before I had kids if I'd pay for private music lessons, I'd have told you never. We're not musical at all. But my oldest dd is talented, her elementary school strings teacher recommended it, and it has been fabulous for her in many aspects of her life, not just the playing. We were very fortunate to get in with an amazing tutor, who happened to move to the area after teaching at one of the most prestigious conservatories in North America.
I'm willing to do without a fair amount for this stuff and for a college fund for the kids.
I originally wrote this and didn't put in prices because frankly it's shocking to put it out there. Hockey for ds is $2400 for the season with about $600 on top of that for equipment, $200 for skates, $5 every 10 hours for sharpening, and $100-$300 at least once a month for travel and meals + $500 for a week long camp this summer. Lacrosse is a bit cheaper, $250 for the season, only about $400-$500 for gear and another $500 for a week of camp.
Roller skating lessons for both: $100/month
Gymnastics for dd2: $60/month
This summer they'll each do 3 weeks of gymnastics camp which comes out to be $1000
There's the occaisional other classes we do, like right now dd1 is doing a golf class at school for 6 weeks @$90
There are lots of cool things I'd like them to do but are cost prohibitive. We could afford most of them, but I balk at paying that much money!
swimming: $10 / session (1day/week for 2.5 months) and in the summer it is 10$ / session (2 week sessions / 14 days) through the city. Great program. At the Y or other clubs I can pay more, but I like this program.
soccer: 75$ / year which includes two sessions / spring and fall (about 15 saturdays)
softball: 45$ for spring session (7 games)
music lessons: $700/year (20$/lesson and 100$ for group lessons (8).) Suzuki violin
** the number you have for music lessons seems very high $50/ lesson!
art program: $65 / session - about 10 classes.
karate: $150 / session (1class/week for approx 3 months) This is a frugal choice as well as the once a week option suits us. Karate is through an after school program. The instructor owns a dojo and it costs much more to take the lessons there and one is also required to go more then once a week.
for one child (7 years old):
swimming: $30/year ($20 are for summer sessions)
music lessons: $700/year
art program: $130/year
karate: $450/year (hmmm, that looks like more when I add it up!)
We pay for other things on a one time basis (skate boarding, rock climbing etc) and for summer camps.
We also do things on our own - ice skating, roller skating, etc
I do think the prices are reasonable for the activities we have found, but we will probably be more selective when we are paying for more then one.
As well, we are trying to sort this out though...sometimes it seems like he has too many activities - but he likes them all besides the music lessons, but i think they are important!
We've got 4 boys, ages 10.5-3.5. The older three do piano lessons, which is by far our biggest expense each month. We're currently paying $380/month for these lessons.
They play sports almost all year (fall baseball, winter basketball for the younger two, roller hockey for the oldest, and spring baseball) Each season is about $150 for the family total. (not including equipment; that's just team fees) In the summer, we have a membership at our beighborhood pool, and this year that's $620. They'll each be doing a one week class at our local community college, and that's $80-100 each.
My oldest does every sport available through his school. Baseball, football and basketball and those are all around $30. But we also had to buy him a mitt, cleats, bat and balls. He goes to a summer camp or two through our community college and those are right around $100 each. I'd like to get him in swimming lessons as well so that's about $35.
Both boys ride dirt bikes, so there's gear and gas and such included with those. But even with that and the stuff they do or might do this year, it's only around $500 a year total. If that.
ETA: I forgot golf. My oldest attends a summer golf camp for $25 and we golf alot. But the regular golfing is free for us. They both have clubs and we do replace shoes as needed.
To clarify, or maybe I typed it wrong? One child gets two lessons a month at $25/lesson. One child gets roughly one lesson every month at $40/lesson. We could not afford weekly lessons at that price.
Originally Posted by efmom
She might be referring to me. Dd's violin lessons are $50 for an hour lesson. We could certainly find cheaper tutors, but this particular tutor is worth every penny
Currently, my oldest is taking an archery class that is FREE, but we'll be buying him some gear in the next few weeks, and that won't be cheap (he's been borrowing gear up to this point, but is ready for his own now). He will be starting drum lessons this summer, I'm still waiting to hear back about how much that will be. I'm prepared to pay a decent amount for this because DS will be taking lessons from an old friend of mine who is a professional muscian.
