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happysmileylady

How much per year per kid

How much do you spend per year per kid on kids activities  

102 members have voted

  1. 1. How much do you spend per year per kid on kids activities

    • $50 to $100 per year per kid
      3
    • $100 to $150 per year per kid
      1
    • $150 to $200 per year per kid
      1
    • $200 to $300 per year per kid
      1
    • $300 to $400 per year per kid
      5
    • $400 to $500 per year per kid
      6
    • $500+ per year per kid
      78
    • other
      7


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Do you spend on *non school* activities for your kids?  Things like ball teams, scouts, dance, etc etc etc.  Do not include things that you generally consider part of school.....for example, if your kid takes swim lessons and you consider that their PE time, don't include the cost of swim lessons.  (yes, I know the line can get fuzzy and I do understand that on some level it's all school-ish.  Just use your best judgement.)

 

DH and I are having a budget meeting tonight and we need to go over some numbers for some different categories.  And I know everyone's answers will vary widely and that's ok.  There's no right or wrong answer 🙂

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Zero.

Everything is school related in one way or another. Tennis is PE, laptops are needed for online classes. My husband doesn’t spend on things and activities that are not school related. Even for school related stuff he penny pinch and would go for the lowest cost possible, preferably free.

We spent money on swim lessons when kids were in elementary school after my husband was unsuccessful in teaching them himself. He wasn’t willing to spend until he fail at teaching. Same goes for tennis lessons, he was unsuccessful at teaching our kids how to play so he had to pay up. 

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My kids have all done sports at a pretty high level and swim team for high school age ranges from 250-350 a month- depending on meets, etc. This is not nearly the most expensive team in the area (the most expensive I know is over 400 per month and the cheapest I have heard of is 180 per month). These numbers do no include travel (which seriously started for my kids aroung age 13). We have added the cost up and for both our girls- we certainly received all of it back and more in college scholarships.

When ds1 quit swimming, he played water polo at about 500 a year- travel was extra.

ds2 did judo and aikido through high school and that was about 50 a month for judo and 75 a month for aikido- he was the cheapest kid.

ds3 does tennis and it is more than swimming. Even with help from the club and coach.

Even when ds3 was doing rec sports at 7-8, it is usually at least 50 for a season of soccer, baseball, etc. so he was over a 100 at that age- because he swam (basically for free because of a family cap on fees) and did judo.

Music lessons were additional and only ds1 took lessons during high school.

We did not consider any of it school-related because they would have done those things anyway if they went to school.

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I said $500-ish but that’s really only because of private music lessons.  It would be way less if we could manage that same result for less money 😂

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Well, I answered high.  We are well over $500 with music lessons alone and my kids do/have done quite a bit more than that.  That said, I consider much of what they do education related even if we'd be spending possibly not much less if they were attending school.  Then we would have been filling holes school wasn't covering.  So I do think that is semantics and might vary by family.  

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I started to type it all out, but then I saw your categories.  Definitely over $500/year per kid.  We didn't go crazy, but I would say we averaged about $1000-$1500/year per kid.  

 

 

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I said $400-$500 per kid. But I forgot to take music lessons into account. That's $100 a month right there.

Soccer is over $100 a season.

Scouting type organizations start at $200 for dues plus all the activities adds up to more.

IF we homeschooled I'm sure part of these would be part of what we would count for school but we are public schooled so its all extra now.

 

Edited by vonfirmath

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I wouldn't separate it into school-and-not-school; it's all part of both life and education.

I voted according to what we spend on non-academic activities.

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My kids have in the last few years participated in martial arts spending about $120 / month /kid (they pursued different arts). Scouts which varies in cost - $300 for camp, $1000+ for high adventure, monthly campouts averaging about $20/kid... plus other activities here and there. Other camps in the summer, etc.. robotics has two away trips costing about $600 plus food, and the potential for another more expensive trip if they win. 

