Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Conquering the Extra Curricular Budget

Show choir, traveling soccer, honors choir, and violin. DD2 is loaded with extras in her days beyond school. Add driving to the list, and the added car, gas, and insurance expenses, and the family of Sam has to find more techniques to stay ahead of the budget. Granted, some of the added gas money will be neutral, as her driving means I'm not using my car gas to bring her, and as there is not a double round trip (as sometimes I go home and then drive back), With her siblings, we provided one tank of gas a month, which covered school commute, and the basic school related activities. After that, they were on their own, and it came from their spending or earned money. This really helped them develop an appreciation of how costly the extra trips are, and that driving is a privilege and an added expense. We'll continue this plan for DD2. She will need to learn to never buy gas without a coupon, minimum of $0.05 off per gallon.She gets good grades, which helps keep insurance manageable through a good student discount-essential! 

2017 will be the year of brown bagging it, or "coolering" it, as it were. We'll use our lunch bag and small coolers for days out, and soccer nights and weekends. We will not leave the house without a refillable water bottle. For show choir, the expectation is for the kids to use the concessions, as that helps cover the host schools costs. I'll go with tradition, but still send her with a packed portable breakfast and snack for the bus ride there and home. (These are 15-18 hour days with travel and competition.) Show choir does a much better job with concessions.Typically the menus include soups, salads, pasta dishes, fruit, and vegetables, and not just the sports concession fare of popcorn, candy, hot dogs and pizza. Spending $10 on a lunch and supper when I know it is going to be decent makes a difference, and I just roll it into the cost of the activity that we budget for. 

We'll continue for the time being with the shared 30 minute lesson, and 15 minute private, which means we are getting 15 more minutes of lesson than if all solo, and she has more motivation to practise with her friend outside of the lesson. Generally, the teacher has at least one lesson time a month with a conflict, and that saves us the $30 for the week. I'll pay the full amount, and slowly build a credit, so we end with a month-two months a year with no lesson fees. Then, that months fee can go towards a future payment for another activity. 

I've talked about working opportunities to earn dollars in her various accounts. I will be putting those earnings in my newly coined "Rain Drops" fund, suggested by the Hawaii Planner. I like that phrase, as it goes with the theme of saving for a rainy day. All together, DD2's extra curriculars come to $3300. While a lot of money, it is nothing compared to what I'm sure other families have invested. Granted, we are involved in organizations that do a lot of fundraising and use volunteer labor, and DH and I put in our time dues to keep the fees low. These activities give her and us, a lot of enjoyment, so are worth staying in the budget. My job is to manage how that budget gets implemented. 

For those of you with kids at home, how are you navigating the expenses? Do you work more to earn, or cut from other parts of the budget, or a combination of strategies? 

13 comments:

  1. Love the rain drops! And, I can relate on the kids activity expenses front! And, our kids activity expenses really stood out to me this weekend, when I was adding up our yearly totals. I don't have a good solution yet, but we are trying to teach the boys about how expensive the activities are, and how it's a tradeoff between soccer, and say, art class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't even include Costa Rica in the total, so yes. Choices need to be made. She chose to forego a snow tubing day Sunday as itvwss another $17 expense and spent free extender time with another friend.

      Delete
  2. Those days are over for me, thankfully (at least thankful in the money sense!) Kazi's thing was competitive Highland dancing which I estimate cost me $10,000 per year. But that figure also included holidays because if the National competition was Montreal or Edmonton we'd tack on an extra week for exploration and adventures. I miss those days (except for the $$$)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holy buckets! Granted if she makes varsity, there will be regional travel but thEy is a hefty number.

      Delete
  3. We are no longer paying for anything but college and have paid our last semester this month. Hooray!!!!!!
    Next we will see who can support himself with a music degree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations-you'll be rich.I'm sure you had many years though.

      Delete
  4. It's the little things - like bottles of water - that really start to add to the cost of a day. We don't have children but I know how my sister is feeling a huge financial difference since her eldest went to Uni. Jx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right. All of a sudden $20 is gone.

      Delete
  5. UGH! High school for two daughters: dues and fees for Youth in Gov't, Model U.N., Band, high school and summer swim teams, lacrosse, drama club, comedy improve group, a cappella group (and an unbelievable amount of t-shirts & sweatshirts that go with all that), instrument purchases, music lessons, band trips . . . double UGH!

    Done with most of it but it does continue into college to some extent, if you can believe that!

    I'm going to feel so rich once they graduate!!

    -DeeCee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet! Fees are higher than with my older two. She's cost the two of them together.Good luck with your last years.

      Delete
  6. She pays for some of her high school things and half of the biggies. For example, she's going on a trip to Nashville with her band group over spring break and in June, she's flying to Florida for a Science trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a fair compromise.I struggle with allowing too many work hours because her school schedule is challenging academically. She wants more for summer though.

      Delete
  7. What a lovely choice. Love the storage nook and color. Thank you for sharing the brand-we will be in the market for a new sectional soon

    ReplyDelete

Join the conversation. Your respectful comments are welcome. Spam and advertising products or services without permission will be deleted, as will anything deemed hurtful to others. A change, I moderate comments older than three days to be sure I read them all and stay ahead of the spam. If you're a blogger, feel free to include your blog URL.