How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

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vveat
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How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by vveat » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:21 pm

We just did the schedule for the fall, and I feel we have gone off the deep end. Estimated on annual basis, and including summer sports and activities, we seem to be spending ~$1100 per month, or on average $550 per kid. Our biggest spend bucket. Is this as off the charts as I think it is? I am sure the answer is yes, but not sure by how much. What is your mileage?

It's not equal, since it splits 70/30 between the 10 years old (wants to do it all and refuses to drop a single activity) and the 7 years old (doesn't care either way and would happily play video games on the iPad all day long if we allow him). We've argued left and right with the older one, offering trade offs, the only thing we managed to drop was the language. We haven't flat out refused to pay, but it's not only the money, it's the time spent on these. I would be much happier if she picked 1-2 things and really persisted on getting as good as she can be in them, but she is more into variability of experiences I guess.

If more detail is helpful, the estimated $13-14k per year come from
- 55% go to the 3 sports (swim team, sailing during the summer, and taekwondo) - the latter is most expensive by far and I would love to drop it, though it's the closest to home and awfully convenient
- Only 12% go to 3 "arts" (instrument, voice and theater)
- The remaining 33% go to online workshops and classes. The older one qualified for John Hopkins CTY and takes 2-3 programs a year - mythology, writing, chess, etc. And she just started online math school (Russian School of Mathematics). These are all very well designed by the way, and the online format is extremely convenient. (for math both kids use IXL and occasionally Khan Academy, the teacher-led classes will work better to organize her time and effort).

We can afford the expense, and the hassle for us is relatively minimal, it's just that it seems ridiculous to do so much. Should we sit down at the end of the year and pose a limit for next year (and what is a good limit?) or let her figure out on her own that it's too much now that she is starting middle school and I expect school work will get more demanding? :confused

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:47 pm

Just don’t let them become ice hockey goalies.
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NotWhoYouThink
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:13 pm

The time was a bigger deal than the money for us. It is good to have some team sports so that they can learn to be part of a team, and see what kinds of teammates they like and appreciate, and what kinds they don't. But our limit was one sport at a time.
We've argued left and right with the older one, offering trade offs, the only thing we managed to drop was the language.
Um, who are the parents and who is the kid? You don't argue and reason with your kids, you lay down the rules and they learn to live with them. This helps out family dynamics in so many ways. Not saying you control every minute of their time, or allow them no freedom. Just that you set rules and they figure out how to exercise their options within the constraints of those rules.

HereToLearn
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by HereToLearn » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:36 pm

I never added up the total costs, but that does seem high.

You may find that the random few hundred you spend today on many beginner activities will consolidate into thousands on one activity as your children age and specialize. Swimming can become expensive quickly due to the cost of pool time. Sailing is less so, assuming you already own the boat and are not traveling to a lot of races.

As to CTY....if it is working for you and your family, that is great. My son qualified but had no interest in attending CTY or taking their on-line courses. (A large percentage of his middle school qualified but very few bothered to go to CTY.)

He taught himself a lot of material via online college classes but never paid anything for those. I did buy him random textbooks that he wanted. Check out Art of Problem Solving for Math. Fairly inexpensive books, but I confess that I don't know what he did with them once he had them.

runner3081
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by runner3081 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:45 pm

Grand Total - $177 per year.

$162 - Year round ballet classes, 1x per week - Through the local parks and rec department. $27 every 2-months.

$15 - Ballet tights and ballet shoes

Based on the numbers OP, you have picked some expensive activities. Sailing?

123
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by 123 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:47 pm

You should realize that many of the extracurricular activites for kids are just structured/negoitated babysitting service. They provide parents with some comfort that their children are supervised and hopefully kept safe. The expense of the activities is an angle exploited by the vendors to attract kids. Parents pay to avoid objections by their kids.

In olden times there were open fields, sometimes local parks, and neighborhood kids to play with. Kids did fine. We seem to have lost that except in the smaller more rural areas.
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finite_difference
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by finite_difference » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 pm

Can you break it down by sport/activity?