Edited by theelfqueen

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Ours is stupid high.  It wasn't about 3 or 4 years ago.  We did everything through the rec dept which is crazy cheap in our town.  The only  non rec we did a that time was swim team.   Then we added private music lessons for each kid.   Then we jumped into a ballet school.  My advice to everyone, never ever do that.     I would like to think like Mystery Jen we will earn it back in scholarships to college.  But I don't know that you get scholarships for dance that often.   Or ever.  

I hate to even tell anyone how much we spend now.   I try to think that it is worth it.  The ways it benefits them.   If I don't I just have a heart attack.  I never in a million years thought we would ever do this.  

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We pay an a reasonable but high amount for music activities (more than $500 per kid per year). It's high because both have three instruments and do band and choir. It's reasonable because they have stellar teachers who charge unreasonably low rates (we've gotten some lessons for free too). So, the total is a lot, but if we didn't get such a good deal, we'd do less and be okay with that. 

ETA: If people are actually trying to budget off of the amounts, I'm going to note that all our instruments were already owned by us (relatives who no longer played/instruments my husband already owned) or borrowed. Rental fees on top of what we pay would likely limit what we'd allow our kids to do. 

Edited by kbutton

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It's fuzzy here. If I don't include lessons as school, we are well over $500 a year per child. I assume we would continue their activities even if they were in public school (so maybe not school?), but then I would most likely be bringing in an income, so they'd probably be doing more!

Most things my kids do are school-related to some extent. All of them have done summer camp almost every year - the topics have focused on pre-medical, computer coding, dog training, maker camp to name some of them - all of them are educational in some way.  I include part of Tae Kwon Do as PE, and we think of all of it as one piece of one DD's PTSD therapy. Oldest does Rocketry Club, but she is literally working with NASA in the L'SPACE Academy, so I guess rocketry would be school-related.  Two of them did piano lessons for 2-4 years; all of them did some art classes throughout the years. Until a couple of years ago, our budget was ok with a few activities; with the start of TKD, it seems like our money just goes to the dojang.

I'd say my oldest, who is in community college and is a senior, is right around $50 per month for activities. Rocketry Club (annual fee plus cost of extra rockets plus licensing), NASA L'SPACE (free), summer REU (they paid her this past year although she's done summer camps where I paid previous years), athletic center membership (annual fee)

Middle DD (8th or 9th grade) is probably the priciest at around $300 per month. Tae Kwon Do (monthly fee, demo team monthly fee, belt testing fees, uniform fees), Quilting circle (semester fee plus supplies), summer camp (pre-med last year), various monthly homeschool classes (rollerblading, ninja training/trampoline, pottery, girls who code), youth group (free except retreats & "specials")

Youngest child, 7th grade, just joined Tae Kwon Do (though she did drop gymnastics to do so), summer camp, various homeschool classes (same as middle plus art), chess club (semester fee plus tourney registration fees), youth group. Maybe $200 per month.

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Private music lessons and youth orchestra are about $120 a month per child. 
Rec soccer is $200 a year per child.

Swim lessons were nonnegotiable for safety, about $50 a year.

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Our biggest expense is the mortgage, then food, then TKD. Some months TKD is second. I was going to type it up, but it got depressing. LOL. I can give you figures if you want them. Is is easily over $500/kid (and Dh). Maybe it would be better to know what percent of income people spend. Dh gets a good bonus most years that gives us more freedom to do tournaments and other extra things. And it still pinches to do everything we do. I still cut Dh and the boys' hair, which I dislike doing, because it pays for a tournament each year. We cut like that in a lot of ways to make it happen. We think it is worth it, because the kids have gotten a lot out of it and they have had a fair measure of success. But it isn't necessary. Until about 6 years ago, our average per kid was probably close to $150/year. And 9 years ago the average was probably about $50, and that was fine, too.

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DD quit gym (YAY!) but her cheer expenses have been about $300 for swag and fees and that was just JV. It didn't include my mandatory team meals. Varsity (next year) is a little more. She doesn't do competitive club cheer and that is more like gymnastics fees. DS plays the trombone. His instrument rental (he wants to change next year so we didn't buy) is $25/mo. plus various fundraisers. So, bare minimum...$300 plus $150 in fundraisers for him. There's also a band camp this summer and he's also going to run track this spring. It'll end up...BARELY, under $500/kid THIS YEAR. Next year will be more.

