How to Afford Extracurricular Activities for your Kids

It’s no secret that it costs a good chunk of money to raise a child. However, I am a firm believe that it doesn’t have to cost as much as society tells us it should.  There are so many ways to cut costs when it comes to kids.  If you feel like you can’t afford extracurricular activities for your kids, keep reading for tips on how to save money in this area.

afford extracurricular activities

There can be so many benefits to having our kids involved in activities outside of school.  They can learn team work, or how to push themselves to overcome challenges, as well as what it means to follow through on a commitment.

However, those extracurriculars can add up in a hurry.  Especially if you have multiple children.  You may be wondering if you can find some cheap extracurricular activities for your kids.


Choose activities that are cheaper.  Unfortunately, some extra-curriculars can really be pricey.  Thankfully, not all of them are.  Choose activities that are on the less expensive side for your family.  My boys play in our local soccer league every Summer, and it is definitely one of the more affordable sports to play.

Apply for subsidy.  If you are on a low-income, you may qualify for subsidy for certain extra-curricular programs.  Every community is different, so check to see what is available in your area.  The YMCA offers subsidy for memberships and they have a ton of classes and programs for kids (and adults!).

Register Early.  Many extracurriculars offer an early bird special.  Be sure to sign up as soon as you can to avoid paying more than you have to.

Buy second-hand equipment.  If your child plays a sport, look around for second-hand sports equipment.  Check  in a local second-hand store, or on Craigslist or Kijiji.  If your child wants to take music lessons such as guitar or violin, see if you can find a used instrument to buy.

Sign up for the house league.  Often various sports will have a house league and a travel league.  Travel leagues come with expenses to get to all the games.  Sign up for a house league to save money.

Rent musical instruments.  I had a friend who had her son take guitar lessons, and was able to rent a guitar.  This allowed for them to try it out before they invested a bunch of money into an extra-curricular they may not participate in for the long haul.

Cut back on activities.  This is a big one.  We live in a world where we have been taught that a full schedule is a better schedule, when that simply isn’t true.  Our kids don’t need to be in every possible activity.  This not only tires the kids out, but it tires the parents out too trying to drive the kids to all their activities every night. Too many extracurricular activities can lead to anxiety and stress for everyone involved! Think about limiting the amount of activities each child takes part in, especially if you have a tight budget.

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Budget-friendly Summer Activities


Every year when the start of school approaches, I feel a little panicky that I haven’t signed my kids up for more activities.  Isn’t this what we are supposed to do now?  Will my kids be behind?  Am I pushing them hard enough?  Am I setting them up for failure by not putting them in all these expensive activities?

Please, parents, tell me I’m not the only one that gets like this near the end of every Summer.

The truth is, we really should take the pressure off ourselves.  There are so many things that kids can learn in other settings.  Extracurriculars is not the only way they can grow and mature.  At home we can teach them how to bake or sew or build something.  In Sunday School and at church they learn how to co-operate, and to think through and discuss some really deep topics.  When they go to the store with you and you have them help you shop they learn how to get the job done.  When they stack wood for the upcoming winter season they learn hard work. When they watch a Youtube tutorial to learn how to make a craft or draw a picture they discover that they can learn anything as long as they have the drive and motivation.

We often get it in our head that there is only one way to raise our kids.  That everyone else is doing it this way so if we don’t we must be doing something wrong. And we worry that in the end we could be failing our children.  Like I said, extracurricular activities can offer many benefits, so we worry that our child won’t build character without them.

I really feel that we need to stop worrying about it so much.  It’s okay if you only have your kids in a church kids club once a week and that is the extent of your extracurricular activities.  It’s okay if your child is in soccer and not in hockey because it is the sport that fits into the budget.   Your child is going to be okay, and so will you.

Try applying some of these money saving tips when you feel like you can’t afford extracurricular activities.  Hopefully it will give you more peace and less stress about worrying how to pay for it all.

2 thoughts on “How to Afford Extracurricular Activities for your Kids”

  1. I completely agree that we put too much pressure on ourselves to sign our kids up for so many activities! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one! These are great money saving tips. My parents did a rent-to-buy program for me when I was in band and it worked out great!

    1. I am so glad to hear there are moms out there like me who want to make sure we don’t sign our kids up for too many activities. Balance is so important.

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