I would be particularly curious about how much Taekwondo costs, because it’s typically designed to make money. For example, colorized belts were invented to make money.

I pay approximately $1k/year for Kung Fu instruction, which includes up to 5 one-hour classes per week. And it is the authentic kind, not the Americanized crap. ;) So not only will you likely pay less if you find a traditional school, you’ll also receive much better instruction. (I was paying roughly $2k/year in a HCOL area, now $1k in a MCOL area.)
Last edited by finite_difference on Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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finite_difference
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by finite_difference » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:58 pm

123 wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:47 pm
You should realize that many of the extracurricular activites for kids are just structured/negoitated babysitting service. They provide parents with some comfort that their children are supervised and hopefully kept safe. The expense of the activities is an angle exploited by the vendors to attract kids. Parents pay to avoid objections by their kids.

In olden times there were open fields, sometimes local parks, and neighborhood kids to play with. Kids did fine. We seem to have lost that except in the smaller more rural areas.
I would disagree that what the OP is talking about is the same as “babysitting”. But I think you make a good point about the need for less structure. I think that some parents may need to consciously set aside some unscripted play time for kids since 100% structured learning/activity may backfire. But it probably also depends on the kid. Some may really thrive with structure all the time.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

PhilosophyAndrew
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:18 pm

Our family has three significant extracurricular expenses for our teenager: Competitive dance team, CTY Summer Camp, Grest Books Summer Camp.

My own experiences were quite different than this — I did no programs like this but worked all Summer and part of the school year — but these programs seem to serve our daughter well and so are appropriate for our family.

OP, if you can afford the expenses you describe without harming your ability to reach your family’s financial goals, there are no financial issues with your decisions. Whether or not other families make similar decisions seems irrelevant — what matters is whether the programs you use meet your family’s specific needs.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Hillview » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:19 pm

For each child is doing soccer for $270 -- this includes fall and spring. Uniforms cost another $130 each so $300 each. As of right now I don't see us signing up for anything else but we might over the winter (soccer is on break during the winter). It might be up to another $200 each kid but that is about it.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:22 pm

I did buy him random textbooks that he wanted. Check out Art of Problem Solving for Math. Fairly inexpensive books, but I confess that I don't know what he did with them once he had them.
The AoPS books are first rate. Let’s hope your son opened them :D
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:31 pm

The time was a bigger deal than the money for us
I jokingly referred to an ice hockey goalie before, but please indulge me for a moment in a possibly half-baked theory. I have wondered why some sports have fewer “problem” kids than other sports. I think it might in part be that those sports that had a lot of parental time sacrifice (e.g., getting to 6 AM hockey lessons/practices a half hour from home) had the unanticipated benefit of making it clear to kids that their parents cared, in a way that showing up at a football game on the weekend (after the school arranged practices) didn’t.

A small sample size, but my kids’ hockey friends turned out “better” than their football friends.
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livesoft
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:43 pm

I think amounts spent will depend on one's ZIP code and what all the other parents & kids are doing in the area. Maybe it shouldn't depend on others, but it sure makes it easier when other parents help with transportation and one's friends are also in on the action.

In the summers, since we both worked, the day camps were dependent care and so FSA could pay them, as was after-school care during the school year. And that includes say a week at basketball day camp.

OTOH, there were some overnight away camps, too, which were very worthwhile experiences for the kids, too. For example, if you stay away from parents at a university for a camp, then when you eventually go to college, you already have a good idea what dorm life and food will be like. Or if you go on a school trip to a foreign country, then you see how air travel, US/foreign customs & immigration works and how also how not everyone speaks English.

