Kids activities: 5 ways to save money! - Essmak

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Kids activities: 5 ways to save money!

Few things are more enjoyable than seeing your children learn a new skill. Extracurricular activities make for more well-rounded, sociable kids, allow them to make new friends, and help limit the amount of time they spend in front of the television.

Youth sports and other activities benefit your child's development and socialization.

But youth sports and music lessons can be expensive, causing many families to have to stretch their budgets more than they would like. Fortunately there are lots of ways to keep the costs of youth sports and other activities under control. Here are 5 of them.

1. Create a Budget for Extracurricular Activities

You may not be sure how much to budget for extracurricular activities. Ask other parents whose children have participated in the extracurricular activities your kids are interested in. Keep in mind there are hidden costs, like transportation, uniforms, and even extra food (because playing youth sports can make kids extra hungry). Once you can gauge costs, make a yearly estimate of what you want your budget to be for your kids' activities. You can share this information with older children to help them prioritize and focus on activities that interest them most. Do your best to stick with your budget, and next year you'll have a better idea of how much to budget for activities.

2. Take Advantage of Early Registration and Family Discounts

Many leagues and clubs offer discounts for registering early because the earlier kids register, the easier it is to plan schedules, practices, and events. Set up reminders on your phone or computer for a few days before the early registration discount ends so you don't miss out. If you have multiple children engaging in the same activity, ask if there are family discounts. Many summer programs, for example, offer discounted prices when multiple siblings register at the same time. These may or may not be advertised, so be sure to ask as soon as you know your children will be participating. 

3. Save on Equipment by Buying Used or Renting

While you shouldn't skimp on safety equipment, there may be other items your child really doesn't need, or that can be purchased second hand, borrowed, or rented. Again, other parents can be great resources. Not only can another mum tell you whether their child really needed that team logo water bottle, she might remember her daughter has an outgrown pair of tap shoes your daughter can borrow while she figures out whether dance lessons are for her. Renting can be a good option for musical instruments, which can be quite expensive to buy. Rental fees are usually reasonable, and after a year you should know whether it will be worthwhile to buy your child an instrument.

Sometimes renting or buying used is a smart way to save money. 

4. Choose Recreational Over Competitive Teams

Some youth sports leagues and other activities are more competitive than others. "Select" teams or groups tend to be for kids with real athletic performance or other talent, who may be looking to eventually land a scholarship based on that talent. These select activities can be great for developing promising talent, but they can cost a lot of money too. Generally more equipment is required, uniforms are fancier, and there is more transportation involved. If your child is more interested in having a fun time, check out recreational leagues, which will allow your child to learn an activity, but take up less of his free time and cost less. 

5. Make It Easy to Keep Up With Equipment and Supplies

Few things are more frustrating than losing equipment or supplies for extracurricular activities. Impress upon your children the importance of keeping up with their gear, and invest in a bag or knapsack to hold it all. Label all your child's gear with his or her name to increase the chances of it being returned if it is misplaced or left behind. You have many great options for personalized labels that can be used on equipment, cases, or clothing. Labelling everything reinforces your kids' understanding of how important keeping up with gear is, and when someone finds a labelled piece of equipment or clothing, they know right away who it belongs to. 


Youth sports and other extracurricular activities don't have to break your budget if you plan and keep these tips in mind. And if you're interested in custom labels for your child's belongings, Essmak has you covered. We offer a wide variety of custom labels that make keeping up with your child's things easier.

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