Lots of extra activities - how do you afford it all?(32 Posts)
Perhaps I'm just very naive but those with two or more kids whose children do tons of activities - how do you pay?
Seriously, I don't mean to offend but am genuinely curious. I have two kids. They each do Brownies/Cubs, one does guitar, one does tennis and we all go swimming once a week - this amounts to almost £100 a month averaged out over a year. There are families around with kids who do loads more than mine and/or have more kids doing more than mine. I've just lost all my child benefit and will now have to seriously budget each month so they can continue with these basics.
Are you all just minted?
We have a higher than average household income and it us a priority. We probably don't have flash holidays in comparison to other families in a similar income bracket . We also use state schools and top up.
We give each child a weekly budget and explain this to them. They know they can only do the activities they can afford. DD and DS2 have only been able to start instrumental lessons (flute and drums) since they gave up swimming lessons, which they were allowed to do once they got to a certain level.
Now that DS1 is in secondary school, there are a lot more free activities. DS2 is very reluctant to do any activities, so has offered to "sell" part of his remaining budget to the others.
I tok would rather spend on sports etc rather than a night out drinking or fancy dinner.
Agree it's very ££ though: my DD does tennis and drama/singing at nearly £50/ week and my DS does tennis and hockey at about £30/ week.
Sorry, I meant DS3 who does the drums. It's difficult to persuade DS2 to do anything.
Well we hardly ever go out. That in itself is expensive then you have to add in the cost of babysitters.
I don't think I'd actually want my kids to do more anyway as I think three things a week is enough and they need time to play with pals and just chill (oh and do homework!)
We hardly go out and the kids know their music lessons are instead of a trip to Disneyland. Luckily all 3 feel the same way.
DS2 has just come up trumps because he has just become a chorister and gets a grant towards instrumental lessons, plus an annual bursary, which means the budget stretches further. (He did want to do this though, the financial gain is a bonus!)
The hard part is the other opportunities that have come as they get older, school runs annual band trips. DS1 has been an an international scout camp and DD is going abroad with scouts this year. We have had to strictly limit those trips.
My DDs do gymnastics, which is very time consuming and whilst the hourly rate is good, my monthly bill is not that far off £200. Then you add in the dancing and the flute lessons, and my bill is at £2.5k before I start paying the extras for competitions, exams etc...
I'm lucky that my mum helps me out with some of the fees and I think our main sacrifice has been the car / holidays. Previously I used to enjoy foreign holidays and I always had a new car. Now my children have hobbies instead .
Since we introduced the budget, the children have become quite adept at finding clubs that are inexpensive or free of charge (choir, rugby etc).
Not minted, but comfortable here, the main reason we can afford it is that we have stayed in a small house when we could have afforded a bigger one by now, at the moment I'd rather be able to spend freely on activities and days out than have a bigger mortgage.
We aren't minted at all, despite being about to lose some of our child benefit (money previously used for extra curricular activities).
We only do what we can afford and have priorities. Dd (9) & Ds (5) both have violin lessons (including group, individual, orchestra & kodaly ) that total around £600 a term for both. In order to afford this i have a separate account that money goes in to weekly, so it's all there ready for when i need to pay fees.
In addition to this, Dd does brownies (£15 a term) and dancing (£14 a month). These are amount we can afford.
Ds doesn't do any extra activities yet & dd2 is only 20months so does none. I can't afford for the dcs to do a second instrument sadly & we don't do any of the baby music /swimming classes with the little on as we just can't afford to.
Our priority is violin lessons& we always ensure we can afford that. Anything else is a bonus.
We hardly ever go out and rarely drink. I also try to pick the free clubs at school. Plus we do a lot of family activities at the weekend which are free or low cost.
DCs have swimming lessons at school so i don't feel the need for extra lessons outside of those although there are plenty of kids at their school who do.
They both go to cycle/running clubs but we only pay on attendance.
The biggest cost for us is music lessons (x3) for which i pay £450/term. Luckily we can afford this and i'm hoping it might lead to a music scholarship!
I have to restrain DH from enrolling DS1 on everything going.
He doesnt seem to have a clue how much it adds up. He wants DS1 to do Karate (£30 pm) Spanish (£70 per term) Mad Science (about the same) and I've had to point out this would cripple us.
As far as I'm concerned they can do swimming (which is £16 pw total) and one extra thing each (not yet for DS2 but when he reaches school age I mean) if its appropriate (DS1 did mad science last term - I didn't think he was ready for it and he wasnt - didnt have a clue what was going on - total waste). I wish swimming were free with school but they only get to go for 8 sessions a year and for me thats not sufficient. (even then we have to pay £2.50 per session)
I'd love them to do music but I just don't think we'll be able to afford that.
If there is a cheap club (for instance the afterschool football club for DS1 is £1 per session which we can afford) they can do that as well as I have no issues with a pound a week, its when its upwards of a fiver then it becomes a problem.
I try not to think about it.
I try to give the children equal opportunities but ultimately spend a lot more on dd who is very serious about performing arts (she has performed professionally on a small scale & wants to possibly go to drama school eventually) than I do on ds who does martial arts once a week for fun.
Some people have more money than others. Obvious, no?