When I was growing up, my parents expected me to pay for all activities myself. I had a couple of paper routes and went to Mexico for 2 weeks with my earnings. But I had to pay my sister to deliver papers during those two weeks.
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:51 pm

We have one child. She goes to a weekly gymnastics class (1 hour lesson) and a weekly swimming class (1/2 hour lesson). It costs $80/month for each of those for a total of $160/month. My mother-in-law picks up the kid after school on the days of the classes, takes her there, and pays for the lessons. We're very lucky and grateful. If we had to pay for it ourselves, we would drop the gymnastics but maybe keep the swimming for the time being since she loves to swim. This is in the Bay Area.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Teague » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:52 pm

Daughter does barrel racing. Horse+truck+trailer about $70K. $500/month boarding. Add event fees, fuel, insurance.
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vveat
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by vveat » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:05 pm

finite_difference wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 pm
Can you break it down by sport/activity?

I would be particularly curious about how much Taekwondo costs, because it’s typically designed to make money. For example, colorized belts were invented to make money.

Yes, that is one reason I hate it, you have to pay for belt promotions every 2 months, they constantly offer leadership classes and whatnot, which we've resisted so far. Taekwondo alone is 33% of our total cost, at the grand total of $4,800 a year for both kids. And they made us sign an annual contract.

Not all sports are like this - they went to judo before that for 2-3 years and it was so much better and serious - a new belt didn't require payment but you had to qualify through competitions and enough time spent. And it was not a constant sales pitch. But my daughter wanted to try taekwondo since her friend had just gotten a black belt there, and then decided she likes it better than judo. I think this one will be the goner from next year

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by vveat » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:11 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:13 pm

Um, who are the parents and who is the kid? You don't argue and reason with your kids, you lay down the rules and they learn to live with them. This helps out family dynamics in so many ways. Not saying you control every minute of their time, or allow them no freedom. Just that you set rules and they figure out how to exercise their options within the constraints of those rules.
You got us there. Honestly, we are not pushovers on most things - what food to eat, how much work to do around the house, video games time or random requests, you name it. But for some reason we find it difficult to say no when she is asking to do more work on things that are enriching her in some way, and are not much hassle for us with all being either drop-offs/pick ups within 10 min from us or online. We are doing "family councils" on these, go over schedule complexities, but it's difficult to refuse when she claims she can do it all.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:14 pm

Wow.

Our kids did soccer Spring and Fall for a few hundred a year total. They also did Boy Scouts, and became Eagle Scouts with multiple Palms. I don't recall any year where Scouting cost close to 4 figures.

Youngest was gifted, skipped a grade and was selected by Carnegie Mellon for their gifted program after a teacher recommended him. Program was in the summer, 90 minute drive, each way, and he had no interest - although CM had great interest in doing a press release of his selection that we declined.

He also did Robotics through FIRST which I cannot recommend more highly for budding engineers, both male and female. A few hundred each year. Starts young, ours did not do it until High School. https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc

We never cared what other parents had their kids do. Parents decide what they want to agree to, not kids. And they didn't make you sign an annual contract, you agreed to.

sciliz
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by sciliz » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:44 pm

Little- one structured activity at a time, either swimming or gymnastics, we don't do more mostly because they are hard to schedule (require parental participation and often are not aimed at working parents). So $20-50/month or at most $600/year.

Big- a lot. Too much, I'm sure. A quick Mint check suggests $4000/year. It breaks down as: $10-50/month on Engineering for Kids, which happens after school and is sometimes worth it. He's also done summer camps with them, but summer camps are complex to analyze and I don't count them in that total because sometimes they are also childcare. It's mostly soccer: club team, rec team, uniforms, indoor leagues, workshops, travel (driving trips only). This year he also did Little League, which we probably won't repeat, and a couple of one-offs (e.g. a 5k). He also does Chess club, I guess, but that's at the library and free :-)


I did swimming and Tae Kwon Do as a kid, but I didn't have school to schedule in. Also, my Dad volunteered with the swim team to get the cost down there and we did TKD through a park district type class instead of at a TKD school. Have you considered dropping regular school so your offspring can focus on the good stuff? ;-)

As far as spending $4k on the online workshops and classes... have you considered looking for a grad student in physics/math/CS to tutor her? I know the CTY classes are solid; at least if they are like the Northwestern CTD ones, but these are *super* overpriced. If you are primarily doing them for variety, go with a park district option or the like cheaper and close to home. If you are primarily doing them for the solid mathematics prep, seriously consider the tutor option.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by hmw » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:39 pm

I just asked DW about the expenses.