DS2 was taking gymnastics lessons, but has dropped out. He wants to play tennis this summer ($50 for a week long camp) and wants to take guitar lessons (which will be $15/ half-hour lesson).
DD1 is in gymnastics, it's $45/month for 1- 45min lesson/week. DD is REALLY good at gymnastics, and we're contemplating moving her up to a good gymnastics program, which would involve practicing 2-3times/week, and cost a few hundred dollars a month.
DD2 is taking a danceline class which costs $25/month. The program was GREAT last year, but it's been horrible this year because of a new director. She'll be dancing elsewhere next year, which will increase the cost to about $50/month. She's also interested in guitar lessons this summer, which will be $15/half hour lesson.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
Reading all these posts and how much some mamas spend, I'm a little scared of my kids getting older
Right now my DS1 (6yo) and DD1 (4.5yo) do county rec soccer. For the 8 week program it's $70/ child and that's not including gear, cleats, shin guards, balls, small net for home.
We're working on becoming debt free, so this $140/ season was a stretch for us. I can't imagine adding in music lessons (which I'm very interested in my kids taking), more sports, and other activities for 4 children, on top of homeschool curriculum for us
Jenn<>< crunchy conservative mama to 6
and my way through my stash.
Have you asked for multiple child discounts? My kids are much younger but I've been looking into tumbling class and I found a place that does one child full price the next half price.
DS who is really the only one old enough to do solo activites will be taking
Soccer- $90 summer session
Swim Lessons- $60 - 9 days
And karate perhaps the next year or so
My dd is quite flexible and a great tumbler so I will be putting her in gymnastics when she turns three so she can go solo.
It seems like all the activites I have looked at require a min age of 3 so these are the programs I am looking into.
Our family focuses on sports for now until the kids develop their own likes and then they can choose activites themselves. My DH would love a athletic prodigy but I dread it because of all the costs involved.
For now I am glad my children are young and are just happy to go hang at the beach.
ETA: I don't even want to think about school costs, I can barely stomach the preschool fees around here.
For summer camps, my son will go to two weeks of camp at $200/week. I hope he will have lots of fun at nature and zoo camps. My daughter will go to two weeks of preschool camp at $75/week.
I did spend $30 on an actual art class from him, it was a 3 week session- 1 hr each week and he loved it. (young rembrants). If its offered again and fits our time frame I *may* pay for it.
Unfortuanetly with my only income being unemployment for the post part I cant afford class fees and such.
I did splurge and buy a seasons pass to the water park so that is our summer activity. (About 60$ person).
Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed
Seeking zen in 2014. Working on journaling and finding peace this year. Spending my free time taking J to swimteam
Summer camp is $1k per summer (8 weeks, and he brings his own lunch everyday)
music lessons for both: $128/mo.
summer camp: $330/year
We'll also do the occasional museum, or art class, etc.
$165.00 a semester per dance class, she takes tap and ballet so two classes
$50.00 a month for two gymnastics 50 minute sessions a week, she has one more level at this price, and it will increase to the pre-team rate.
She swims in the summer, they are finally doing a summer swim team, and I am not sure yet what the rates will be. In the winter she snowboards, $$$$. She really wants to get on the snowboard team in Telluride next winter, which is even more money because we could have to buy season passes for that resort. She is quite talented so I do want to encourage her if she has the will, which she certainly does, she lived to snowboard all winter and could be found barreling down double black diamonds anytime she could talk someone into taking her up. Things could be cheaper if the child wan't one of those people that excels at everything physical.
$45 month for dance
$30 a month for gymnastics
My son takes piano and hip hop dance lessons - $150/mo (30 mins wk of piano for $97/mo and 1hr week of dance). We prepaid the dance for a year but I don't remember what the breakdown of what we actually paid is but it runs about $50/month on a month-to-month basis.
My daughter is in way too many dance classes right now. She is in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop plus she's in the company performance group, takes technique classes, and is doing competitions. She's at about $300/mo but we pre-paid for a year in advance and so got a big discount. After this year she's transitioning out of the company/competition group and only attending the pre-professional ballet program. Lesson costs will go down at first but then go up once she gets to the higher levels. However, not having competition fees will be great! Competition costumes, entrance fees, choreography, etc etc.
