Author Topic: Kid’s activities – what’s reasonable?  (Read 2727 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Kid’s activities – what’s reasonable?
« on: February 27, 2014, 01:56:45 PM »
I got to thinking how reasonable or not are amount/costs of activities that we have our kids in.  Here’s what we have going on now in terms of kid’s activities and costs. 

Kid 1: 11 years old, has moderate social issues, has hard time making friends but once finds person/group that is comfortable with stays there and does well.
   -Pottery/ceramics weekend class at local college.  Tuition is $300 per semester, 2-hour class once a week.  Absolutely loves this, has done this for two years now, moved to advance group, teacher always comments on creativity, perseverance, and continuously improved skills.    Annual cost $600.  Teacher wants to make my kid her class assistant in few years and then it will be free, but you have to be 16 years old for that.  So in 5 years if we continue with the class, the cost will go away.
   - Scouts, being with this troop for 4 years, loves it, made friends and socializes: semi-annual fee plus activities.  So far we paid $100 since September, there will probably be additional $40 to $60 before the end of June.  For a total of $140-$160, $150 average. Also being a troop member gives us large discount on summer camp, which kid loves for social aspect.  We would not be able to afford the camp without the discount (or rather we would not be able to afford as many weeks as we do without the discount).  Also wants to become camp-counselor-in-training and then camp is free for 2 weeks, but that’s not till 16 years old as well. 
- Musical instrument through school, annual fee $75.
   Total $850/year

Kid 2: 9 year old
-   Karate through school district, $50 annual sign-up fee, plus $80 every 3 months Sept through June, plus $40 for uniform/belt tests 2-3 times per year.  Total annual cost $370 to $410.  Kid loves this, been doing it for 2 years.
-   Scouts, being with troop for 3 years, likes it, would not want to quit.  I’m not crazy about the troop and the leader, but right now it’s very convenient as it is done through school and meetings are in school building after school.  Similar to kid 1 so far we paid $100, expect to have another $30 to $40 before year end.  Total annual cost $135.  Same as Kid 1 regarding summer camp discount.
-   Signed up for soft ball this spring.  $120 sign up, $150 spent on equipment.  This is only for this spring and will not be reenrolled after this fall.  Not really sure how I feel about this.  Feels expensive, but it’s done. 
-   Musical instrument through school, annual fee $75.
-   Total $520 without softball, $790 with softball.

Kid 1 wants to quit musical instrument through school next school year and learn to play a guitar.  Claims that with only few introductory lessons with instructor should be able to continue alone using online tutorials and such.  Seems serious enough where is saving money to buy a guitar (looked on line, decided need $200, has $75 saved right now).  I looked on craigslist and seems we should be able to get a guitar for $80 at most, this is just a first look through craigslist.  Better deal may be found for sure.  Local music store offers introductory private lessons $95 for 4 lessons (includes guitar rental for a month).  Give an opportunity to ‘sample’ the instrument and to figure out kid is actually serious about it.  Ongoing lessons are $450 for 20 lessons and it includes a $200 guitar (not a rental, we get to keep the instrument).  Looked at few lesson places and prices seem comparable.  Not sure if better deal can be had.  We are going to the local guitar center this weekend to see what they have to offer for comparison shopping.  I already told the kid that $450 is not in the budget.  But, should we go the $95 route for 4 intro classes with guitar rental before we buy an instrument.  I’m thinking that if we just try to find a private instructor, we would have to buy the instrument first and if kid decides that it’s not something to continue, then we are stuck with the instrument. 

We already talked to school and they don’t offer a guitar as option in middle school.  There are guitar lessons starting in high school though, but that’s  2 years away.

So without softball and guitar, this average to $115 per month for both kids.  Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 02:03:06 PM by FiguringItOut »


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Re: Kidís activities Ė whatís reasonable?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 02:15:03 PM »
A lot more than I spend on my kids ($10ish a month for annual Zoo pass, will probably go up once I figure out any other museum access plans in my area are "worth" it).

That said, nothing seems extravagant and the karate in particular is a really good deal compared to what I've typically seen martial arts cost.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Kidís activities Ė whatís reasonable?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 02:56:42 PM »
Doesn't seem extravagant at all. If the kids enjoy it and are committed to them, then bravo!


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Kidís activities Ė whatís reasonable?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 03:18:18 PM »
They are your kids and you most likely know best, e.g. there are probably more factors involved than you can fit in a single post.  As you did ask, however,...nothing seems ridiculous but if I had to drop one it would be the pottery.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Kidís activities Ė whatís reasonable?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 04:49:28 PM »
I dont see anything out of line. I have 4 kids in select Soccer which means I over pay for it being year round and travel all over the place BUT we turn it into family time. The kids are around a very diversed group of kids and have alot less insecurities then alot of kids. Its great exercise and we love watching them play. So it falls under cost for kids as well as entertainment because we really have no time to do anything else but i wouldn't change a thing. They also have to have great grades or they WONT participate (family rule) and I have used playing as leverage for alot of things! :-)


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Kidís activities Ė whatís reasonable?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 05:53:54 PM »
I think it all seems reasonable except the guitar.  I would tell her she has to keep with the current school instrument until high school (or let her quit, whatever) but that if she wants to switch to guitar now, she has to finance it herself.  Yes you can teach yourself guitar fairly easily but it will require a heck of a lot more internal motivation than showing up for band practice at school.  If you value music for your daughters (and I do for my kids, for sure) then I would want to keep her in the organized school lessons.


  • Bristles
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Re: Kidís activities Ė whatís reasonable?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 05:55:17 PM »
One activity of their choice each, one membership per year (zoo, science museum, etc.), and one activity the whole family participates in. We're homebodies so I don't think we'd want to do anything more (or pay for anything more) than that.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Kidís activities Ė whatís reasonable?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 07:43:56 PM »
Thank you everyone.  I'm glad to see that we generally not going overboard with the activities.  I think I will be taking each line item in my budget one at a time and looking at each one separately.  Seems to be easier then to look at the whole budget all at once.