Here are what we spent on our 7-year old.

Piano lessons: $100/month
Swimming: $80/month
Arts: $106/month including supplies. There are also a one time art show/year which cost about $200.

So about $400/month during school year. There some also other expenses like traveling for swimm meets but they are not frequent.

Our son also took lessons in ice skating and basket ball in the summer. Can’t remember how much we spent.

Retire2029!
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Retire2029! » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:04 pm

We spend ~$2500 each year per child (Sept=July for swim team. Ages 11;13.

You will start to see as your children get get older, each sport/activity will demand more of their time during the week. Competitive/team swimming at least for my children is like 6 days a week for 2-3 hours each afternoon, including Sundays. For the 13 year old, 1 hour before school 3 times a week. This doesn't even include the competitions local/out of state during the year, mostly on Friday nights and weekends. I'm sure it's the same with other sporting activities, including practices, travel teams, training camps etc...

We've had to pare down their other activities to art/science clubs at school.

While I can't speak to cost, just know , if you pay annually, to research their schedules to make sure your kids will actually be able to participate in all of the activities you listed without conflict.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by SoAnyway » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:08 pm

vveat wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:05 pm
finite_difference wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 pm
Can you break it down by sport/activity?I would be particularly curious about how much Taekwondo costs, because it’s typically designed to make money. For example, colorized belts were invented to make money.
Yes, that is one reason I hate it, you have to pay for belt promotions every 2 months, they constantly offer leadership classes and whatnot, which we've resisted so far. Taekwondo alone is 33% of our total cost, at the grand total of $4,800 a year for both kids. And they made us sign an annual contract.

Not all sports are like this - they went to judo before that for 2-3 years and it was so much better and serious - a new belt didn't require payment but you had to qualify through competitions and enough time spent. And it was not a constant sales pitch. But my daughter wanted to try taekwondo since her friend had just gotten a black belt there, and then decided she likes it better than judo. I think this one will be the goner from next year
Ack! It sounds like this outfit is to extracurriculars what Edward Jones is to investing. :oops:
I understand the emotional "pull" from your daughter's plea, OP - esp. if she's doing it because this other friend of hers is doing it.
But as NotWhoYouThink said - and as you politely/rationally/correctly conceded - it's YOUR job as parent to be the adult. Sometimes that means "disappointing" your kid. (They'll thank you later, but it's not easy in the short-term.)
"Goner" looks like the right decision, OP. :sharebeer
Given the highlighted statement above, depending on your daughter's age/maturity level - you know your kid best, so not looking to interfere - this might be a good time to ask and really listen to her reasons for why she's decided she likes taekwondo better than judo, and then read between the lines (e.g. to stay in her "friend's" inner circle vs. other reasons). The other question I had: What is your spouse's position on all of this? Obviously, whatever direction you decide to go, you BOTH need to be on the same page. Good luck, OP!

EDIT: Just read the other replies: ALL props to the Hockey/Swimming moms and dads out there. From my pov, THOSE are the true "parental torture sports" - not necessarily from a $ pov, but from a scheduling perspective and getting your kid to where they need to be at the appointed times, and spending your spare non-work hours in a freezing cold ice rink or humid chlorine-filled indoor pool arena, and feeling guilty for hoping that your kid's team doesn't advance to the next round so that you can get the heck outta there, while hugging your kid and providing encouraging words for "next time"....
Last edited by SoAnyway on Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

acegolfer
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by acegolfer » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:17 pm

We spend ~$1k per month for 2 kids. We don't think it's waste of money.

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StevieG72
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by StevieG72 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:35 pm

That would be excessive for me, but it may be reasonable for you.

If your income / net worth supports these activities without derailing your retirement, then why not?