Edited by Sneezyone

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I’m an other. Every year is different for every child. And how we define “school related” also changes.  This year, I could say $0 and technically be truthful. My bank account might disagree.

I think my youngest ones may wind up back in martial arts in the fall, which used to run us around $240/mo for the first two kids, free for additional family members.  But I’m totally using it as “PE” anyway, lol.

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6 minutes ago, Acorn said:

Private music lessons and youth orchestra are about $120 a month per child. 
Rec soccer is $200 a year per child.

Swim lessons were nonnegotiable for safety, about $50 a year.

How many swim lessons do you get for $50 per year? It's about $10-$20 per 1/2 hour lesson here. My youngest needs more swimming lessons, and I have yet to find a reasonably priced source. 

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37 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

 would like to think like Mystery Jen we will earn it back in scholarships to college. 

🤣🤣🤣😭😭😭

No college scholarships for our kids. Hopefully healthy kids that will grow into healthy adults. 

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1 minute ago, Meriwether said:

🤣🤣🤣😭😭😭

No college scholarships for our kids. Hopefully healthy kids that will grow into healthy adults. 

 

Yep, I think that is what we will end up getting too.   Which I know is a great thing.   My two oldest at this moment would like to become professional dancers, so maybe they will earn some money back on my investment in some way.  Pro dancer, teacher, private lessons.   That is part of what I tell myself.   Oh and I agree with having the thing be the second to your mortgage.  I relate.   It used to be third after food.  It jumped way up.  Now, I think with summer intensives it will pass our mortgage.     Dumb Dumb Dumb.  

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Dd does martial arts for $99/month and ds belongs to a gym for $25/month.  That's the only steady outside activities they do.  Technically I guess both are for PE, but we'd probably still be doing them if they were in public school.

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The older they get the more it cost.  My high school students did cost over $500 a year.   

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It's a little tricky because four of my kids participate in the same activity.  Per kid it would be more expensive, but since there are sibling discounts, for one family, for up to six attendances per week (two of my kids go twice a week on average, and two of them go once), it's a good bargain.  We would probably do that activity even if they were in public school.  And the other kid (fourth kid) does one outside art class on his own that is also a good bargain; if he were in public school, we may or may not have that expense.

 

Especially for older kids or kids who are deep into a sport or activity, $500 a year doesn't seem outrageous to me.  That's like $42 a month.  If it's out of the budget, it's out of the budget, and goodness knows I've had years like that too, but I don't think that's an excessive amount to spend.

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Most activities that involve lessons of any kind will cost more than$500 per child--$500 for a year is less than $50 per month, and there isn't much in the way of weekly lessons available at that rate. 

And most things involve expenses beyond tuition--purchase or rental of instruments, special clothing and gear, performance and/or competition fees...

Community rec sports are often among the cheapest activities, but those become less available for older kids.

Edited by maize
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1 hour ago, maize said:

I wouldn't separate it into school-and-not-school; it's all part of both life and education.

I voted according to what we spend on non-academic activities.


COLA plays a part too.

For tennis which I count as PE, it’s $192 per kid every 5 weeks at Parks & Recreation. Think they break at most 4 times a year so about $1,843 per year per kid.

ETA:

Tennis is 2hrs weekly so $192 works to a rate of $19.2 per hr per kid.

Edited by Arcadia
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We spend $140 per month for art classes and $70 per month for chess club membership (it includes 8 group lessons, 2 private lessons, and a monthly tournament). 

There are no cheap options for good quality activities here. No rec center and kiddo has outgrown the free programs offered by the library. There are a handful of low cost options, but they don't offer any kind of consistent building of skills, so if you want to improve on skills you have to drive far and pay up. 