I have 2 DC who don't do any clubs, helps keep costs down.
Mine do things with school that are free (like choirs). Dance I do some stuff for the teacher, so we get that half price (which is worth about £150 a term).
Music lessons get priority, and we pay out the most for that (the girls do one instrument and singing). The children are part of a dramatics group which is free. Gym is paid for by DLA for dd2 as she's missing her hand and it helps her balance.
Other things they do Brownies/youth group type of things are generally about £1-£2 per session, so not too much.
Well I have 4 dc. Ds1 does football (£130 a year) and trombone - dh teaches him so that's free.
Ds2 belongs to 2 football teams so £260ish a year and violin - £27 week...not adding that up! Plus, orchestra which is £120 a year.
Dd1 does gymnastics (£80 term),brownies (£23 term), clarinet (£67 term) and steel pans (£35 term).
Dd2 does tennis (£66 term), rainbows (£15 term), gymnastics (£50 term) and trumpet - dh again so that's free.
Oh god, that's quite a lot. To be honest, we just pay it as we go along and don't think about it. We don't spend much on ourselves and hardly ever go out as dh works 6 out of 7 evenings.
Dd dances to the tune of two hundred a term but her brother is pro dancer and neither were academic so it's worthy investment in their future I think.
I use the child benefit to pay for it.
I have a reasonably paid DH and a house that doesn't get a new kitchen, carpets, sofa or much new paint.
DH and I get newer cars only when the old ones fall apart.
Activities, hobbies, one reasonable holiday a year and me being able to be a SAHM are our priorities.
And if visitors don't think our mush mash of cheap ikea, handle downs and inherited furniture is good enough tough.
This summer we can just afford to go to the States or do the kitchen.
The kitchen was old 14 years ago, when we moved in here.
It can wait another year
My daughter goes to many activities. She does fencing (1 hour), language (3 hours every 2nd week), ballet (3/4 hours), swimming (1/2 hours). The fencing is free (I am a volunteer coach), swimming used to be free (used to be a volunteer treasurer). I practice playing the recorder with her and I am sure I will be approached to volunteer as a TA (I was trained by Kodaly method). I also was asked to teach Makaton signing (twice!!!) but I was not interested. Did volunteer supply work for the language school too. So one way to save money for activities is to volunteer for clubs.
We are also living in a tiny house with it's 80's furniture. I also accept give away's from other foreigners (ballet bag, fencing kit...). We call up each other before buying anything for activities.
I try to attend most of the lessons and if I have to pay for something I rather choose the more expensive but more effective tuition (ask the local teachers/chat sites about the course).
We are just bl**dy poor compared to what we earn IYSWIM!!
Startail, we've been in our house 17+ years and the kitchen was " old" when we moved in LOL . We really need to do it this year as bits keep falling apart...
It's just where you place your spending priorities I guess.
I do breathe a sigh of relief though when each of them got to GCSE stage because after that the school funds 1 instrument worth of lessons! Also all county music service ensembles are free (or if you like, included in the price of the lessons!) which is really good.
When they go on tour etc it is hard but it's such an amazing experience in so many ways for them.
Eventually they may be star performers and keep me in my old age (snork! not likely! musicians never earn more than a pittance really even if they choose that route).
@theas I have a couple of musician friends who are now earning a fortune. But obviously I don't expect any of my kids to do the same.
We are are quite 'poor' compared to what we earn after you take out all the activities. And we won't be getting anything free after GCSE year either
Currently we stump up for:
DD1 - 4 different lots of weekly music lessons, one slightly more expensive monthly lesson on her first study instrument(s). Weekly stage/theatre group. Annual subs/fees for national ensemble residential course. Music exams, festival entries, extra masterclasses etc as crop up during the year
DS - 2 different lots of weekly music lessons. Weekly stage/theatre thing. (he manages to do some stuff for free through his school as a result of paying for the main instrument lessons). Music exam fees occasionally.
DD2 - 3 different lots of weekly music lessons. 2 different types of weekly dance class. weekly stage/theatre thing. Music and dance exam fees,dance and singing and music festival entries as crop up during the year (this is actually a fair bit, more than DD1 who has cut back on that sort of thing).
It costs a fortune, we don't go out much. We can definitely afford it all - I'm a high earner - but it does take a big chunk of money each term.
We spend about £150 a week for two DCs.
We pay for this by cutting expenses elsewhere. For eg we drive a 10 year old car and the last time we had a foreign holiday was the summer of 2010.
Guiding and Scouting are usually excellent value for money because the leaders are volunteers. They are also often able to offer reduce subs for a family in genuine need. My Brownie pack has someone on 1/2 subs as we'd rather cover that than have a girl miss out on the opportunity.
My DD has done Rainbows/Brownies/Guides and DS Beavers/Cubs so far. Both are £30 for a full term. DD is on WinterCamp at the mo which is £55 including meals for a full weekend of amazing activities. I think it's a bargain!
They used to do swimming lessons, but we stopped once they were both competant.
DD also has a weekly riding lesson, whcih is our extravagance. It's £27 for an hour. She adores it. We can stretch to it, but she understands that she has to skip one if she has an extra Pony Club day during the school hols.
DS is showing an interest in guitar lessons now, so we are investigating...
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