My annual spend for my daughter is less than your monthly for 1 kid! She does volleyball and cheer currently, has also done dance and gymnastics.
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Retire2029! » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:38 pm

So-Anyway
Re-swimming:
Or spending 4-5 hours each day on a Saturday and Sunday at a swim competition to see you child swim a total of about 5-10 minutes worth of races. Talk about torture. :oops:

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:54 pm

For one 11-year-old:
  • Taekwondo: about $6k, but includes after-school care and spring/summer/winter break camps. $5500 of this comes out of our dependent care FSA, and so is tax-free
  • Rec Basketball: $165
  • Rec Lacrosse: $325
  • Club Lacrosse: $2,300 (plus another $1,000 or so in travel expenses during tournament season)
  • Private Lacrosse lessons: $600
  • Instrument rental: $444
  • School clubs: $80 total for 2 or 3
So about $11k overall, before adjusting for preferential tax treatments. Call it $9k in after-tax dollars.

Charlieville
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Charlieville » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:28 pm

OMG is this where we all get to humble brag about our kids. As I sit here in the suburbs we are basically buying a neighborhood with youth activities and FWIW you get to spend less quality time together as a family especially if you have more than one kid.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by NYCguy » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:47 pm

vveat wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:21 pm

We can afford the expense, and the hassle for us is relatively minimal...
To me this is the answer to your question assuming your kids are enjoying themselves. I was asking myself the same question this weekend. We are spending these crazy amounts if that makes you feel any better. Yes it is ridiculous, but if you and they are happy and you can afford it and they’re growing from experience, I think the answer is easy.

If I were short changing my children’s college education fund or my retirement savings or my charitable giving, I would feel differently.

I have come to find my time with my teenage children on the road at sporting events is priceless and I think I will value the memories in the future.
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Twood » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:17 pm

In parent groups for DYS (which depending on scores, your oldest may also be eligible for, and I highly recommend for a variety of resources) and other similar groups, the high cost of multipotentiality and appropriate schooling (direct or indirect) is often a topic. So if you want a comparative discussion, that would be another place to take your question.

We don't spend that much on activities; but for us private school (until we end up needing to homeschool, which we anticipate to be in our future at some point) is a current must, and that consumes our resources. If we had more time and more money, and were able to expand while still meeting our savings goals, there are definitely other aspects of multipotentiality that we'd love to be able to explore further. I wouldn't begrudge them the opportunities as long as we went in with some agreed upon ground rules including unless it's a horrible fit you will finish what you start (but we'll start with a minimum intro if you're unsure), the family needs ___ nights per week "off" for just family time, no traveling events, etc (whatever is important for your family). DYS does have some seminar series (done on the computer, asynchronously over the course of a week) that the kids can participate in, as a free activity that doesn't drag the family out and about, https://www.davidsongifted.org/Young-Scholars mentions it.

Whatever works for your family, enjoy.

CascadiaSoonish
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by CascadiaSoonish » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:19 pm

Our 11 year old started club soccer this year -- the mandatory initial spend, including uniforms, is well over $2K. And we haven't even gotten to the travel part of the season yet. So far I'm not completely convinced of the value, especially since he'd rather be playing basketball anyway.

goodlifer
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by goodlifer » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:40 pm

Ugh. I just had to lay down the law with our 13 yr old because her $300 per month vocal lessons are not doing much good and interfering with school things now that school is back in session. And her band is much more involved than I expected. When I went to school, there was just band. Now there is school band, marching band, jazz band, and wind ensemble (both local and state-wide). They also have one-off concerts like the nursing home and graduation ceremonies. Once we bought the instrument, things really are not expensive but we get nickel and dimed every week, it seems. At least she is now at the age where school sponsored activities become more important than outside lessons. She is concerning herself with NJHS, all the bands and plays, student council, and whatever else that pops up. Those activities take up more of my time than my money, but I'm a stay-at-home, so what else do I have to do all day? :wink:

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Trism » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:02 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:13 pm
The time was a bigger deal than the money for us. It is good to have some team sports so that they can learn to be part of a team, and see what kinds of teammates they like and appreciate, and what kinds they don't. But our limit was one sport at a time.
We've argued left and right with the older one, offering trade offs, the only thing we managed to drop was the language.
Um, who are the parents and who is the kid? You don't argue and reason with your kids, you lay down the rules and they learn to live with them. This helps out family dynamics in so many ways. Not saying you control every minute of their time, or allow them no freedom. Just that you set rules and they figure out how to exercise their options within the constraints of those rules.
I agree with this 100%. I posted similar comments in a different thread recently and got pounced upon by more than one helicopter parent who likened this attitude to child abuse.

