Budgeting for your kid’s extracurricular activities

Kelley Keehn and CTV Marilyn Denis

Save On Your Child's Activities

Back-to-school will be here quicker than you think, and summer is a great time to look back at the costs. From tutors, to sports and arts activities, these add up to big bucks for your family. Taking a look at them now can help you plan better for next year.

I sat down with Marilyn Denis on CTV’s Marilyn Denis show (watch it here) to help you cut costs on your kid’s extracurricular activities.

#1: Keep track. Of what you’re spending and where. You’ll want to measure the costs of what your child is actually getting out of each activity.

#2: Tutors. More and more affluent parents are increasingly spending money on tutors to boost their children’s marks for university admissions requirements. But this is putting a massive strain on lower income families trying to keep up. The average cost for a tutor is around $20 an hour! If the extra help is putting a dent in your budget or worse, you’re going into debt to help your children prep for post secondary schooling, reach out to a pro like a Certified Financial Planner. They’ll work with you to figure out the best way to pay.

#3. Tech alternatives. Why not use technology to your advantage? A super cool site is the Khan Academy. They provide instructional videos for millions of K-12 students on subjects from science to computer coding to physics. And all for free! Plus, they provide badges and milestones to keep your child motivated, engaged and help replace traditional tutors.

#4. Sports is big business. Kids sports is a $15.3 billion industry in the US and growing. It’s nearly doubled in the past 10 years and likely similar here at home. There are many costs involved such as league fees, camps, equipment, training, travel and yes, even personal trainers. Some families are spending as much as 10% of their income on sports! Not all sports carry the same investment outlay. Obviously, hockey is one of the most expensive. A recent poll showed 46% of parents sign their children up for swimming because of its affordability with soccer a close second.

#5. Get creative to cut costs. Consider enrolling your child in afterschool activities like basketball, the drama or debate club or even, volunteering. It can give them a sense or belonging at school and with other students and a greater sense of purpose.

Finally, we love our reward points here in Canada. But did you know that you can use them to assist with paying for your child’s post secondary education? Check out Higher Ed Points. They’re a points program where parents can use their loyalty points to pay for schooling or, pay it off after they’ve graduated.