Budgeting for Kids' Hobbies

Get tips to manage the cost of children's lessons and activities

Many kids participate in after-school activities that help them stay fit, learn new skills and engage in creative pursuits. However, parents may find it challenging to balance costs for lessons and equipment with other household expenses. If you're looking for ways to plan ahead and save money on children's activities, our guide offers some cost-saving tips. Once you’re ready to start saving, consider opening a joint checking account with your spouse to budget for the costs and pay for uniforms, equipment and other necessities.

Research costs for kids' activities before making a commitment

Sports teams, art classes, theater groups, music classes, scouting and more – there are plenty of activities for kids to choose from, and many children want to try multiple hobbies. Below are a few suggestions of what to do before signing your child up for a new activity:

  1. Research the average cost per season, program, lesson or class in your area.
  2. Shop around using the price range you determined to find the best deal for your family.
  3. Look into group lessons or recreational leagues for a more affordable alternative.
  4. Consider bi-weekly or monthly lessons instead of weekly lessons.
  5. Ask if your child can sit in on a lesson or try an introductory session.
  6. Look for discounts on introductory or one-time lessons via social couponing sites.
  7. Ask instructors if they can accept online or mobile payments so you can easily transfer funds from your checking account.

Tips for saving money on children's activities

To save more money on children's lessons and activities, consider some of the following tips:

  • Get equipment secondhand: If possible, use hand-me-down equipment or instruments from family or friends, or see if you can find gently-used items at a resale shop. However, if your kids are playing sports, it’s best to avoid buying used safety gear such as masks, pads or helmets – it may not fit properly or may have been previously damaged.

  • Rent musical instruments: Some children may try several different instruments before they find the one they enjoy the most. Rather than purchasing a violin, trumpet or drum kit, consider renting instruments until you're sure your child wants to pursue a certain musical hobby.

  • Take lessons as a group: Private tutoring can be pricey, but small groups are often given discount rates. To save money, consider coordinating with neighbors, friends or team parents to enroll your children in a painting class or soccer clinic together. That way, kids can experience their favorite hobbies with friends while you save extra cash.

  • Create a hobby wish list: While most hobbies require basic equipment, there may be a number of extra items that your child might want as they become more involved. Ask your child to put together a list of equipment, accessories and other “wants” that are related to their favorite activity. Before birthdays or gift-giving holidays, consider sharing this list with friends and family who are looking for ideas.

  • Carpool with other parents: If your child’s hobby involves groups or teams, consider asking other parents if they would be interested in setting up a carpool system. By trading off, you can all save money on transportation costs, as well as vehicle wear and tear.

Open a checking account to budget for the cost of kids’ hobbies

Even with discounts and cost-cutting strategies, it's important to maintain your budget and monitor spending on kids' hobbies. Saving up for children’s lessons in advance is a great way to prepare for costs like equipment, transportation and more. If you’re ready to get started, consider opening a checking account or speaking with a Citizens Bank customer service representative to learn more.


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