Glockenspiel
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:11 am

How about some unstructured play time outdoors? Are there any "classes" that you can pay money to have your kids play outside in nature?

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by winterfan » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:34 am

For our 9 year old, we spend $130/mo for piano, $80/mo for swim lessons and $150/yr. for school sports. My child isn't particularly athletic, but she loves the social aspect of these activities. We also spend about $800 during the summer for various camps, including a sleep away camp. We also spent about $200 last year for skiing lessons, and will probably do the same this year.

DD isn't interested in piano anymore, but we are making her stay with it for awhile (we view it as part of her education). The swim lessons will end soon though as she is nearing the end of them. I've also had her enrolled in karate, gymnastics, theatre, and dance at various parts of her life. I was hoping some activity would grab her interest and we could just concentrate on that, but her favorite things are swimming in the lake and fishing.

Steve723
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Steve723 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:37 am

Your daughter reminds me of mine - always wanting to try new activities and stay busy. That's a good thing....to a point. The important thing to monitor is whether there are unhealthy sacrifices or tradeoffs being made. Are responsibilities being shirked? Is she getting enough sleep? Is she doing her schoolwork? If all that checks out fine, then great. It sounds like you can afford it, so the real question is her overall well being and making sure you and your spouse draw a firm line if things important to her long term well being are falling off the plate.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:07 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:47 pm
Just don’t let them become ice hockey goalies.
:D
I am actively trying to do that ATM.

We spend ~755 per month on extracurricular. This includes after school childcare. Now that I am thinking more about it, that is too much.

investingdad
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by investingdad » Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:25 am

Daughter, $100 a month for private flute instruction.
Son, $100 a month for private saxophone instruction.
Son, $25 a month for travel club soccer.

That's it.

And, let me say this. The travel soccer? Same two dads have been volunteer coaching his team since 1st grade. He's in sixth grade now. They were county league champs last three seasons in a row and were champions in their last two tournaments, playing against clubs costing thousands of dollars to participate with professional coaches.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by financiallycurious » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:00 am

Delete
Last edited by financiallycurious on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:15 am

Currently? $80/month for jiu jitsu for my 6yr old daughter. She previously did gymnastics as well, but it was the same cost. Her 3yr old brother is likely to join her in the near future. Both the wife and I are pretty high level competitive athletes and we do (multiple times a week) family hikes, bike rides, and we spend time doing yoga, combat sports training (the wife), and teaching our kids the basics of exercise in our garage gym. We don't insulate our kids from social interaction by any stretch, but we put a huge emphasis on family time; the amount of time and resources we devote to "extra-curriculars" isn't likely to change much.

Whatyear?
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Whatyear? » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:08 pm

I would not *DARE* reveal on this site how much I spend on extracurricular activities for my kids (I have 3), because you would all think I was insane. If anyone out there has a competitive figure skater in the mix, you know what I'm saying!

Thankfully, only one of the three skates. :)

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by winterfan » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:13 pm

Whatyear? wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:08 pm
I would not *DARE* reveal on this site how much I spend on extracurricular activities for my kids (I have 3), because you would all think I was insane. If anyone out there has a competitive figure skater in the mix, you know what I'm saying!

Thankfully, only one of the three skates. :)
I can only imagine! My daughter expressed an interest in figure skating, but we gently steered her to other activities!

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:35 pm

Whatyear? wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:08 pm
I would not *DARE* reveal on this site how much I spend on extracurricular activities for my kids (I have 3), because you would all think I was insane. If anyone out there has a competitive figure skater in the mix, you know what I'm saying!