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2 minutes ago, happypamama said:

It's a little tricky because four of my kids participate in the same activity.  Per kid it would be more expensive, but since there are sibling discounts, for one family, for up to six attendances per week (two of my kids go twice a week on average, and two of them go once), it's a good bargain.  We would probably do that activity even if they were in public school.  And the other kid (fourth kid) does one outside art class on his own that is also a good bargain; if he were in public school, we may or may not have that expense.

 

Especially for older kids or kids who are deep into a sport or activity, $500 a year doesn't seem outrageous to me.  That's like $42 a month.  If it's out of the budget, it's out of the budget, and goodness knows I've had years like that too, but I don't think that's an excessive amount to spend.

Sibling discounts are a huge blessing. A couple of our activities actually have a family maximum, once you reach that you can add more children/classes without added cost. I'm profoundly grateful for that provision! 

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It's varied over the years; we more or less take it on a case-by-case basis and depends on the kid, the activity, the finances, etc. 

Right now, we've only got one really at home (so, ha, the older 2 are getting $$$$$$ for college at the moment; I didn't count that) (not really that many numbers, but, it feels like it).  The one at home takes fencing lessons -- it's $70 ($75?) a month, plus an annual membership of $100. BUT, he gets a 1.5 hr class once/week for that. If he decides to do tournaments, that would be an extra cost, but fairly low. If he decides to do more lessons/month, we can pay I think $125/mo for unlimited sessions (not private lessons, group classes). They provide all of the gear, etc. (we can buy our own when/if we want).  So, $70/month seems pretty reasonable. 

But the older two just did Youth & Government, which had a pretty minimal cost; I don't recall now what it was, it's been a few years. 

Sometimes we've spent nothing on outside stuff/haven't done outside stuff. Sometimes a small amount (for ex, when the big boys were little, they did little league - I think that was $50-ish?? for the season; we've never done travel ball or anything like that). 

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We spend a lot more than $500 per child per year for activities.  Scouts alone is more than $500 per child and that does not include uniforms or gear.   

 

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We generally did one non-homeschool activity each year + two or three homeschool activities (to keep the cost down).

So yearly cost varied by the $ of the non-homeschool activity. 

My girls did dance for quite a few years. Round it down to maybe a thousand per girl per year (it's more than that, especially adding in shoes). Another $600 for homeschool activities (drama, dance, choir, art etc). 

Honestly, I always tried to never think of it past payments for a single term, because it's so much money that can be used for, you know, the dentist, savings etc. But it had to be more like $2000+ a child per year (my parents helped out with classes sometimes).

High COL area though.

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Thanks everyone.  We haven't done lots of activities with/for the kids so far, but we are starting to get into more.   DD24 didn't do any weekly things, she did a couple of sports and she also did scouts, but I can't remember how much those things cost.  We are budgeting through sinking funds, kind of like cash envelopes, but virtual and the kids activities category is one that I know is underfunded.  I just wanted to have an idea of a point to start from so that we can plan ahead somewhat.  

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I know this is going to be shocking but I have spent $5000+ for a nearly year round intense sport.

By the time all is said and done this year I will have paid about $4000 for a purely recreational activity for my dd (dance). I am 100% sure my dd will never do anything with dance except maybe teach a Zumba class or participate in it as a hobby or exercise. She won't go to college for ballet. I'm not a delusional parent. I knowingly spend for the benefits in the here and now. There will be no tangible payoff.

I am sure there are many other on this board that pay this much. We aren't wealthy or super competitive or serious about stuff in general. We just kind of find things that work for our kids and that we can swing. I have four dc. Two have had expensive activities. One is very involved in 4-H and travels to conferences, camps, etc something like 20 times a year and so much of that is funded by grants and things that we pay very little. He is flying to Wash DC for a week and we are just paying for a couple of meals over that time. So it balances out (or so I tell myself).

I'm sure any financial adviser that looked at our books would tell us we are crazy for spending what we have on these activities. I'm sure he or she would be correct. I've never reconciled it for myself and I don't feel fantastic about what we spend.  But it just has somehow always worked out. 

I wish we had access to more low cost things. 4-H has been great! But we are in a small town and there just isn't much to do. If my dd didn't do dance she would be so bored. I've thought about quitting it but I haven't figured out what I would replace it with. She has to do something. We don't have any homeschool activities and her siblings are all grown. 

