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Columns | Go Far With Kovar

Affordable Activities for Kids

by Taylor Kovar

October 17, 2023

Hi Taylor - My 10-year-old son has a lot of time after school and I'm trying to keep him involved in various activities. Any ideas for how to do this affordably? Everything seems so expensive!

Hi Marjorie - Things don't seem expensive—they are expensive. On top of the food and clothes parents have to buy, the extracurricular activities add a heavy burden to your monthly bill. With three kids of my own, I also feel the sting on this one. Here are some thoughts that might alleviate the financial pressure.

1. Scholarships. If you start looking into afterschool programs, you'll find that most of them aren't free but a lot of them offer financial assistance. Many non-profits that provide youth services do a lot of fundraising with the sole intention of helping parents cover enrollment costs. There's never any shame in applying for a scholarship, especially if that's the difference in whether or not your son gets involved. Sports, performing arts, martial arts—there's a good chance you can apply for a little aid and make any of these activities much more budget-friendly.

2. Volunteer/Internship. We associate this kind of work with older kids, but there are volunteering opportunities for kids as young as five. It might sound like pure work, but I've seen kids have a great time cleaning up and planting urban gardens and doing nature programs that focus on restoring habitats. Our kids get a lot out of the time they spend helping at our church, which is another great option. There might be a mental block where you're only thinking about paid activities like rec league sports or piano lessons. Remind yourself that volunteer work can be just as fun and much more rewarding.

3. Invent a club. Your son is right at the age where he and his friends might start their own club with a little parental supervision. Soccer club, inventors club, box car club—whatever he's interested in, that can become a weekly or biweekly activity without any kind of enrollment fee. You'll have to lay some of the groundwork, either offering the garage with a "No Parents Allowed" sign for a few hours a week or purchasing some supplies, but that could be all it takes to launch a little program that keeps kids busy for years to come. Being in charge means a lot to a 10-year-old, so give as much ownership of the idea as possible and see where things go!

Sometimes it feels easier to just pay for an activity and not have to think about it, but those costs add up way too fast. If you put a little extra effort into researching what's available in your area—or starting something new—you'll save money and might find a really special activity for your kid. Good luck, Marjorie!
Taylor Kovar

"Go Far With Kovar" October 17, 2023 Column
Legal Disclaimer: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com, or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.


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