Since then, we've joined the Y which is $67/mo for the family. Lessons/classes still are extra but it's more like $25/mo rather than $100 for karate, dance, etc. Swimming is free, lessons are half the cost of through a private swim school. So our Y membership is $804 per year and we've spending closer to $600/yr on activities now.
Declutter - 789/2010 (counting the stuff on my porch waiting for a Freecycler to pick it up! )
DD is 9 (third grade). She is in year-round public school (good school). She basically is in class for three periods of time (called trimesters) and out of school for three short periods of time (averages out to be one month each, but isn't exactly that each time) each year. We allow two activities per trimester - we tack the break onto whichever trimester makes the most sense, so there are no more than three activity periods per year (6 total activities potentially).
One has been Girl Scouts since the beginning of second grade ($10-12 per year plus a few inexpensive activities and a $25 supplies fee the first year). She gets to choose the other activity each trimester. (GS was/is her choice, too.) Since Kindergarten, she has done: junior theater 2-3 times, basketball once or twice, gymnastics 2-3 times, science club once, ice skating once, general sports (4 sports in 8 weeks) once, and kids fitness class (dance/gymnastics/yoga/free play) once. All of these have been through her school or the YMCA (we have a "family membership"), except ice skating was through a family-owned business in a friend's neighborhood. The prices vary, but in general I keep it under $100 for any activity and that activity usually goes for 2-3 months at once a week usually (with some exceptions, like kids fitness was 1-3 times per week and ice skating was 1-5 days a week). So, less than $300 per year total.
Swim lessons have been inexpensive and were each summer for ages 3 (free), 4 ($50-75), and 5 ($75-100). Practically the only fee-based activity she did before school started. We would have continued them, but her school schedule doesn't mesh well with the classes offered for her skill level. Our goal was to have her become comfortable in the water and be able to swim well enough to get to the side of any pool. She is a fish and loves the pool and ocean. We go often!
For us, it is more about time than money. Although the cost is definitely a consideration, obviously. The time involved in team sports is just not what our family wants. We eat dinner together at home at the table nearly every single night. We play family games; we read; we hike; we play in the ocean/at the beach; we swim in the pool; we do things as a family. We also are very active in our playgroup; same core group from the summer of 2001. All of the above is free or nearly free.
We do spend $100-150 per year on a tax-deductible membership for a combo charity and family activity once a month (zoo, museums, aquarium, etc - rotate each year). We do arts and crafts in a variety of ways (formal lessons in school and lots of unstructured at home plus random other activities). We attend the free summer concert series around town every year with our playgroup. No formal lessons, though she will get those in school in 4th and 5th grades in her current school (instruments). She also had formal lessons in K and first grades (mostly rhythm based). (Strangely, none in 2nd and 3rd grades.)
I like to think we cover the basics without spending a lot and give her a well-rounded exposure to activities she might not otherwise have the opportunity to do. At the same time, we strive to preserve our family life that we value. I expect things will change when she reaches middle school and will change again when she gets to high school. Our basic values are unlikely to change, though. Just the details of how we implement them within the framework of our lives....
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa
Dd1~11 yrs old
traveling soccer team=$975/yr doesn't include gas to games, sometimes 2 hours a way, and new cleats and such. But does include everything else. Every once in a while she will do a soccer camp in the summer which is $120.
She also plays the clarinet and gets free lessons through school. The rental is $420/yr but that will stop when its paid for which i think is next year.
Dd2~ 7 yrs old
Takes 2 hours of dance a week(because she wants to not because I want her to. I could really use that extra 2 hours a week for other things..lol!) That is $960/yr. It is for 10 months with the summer off. That doesn't include costumes for the recital which come out to about $200 for 3 classes, or extra tights, shoes when she needs them.
She also takes swimming lessons. The are about $580/yr.
