Author Topic: Paying for kids activities (Karate, Gymnastics, Gym membership during outbreak)  (Read 1794 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Age: 52
  • Location: Seattle
I have three children that were going to various after school activities such as Karate, Gymnastics etc (prior to this outbreak).  There is a shelter in place order for a few weeks. However, given that we have an elderly living in our house, and given that it will likely take a few weeks/months before things get back to somewhat normal, we likely wonít send kids to any such program for at least three months.

Should I reach out to these small businesses asking them to hold off charging for the next three months? Are there benefits for these businesses in the new stimulus package that was approved? If you are in a similar situation, how are you handling it? While I do want to help small businesses survive through this period, I am trying to weigh it against spending on something we wonít be using and saving more for ourselves in case things were to get worse. Appreciate any thoughts and feedback from other parents/individuals in similar situations.


  • Bristles
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  • Location: Canada
For us, since our income has not been affected (in fact, since we are now able to work from home this is saving us a lot of money), we have kept paying the monthly bills so that these small businesses can stay afloat.  Some (like music lessons) are now being done online.  Others, not at all.  But we are still paying so that the businesses are still there when this is all over. Hopefully. 

Captain FIRE

  • Pencil Stache
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Our swim place told us fairly early on that they would extend the session by the weeks that they were closed, and that makeups would not expire.  (Normally you have unlimited makeups but they expire the next session.)  That was more generous than I was expecting, which was just that we could make up the missed weeks.  They did note that they were a small business and would need to reeevaluate as this continued though.

Daycare...we are still waiting to hear from.  After the state announcement they'd need to close for 2 weeks, they told us 50% off tuition for April.  After the Governor shut them down for another 4 this past week, we haven't heard an update - though they did email out about a few online things they'd be doing (which totally does not substitute for care for a 3 yo).  Not sure what we'll do.  Unlike those who have auto-pay set up, we have some options.  We could let them know by Tuesday we're withdrawing him, forego our deposit on record for April (technically they should refund the difference between the infant rate we paid in and the preschool rate he's at now, but dunno if that would happen), keep him out during my 6 mo. maternity leave, and reenroll him for fall.  We can wait and see what happens, not paying.  We can suck it up greatly send in our (very large) check like usual for services which we're not receiving.  Not really any good options, though some are worse than others.  I'm hoping over the weekend the daycare will take the time to look through the stimulus bill and see how it'll help them, look into their rainy day reserves, and tell us they aren't charging for April.  Pigs may fly soon too.

Blue Skies

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We were doing a lot of free activities, and those have pretty much stopped.  The ones we had been paying for have now moved to on line lessons, so we are still paying as usual. 

If I were paying for lessons that were not going to move on line, I would cancel them at this point.  Who knows when I would be comfortable sending the kids again, but it will be a long time. 


  • Bristles
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The gym I go to is still paying their employees so I am not freezing my membership. 

DD dance studio we are paying the fee. Today the instructor is bringing in DD to film some foot work and we are putting a check into the box for both April and May. It is important to me that they still continue teaching after this I am doing my part to keep them afloat as DD behavior is so much better with dance. I did offer that I could pay a year if that meant the instructor could eat. She said she is okay for now. I told her let me know and I could write a check.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Our daycare is giving us one free week in April after they decided to close for 2 weeks.  After that, they're planning to stay open, pending any state-wide daycare closures, which seem unlikely. 

They're asking people who are keeping their kids at home to pay 50% tuition to hold their place, since teachers still need to be paid, as well as the mortgage/rent, insurance, etc.  We've decided to pay 75% of our tuition.  Our income hasn't changed at all, and as much as having kids home 24/7 sucks for my productivity, it is our decision to keep them home for now.  I really like our independent daycare and all of their teachers.  I'd hate for them to close down because a bunch of people take their kids out.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Our karate studio is now doing online classes while the state is under stay at home orders. We are participating in the online courses. It's only $100 a month, and my income has not been impacted. As PP said, I am now WFH full time, so I actually have saved quite a bit of money in gas and cafeteria food. Plus my mom is across the country and she is in panic mode so she is sending all kinds of food from online ordering. I can really see how stressed my son's karate studio is. I'm not sure if it's a financial thing or if it's a social thing, really missing the students, but I can tell he is struggling. DH and I talked about before the state announced school closures, etc, and we decided we would continue paying in order to support the school as long as possible.