Thankfully, only one of the three skates. :)
My kids got skating lessons from figure skating coaches; they’re good at teaching hockey skating also. At the rink, I (father of a hockey forward and a hockey goalie) would commiserate with the parents of figure skaters. We are all crazy. But, if money is not for our kids, then who?
Zero Net Carbon by 2019.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by psteinx » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:06 pm

Youngest daughter - currently weekly 60 minutes of piano, 30 minutes of saxophone. I don't know what these cost (my wife pays these bills) but I'm guessing on the order of $25-30 per 30 minutes, so perhaps ~$80 weekly. She's also heavily into robotics, but my wife coaches/co-coaches that team, and they've gotten various external funding/grants, so I think the costs there, monetarily for us, aren't too bad. She also did a ~3 week Duke TIP camp this summer (at Wake Forest) that ran perhaps $4K or so (again, not sure of the exact amount), plus 3 RT plane tickets (1 for her, 1 for each parent - one to drop off, one to pick up) and a couple of hotel nights. And there was, I think, at least one other local day camp for a week or so, probably to the tune of ~$500. So, all in, close to $10K for this child. No athletics of late.

Middle child did a summer program (a sort of research/internship think, that we had to pay for :( ) that was perhaps $3500 or so.

Oldest child didn't have any notable, pricey extra-curriculars, but just started at a pricey private university...

We've taken multiple trips this past 12 months, and I mentally justify at least a portion of the cost as educational, in it's own way, for our kids...

Our kids were never too big on sports, and such sports as they did were local rec-league type things, at modest cost. And they went to public, not private schools (except a bit in pre-school). But they're all bright kids, and our public school is good, but not overflowing with kids like ours, so, given that we have the resources, we've felt comfortable in significant spending on some generally academic and music focused extras. This stuff generally kicked into higher gear around 7th grade for each kid.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Whatyear? » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:10 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:35 pm
Whatyear? wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:08 pm
I would not *DARE* reveal on this site how much I spend on extracurricular activities for my kids (I have 3), because you would all think I was insane. If anyone out there has a competitive figure skater in the mix, you know what I'm saying!

Thankfully, only one of the three skates. :)
My kids got skating lessons from figure skating coaches; they’re good at teaching hockey skating also. At the rink, I (father of a hockey forward and a hockey goalie) would commiserate with the parents of figure skaters. We are all crazy. But, if money is not for our kids, then who?
Exactly. As a friend/fellow skater Mom says (as a way to rationalize spending the money :)), "I'm not working to pay the light bill!"

.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by gluskap » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:52 pm

This is a good thread for me to follow. My daughter is only 4 so I'm only starting to think about what activities to sign her up for. To me $1100/month sounds crazy expensive. But then again that's what we are paying now for daycare so I'm sure if we had to we could afford it. But to me there's always an opportunity cost involved. Even if we can afford it, would that money be better spent towards say her 529 or towards getting FI earlier for us? It's hard to say no though so I would rather set the limits early in terms of what we consider a reasonable budget and she can decide which activities she can do based on that budget. I'll definitely try to steer her towards the more cost effective activities though if I can and that aren't a huge time investment either. I think limiting to only 2-3 activities seems prudent as well.

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:54 pm

123 wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:47 pm
In olden times there were open fields, sometimes local parks, and neighborhood kids to play with. Kids did fine. We seem to have lost that except in the smaller more rural areas.
Seriously. Whatever happened to doing your homework and then biking over to a friend's house to play?

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:59 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:54 pm
123 wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:47 pm
In olden times there were open fields, sometimes local parks, and neighborhood kids to play with. Kids did fine. We seem to have lost that except in the smaller more rural areas.
Seriously. Whatever happened to doing your homework and then biking over to a friend's house to play?
My kids did some of that also, but honestly, it was often their hockey teammates whose house they went to. Times change.
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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by psteinx » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:12 pm

Playing around the neighborhood seems to be much less of a thing than it was a generation ago.