This is one topic where people that don't spend can be quite judgy with those that do. I'm frequently defending myself to people commenting on my dd's dance. We don't ever eat out or even order pizza. Rarely take vacations and when we do they are cheap and quick. Everyone chooses how to spend their money and I'm comfortable (mostly) with my choices. 

I am positive the answers on this can range from $0 to $10,000+

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It has always been a lot in our family. It’s the least now because I’m only paying for one kid’s activities and he’s in public school now, so there’s that. But over the years, these are things we paid for that were not (necessarily) homeschool costs:

Rec-level sports:  Baseball, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball have all been attended by at least one kid fall and spring. 

Music lessons: piano, guitar, chorus and general music classes.

If you add in incidental things like ski lessons, snowboarding, swimming, camps, horseback-riding...it’s a LOT. 

 

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7 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

positive the answers on this can range from $0 to $10,000+

I’m positive you are right! 

One time I added up all I had spent just for music lessons for three kids for several years. I quickly decided it was better for my emotional health not to do that...

(And yes, it was a five-figure number, though that was over some years.) 

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At the moment we spend $500 a month on music lessons (4 kids, $1 per minute rate)... that doesn't include instrument costs, orchestra, books, exams, accompanists, travel...

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So much depends upon what you consider school. For us, everything was school, so for your category $0. 

And so much depends upon where you live, availability and cost of lessons, driving expenses, etc. 

We did what we could afford (but time and money). If we could not afford it, we didn't do it. Easy. 

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Dd dances, so we spend waaaayyy more than $500 per year on her. Ds is no longer doing basketball through school, so we only pay for a gym membership for him now (he goes with his friends). Just did the math and it is around $500 for his membership annually. 

Edited by Just Kate
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51 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

This is one topic where people that don't spend can be quite judgy with those that do. I'm frequently defending myself to people commenting on my dd's dance. We don't ever eat out or even order pizza. Rarely take vacations and when we do they are cheap and quick. Everyone chooses how to spend their money and I'm comfortable (mostly) with my choices. 

I am positive the answers on this can range from $0 to $10,000+

We do order pizza - Little Caesar's . The small town that I grew up in had a Pizza Hut. I recently saw a Pizza Hut commercial, got nostalgic, and made a comment about wishing we had a Pizza Hut income. Dh gave me a really odd look and said, "We can afford Pizza Hut." No, we can't. LOL Not if we want to go to a tournament each month. 

I wouldn't advise people to actively choose to spend so much on activities. But if the kids (and Dh in my case) love something that much, it is okay. 

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We used to spend thousands per year for high level ballet (more than $500 per year, just for pointe shoes). We now spend thousands per year for music lessons and equipment (two musicians, multiple lessons per week at $25 per lesson -- it really adds up). When DS was a competitive gymnast, that was expensive, as well.

It really depends upon the activity. Some things are much more expensive than others.

I'm spend very little on myself, but we have spent a lot on the children. But they have expensive areas of talent that have cost more than recreational league activities. We've allowed it to be a priority in our spending, but other families will make different choices.

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1 hour ago, teachermom2834 said:

This is one topic where people that don't spend can be quite judgy with those that do. I'm frequently defending myself to people commenting on my dd's dance. We don't ever eat out or even order pizza. Rarely take vacations and when we do they are cheap and quick. Everyone chooses how to spend their money and I'm comfortable (mostly) with my choices. 

I am positive the answers on this can range from $0 to $10,000+

I do just want to make sure it's clear, my purpose for starting the thread was purely informational.  No judgement, and I wasn't really even thinking about reasonable or reasonable.  Just, what sorts of numbers to we need to start with in our budget as our kids are reaching the age where we are signing them up for stuff. 

Thanks to this thread, and a couple of YouTube videos, plus calculating up some of the things that we already have known numbers on, we settled on a budget of about $400 per year per kid.  If we decide to add things, we can change it, but it's a good place to start.  