My son's preschool is basically done for the year, and they are refunding parents who have already paid for the full year, and they are not collecting from the parents who haven't. So it's two months of tuition either not being paid or being refunded.  In true mustachian style, I paid for the full year in order to get a prepayment discount. Under normal circumstances, especially since it's not that much money, I would probably decline the refund and consider it a donation to the school. However, I'm not a fan of the school and we are pulling our son out anyway for the next school year. So, I'm going to take the refund. The people who run the school don't seem to care much about how they run it, so I'm not going to either.


  • Pencil Stache
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I coach childrenís judo and our club is in a bad situation so we are urging anyone who can keep paying to please keep paying. We are a 501C-3 nonprofit and everyone who works at the club is a volunteer. Iíve run the kids program for 7 years, coach 10 hours a week, and have never received any form of compensation.

In our case we are not a small business so none of the stimulus stuff will help us. Without paying members we cannot pay our rent or keep the lights on. We purposely keep our dues low ($70/month) because we think this sport should be enjoyed by people of all income levels, not just high income families. This means we donít have the capital to weather through a storm like this.

What we are asking our families to do is keep paying their normal dues, and then once this is all over with we will space out free months to make up for the months they paid and didnít get to come to practice. This way we donít have the loss in revenue all in the same month(s). Personally, my husband and I have been talking about giving our stimulus check to the club - we donít need it and we already consider the monthly dues we pay to be part of our charitable giving every month (yes, we still pay dues even though we are both unpaid coaches)


  • Pencil Stache
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  • Location: Texas
Our gym, run by the city, shut down.  i had prepaid for a year, and they said they'd extend the end date to make up for all the time that was missed.

My husband and I are both getting paid, even though my husband can only do 25% of his job from home and I'm much less productive with kids around.  Because of that, we feel a responsibility to pay it forward, and we're continuing to pay for the lessons the kids would have had.  The music instructor is starting to give online lessons.  The sports stuff says they're going to try to make up the season, but the longer this goes on, the less likely that is to happen.  We're paying anyway.

If one of us had lost a paycheck, I would most likely not be as willing to pay for things we weren't receiving, but we are fortunate to be in good shape.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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My one daughter is in Taekwondo and in the beginning we were continuing to pay, but once our governor put in a stay at home order until June we contacted them and stopped payment. But the only reason we did this is because we are moving away in June, we are military. They were already aware that they were losing us in June so it just happened 3 months early. They are still open as a daycare facility for children of parents that are healthcare workers, garbage crews and other essential workers so they are bringing in some money.

The other daughter is in travel soccer which was paid at the beginning of the school year to last until June. At this point we are not doing any soccer other than team chats and virtual training from YouTube videos they are creating. They still are hopeful we can get the season in just start it mid May and run until the end of June with our huge club tournament over July 4th weekend (huge money maker for the club). I am less hopeful this is going to happen. They have already stated there will probably not be refunds. I get that expenses have been paid and they are still continuing to pay the coaches, which I am happy about. My issue is if we don't have a season the money the club pays to the league will not be charged along with the fees to the referees, so I would expect them to refund that money back to the parents. They are stating the money will be used for the continuity of the club into next year (meaning we already spent the money and can't give it back). Not that they are giving discounts on next years fees or anything. And again I would almost be ok with it except my daughter and other military children in the club that are being moved this summer will not get any benefit from this. I could use this refunded money (which is about $500) to put my daughter in a camp at our new location over the summer or private coaching with a college student to work on her skills since she hasn't played since February. My hubby says we already paid it and even if she doesn't get to play in the season we should just forget about it. I go back and forth on this daily.
I should preface this by saying we are both currently working full time. I am currently getting in extra hours because we are swamped. I work about 3 months in arrears, so basically in June there will be no work for me at all and I might have to go on unemployment then, so I am saving any extra money I can where I can. We do have an emergency fund, but I would like the extra cushion as it makes me feel better. My car hasn't moved in over 4 weeks, its great I haven't had to fill the gas tank. We are getting money back on our car insurance as well for not driving.

My point is I agree with continuing to pay for an activity/sport if you see you continuing with this activity after the restrictions end. It helps out the business and if you can afford it I am all for that. But if this is something you will not continue with, I would not be guilted into continuing to pay.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!