Dd3~ 5 yrs old
Takes gymnastics once a week for 10 months out of the year. $980/yr
She also does swimming lessons once a week so thats $580/yr
As a family, we join a pool that we visit everyday in the summer $520/yr
We joined the local childrens museum $120/yr
If I added right that is a grand total of $5335/yr
We only do these activities because my kids really want to. If they ever said they were sick of them we would finish out the particular series and then quit if that is what they wanted to do. It makes me a little insane sometimes, all the rinning around but it won't last forever. At least that is what I 'm hoping. I really just want my kids to find something they really like and stick with it. I'm willing to try lots of things to help them out. Heck, maybe their thing is no thing, which I will be okay with...as long as they give somethings a try first.
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Guitar for one kid-$60 a month
T-ball/softball fees, one time per year-$30 x3
swim team-don't know yet because it'll be her first year
Girl Scouts-$12 sign up fee and $2 dues per mtg x2
swimming lesson-$30 per year x3
Both of the girls take weekly Kinder____ at the local rec center. DD4's Kinderdance runs around $20/class, and she participates about 8 months out of the year. DD2 just started Kindertots and her classes are around $13/each, including a 10% second-child discount.
DD4 also takes Karate at an amazing dojo. The cost is $2037/year for three sessions per week, which works out to be about $13/class. Of course, I should mention that watching her progress and performance in Karate prompted my husband to join up, too, which will add another $1500/year (give or take, including second-family-member discount) to our activities expenses. I'm not thrilled about the expense, but I am so happy to see my DH involved in something so active! He's a computer guy and is really benefiting from the physical stimulation.
Once DD4 begins pre-K in the fall, we will likely drop the Kinderdance for her and keep DD2 in it until she's a bit older and we can see where her talents and interests take her.
Reading all these posts and how much some mamas spend, I'm a little scared of my kids getting older
I intend to get her into karate, which starts at age 5 here. I think it is $10-20/wk for that, at the dojo I looked at.
I have thought about getting her into dance, but I honestly don't think we could afford it, until we are more stable financially.
I may also look into piano and/or voice lessons for her when she's a bit older. By next year when she's 5 our monthly expenses should be lower, between paying the car off and unloading our unsellable first house.
There are 2 homeschool coops nearby, and we will probably get involved in some of their activities.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
― George Orwell, 1984
DS plays 2 seasons of soccer. DD is playing her first season. Our fee is $50 per season. The cleats they got were $20 a pair; shin guards are $12 a pair. Balls are $10-20, though we don't re-purchase everything each season.
I'd like to get DS into golf lessons, but we haven't pursued it beyond him asking me. I have never played golf and have no idea how much this costs.
I was a scholarship musician in college, so I don't pay for music lessons. I just teach them on my own, though DS does want some percussion equipment that will be around $100.
DD usually does 2 gymnastics clinics each year at the Y. Each one is $25 for 4 weeks.
I haven't decided on the summer yet. Because I'm going back to work, things are up in the air. I do hear you on summer activities. Most of the camps I've seen are $150-250 for 5 days, usually 8-3 or 8-5. I'm not sure I can stomach that much because I'm just not sure the payoff is worth it. One is an inventors' camp that I know DS would *love*, but the cost just stops me.
We have 3 memberships - the zoo, the science center, and an indoor play area (mostly for snowy months). They are $200 a year, and I think this counts toward "children's activities."
Other than these activities, we do hikes and try to keep up with free activities listed on various local websites.
I grew up on a farm, so money was always tight, so myself and my 2 brothers and 2 sisters did not do any *paid* activities, aside from sponsored activities with our church's youth group.
We did spend many hours outside playing in the woods, building forts, riding bikes, going swimming in the pond, sledding on the hills, etc....I played the trumpet in the middle school band with a hand-me-down trumpet....etc.
Many hours were also spent working along side my parents on the farm....baling hay, feeding and milking the cows, working on equipment, operating machinery, etc....
I feel that I had a very happy and fun childhood and have grown into a well rounded adult, sans all the expensive activities..
I have to wonder if my upbringing begs to question why I am so shocked as to how much parents are spending on activities??
My ds is going to be 5 in the fall....prime time to start different sports/lessons, etc.....and I really can't see myself spending lots of $$ for him to participate (first of all, it's simply not in our budget)......anyone else??
One sleepy mama to ds #1 (5) and ds #2...my VBAC baby (2) and expecting #3 sometime in 2/2012!!