I attribute this to:

1) There are a lot less kids than a generation earlier - smaller households, fewer kids per family, etc. That lowers the kid density in a given neighborhood. When I was a kid, it was pretty easy to round up other kids for pickup sports in yards, driveways, etc., for general exploring of woods and the neighborhood, and so on. There are less kids, and those interested in sports in particular seem pushed more into organized leagues.

2) Among the kids that there ARE, fewer of them are likely to be out and about and looking to play outside with other kids. There are more electronic distractions, better TV, more focus on organized activities, etc.

To a rough approximation, I'd guess a ~40% reduction in basic kid density, and maybe a ~60% reduction in basic interest in unstructured activities with other kids (outside of their own families), leaving a kid ~0.4x * 0.6x ~= 0.24x as much opportunity for unstructured interactions with other neighborhood kids. Then, as kids learn that other kids aren't available for hanging out outdoors with much, that probably further reduces things (i.e. a reverse network effect). All this, IMO, is more severe for somewhat older kids, say ages 10 and up. At younger ages, the distractions are less, in my experience...

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:17 pm

You say you can afford it and it's not even really a burden, so what does it matter? This is definitely at least a partial humble brag, as your daughter (not even yet in middle school) is obviously gifted and driven. Congratulations! I'd be happy about that and spend less time worrying about whether it's "off the charts", and spend more time helping your son to find and hone his interests. If/when your daughter starts to stumble, and is (emotionally, psychologically, or even physically) injured by over exertion, then your job as parent is to step in and limit appropriately.

{We spend $900/yr on ballet for oldest, and $75/mo on gymnastics for 2 kids (3 and 2 yos). They love the library and park at this age. Fine by mommy and daddy! :beer }

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Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

Post by Mjar » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:24 pm

vveat wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:21 pm
We just did the schedule for the fall, and I feel we have gone off the deep end. Estimated on annual basis, and including summer sports and activities, we seem to be spending ~$1100 per month, or on average $550 per kid. Our biggest spend bucket. Is this as off the charts as I think it is? I am sure the answer is yes, but not sure by how much. What is your mileage?

It's not equal, since it splits 70/30 between the 10 years old (wants to do it all and refuses to drop a single activity) and the 7 years old (doesn't care either way and would happily play video games on the iPad all day long if we allow him). We've argued left and right with the older one, offering trade offs, the only thing we managed to drop was the language. We haven't flat out refused to pay, but it's not only the money, it's the time spent on these. I would be much happier if she picked 1-2 things and really persisted on getting as good as she can be in them, but she is more into variability of experiences I guess.

If more detail is helpful, the estimated $13-14k per year come from
- 55% go to the 3 sports (swim team, sailing during the summer, and taekwondo) - the latter is most expensive by far and I would love to drop it, though it's the closest to home and awfully convenient
- Only 12% go to 3 "arts" (instrument, voice and theater)
- The remaining 33% go to online workshops and classes. The older one qualified for John Hopkins CTY and takes 2-3 programs a year - mythology, writing, chess, etc. And she just started online math school (Russian School of Mathematics). These are all very well designed by the way, and the online format is extremely convenient. (for math both kids use IXL and occasionally Khan Academy, the teacher-led classes will work better to organize her time and effort).

We can afford the expense, and the hassle for us is relatively minimal, it's just that it seems ridiculous to do so much. Should we sit down at the end of the year and pose a limit for next year (and what is a good limit?) or let her figure out on her own that it's too much now that she is starting middle school and I expect school work will get more demanding? :confused
One activity at time, about 1500 on ballet 2x week for 1.5 hours each, second child is in gymnastics which is about the same costs. Our requirement was to have something that keeps them moving and engaged with others. Not saying your are complaining but I have known parents who complain about not having enough time to do what they want because they are going to this and that for their kids and I simply say to them if that is what you want for your kids then stop complaining. Your time is worth something. I would rather get my time back and spend the time with them playing or reading to them or going somewhere where we can spend quality time together vs just watching them do activities. I would cut back if I were you IMHO for the times sake and the saving money is a bonus. Hell cut that in half and you have your time back and you have a decent amount for a family vacation somewhere.

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