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So....bc budget things are my bread and butter and bc I track every penny we spend by 100000s of categories so I can tell you the exact numbers: Our lowest year was $606 for all three kids (well, 2 bc youngest was an infant) and our highest was $4081 for all three kids. 

My rules have always been:

1. We can afford it - meaning, I don't have to cut out anything else (including my Panera habit)

2. I never offer or suggest any activities to them - they have to want to and they have to ask.

 

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I would say we spend on the low end compared to other families we know, but just piano is more than $500 per year per kid. Our kids don’t do really expensive sports: homeschool cross country team, summer swim team through parks &rec, rec league basketball, etc. But then you add in a week of camp, 4H, and other random activities and it adds up!

Since you are planning for future expenses, maybe think about the activities your kids might particulate in and find out what they cost in your area. That will probably give you a more accurate picture. 

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I’ll say non academic spending is about:

$600/yr per kid for choir (paid by my parents)

$250/yr per kid for choir related overnight retreats

$90/per kid (two of them) for rec league lacrosse

$40/per kid per year summer parks&rec day camps

$200 for one kid to go on youth group retreat

$ some unknown amount for incidentals to above activities plus occasional admission to a pool during the summer 

I believe our current budget is total $200 per month for school and kid activities. $132 goes to co-op each month except summer. The remaining $68 barely covers the above. 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I do just want to make sure it's clear, my purpose for starting the thread was purely informational.  No judgement, and I wasn't really even thinking about reasonable or reasonable.  Just, what sorts of numbers to we need to start with in our budget as our kids are reaching the age where we are signing them up for stuff. 

Thanks to this thread, and a couple of YouTube videos, plus calculating up some of the things that we already have known numbers on, we settled on a budget of about $400 per year per kid.  If we decide to add things, we can change it, but it's a good place to start.  

Gently, I might suggest that any sort of lesson or sport at any kind of serious level (like, not an 8 week rec session) will run more than that. That's not even $10 per lesson for a weekly lesson, and $10 per lesson is a pretty good deal. 

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I've never added it up, but it is a lot. The amount we've spent on music lessons and sports is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to what we've spent on my kids' horses.😬

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I mean, ds wants to be a professional dancer and is a teen. He dances every single day. He's attending a summer intensive program halfway across the country this summer. These answers are hilariously low for us.

Even when my kids were little and did rec soccer, little kid ballet, and some piano lessons, they easily went above that level. I appreciate that some people have to spend less, but I'm not sure how anyone can possibly do anything but a single rec sport or maybe a single rec sport and a single rec arts class for the whole year or something and still stay under $500. 

If the goal of this poll was informational, then I think you're getting a really weirdly skewed answer. The data in the $500+ category is going to range a ton. And the choices feel very awkward to me. Very much like, obviously, most people are only spending a few hundred dollars at most. Except, nope. Not in my world. Like I said, I get that many people have to spend less. But to me, the bigger dividing line there is not between people spending a hundred or two hundred, but people spending $500 vs. $1000 vs. $5000 vs. $10,000. If you want to see how much people are really spending, I think you need a wider range of poll answers.

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6 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I mean, ds wants to be a professional dancer and is a teen. He dances every single day. He's attending a summer intensive program halfway across the country this summer. These answers are hilariously low for us.

Even when my kids were little and did rec soccer, little kid ballet, and some piano lessons, they easily went above that level. I appreciate that some people have to spend less, but I'm not sure how anyone can possibly do anything but a single rec sport or maybe a single rec sport and a single rec arts class for the whole year or something and still stay under $500. 

If the goal of this poll was informational, then I think you're getting a really weirdly skewed answer. The data in the $500+ category is going to range a ton. And the choices feel very awkward to me. Very much like, obviously, most people are only spending a few hundred dollars at most. Except, nope. Not in my world. Like I said, I get that many people have to spend less. But to me, the bigger dividing line there is not between people spending a hundred or two hundred, but people spending $500 vs. $1000 vs. $5000 vs. $10,000. If you want to see how much people are really spending, I think you need a wider range of poll answers.

 

Agree. 

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