As parents, we all want to make sure our children are given the best possible tools to help them develop, and this means making it possible for them to attend activities and clubs.
MyFamilyClub’s Gemma Johnson shares some tips on how to keep these spiralling expenses under control.
The cost of after-school activities like swimming, football, piano or ballet can really add up: for example a half-hour French lesson can cost £5, or an hour-long ballet class might be £9.
Here are our top tips on saving money on activities for your children, to keep your little ones – and your bank balance – smiling.
1. Do your research
Often we try to save time by signing up to the first class we come across but this can be an expensive option. It’s always worth looking around and doing your research for local clubs that are offering the same activities.
For example, if you’re son or daughter is sporty, there may be a local community football or tennis club at a fraction of the price compared to a national branded organisation. They will get just as much enjoyment and learn the same skills, but on a tighter budget.
2. Childcare vouchers
If your employer provides you with childcare vouchers don’t forget that these can be used to pay for after school, breakfast and holiday clubs for your children. It is a common misconception that childcare vouchers can only be used for pre-school childcare when in fact they are valid until the child’s 16th birthday and can be used on a range of activities.
3. Birthday gift
Is your child’s birthday coming up? A thoughtful and useful present could be to ask for a cash value donation from a family member or a friend to go towards school activities.
4. Skill swap
Could you set up a skill swap group in your community around children’s activities or tuition? You may be able to exchange skills with other parents via school notice boards or with a family member or friend. Grandma’s piano skills really could come in handy!
5. Church or community offers
Church-run toddler groups can cost as little as £1 for a couple of hours and you could even get free drinks and biscuits thrown in! This is a great way to help your child socialise and enjoy art and crafts or other activites at a much smaller cost than you might expect elsewhere.
It is important to prioritise what you are willing to pay for – do you feel your four year old will benefit from French lessons or would it be better to wait until they are a little older? With so many clubs out there it is difficult to say no, but take careful consideration and only sign up if you think it is worthwhile.
7. Discount if more than one sibling attends
If more than one sibling is attending an after school activity, why not ask if they offer a discount? It could just save a few extra pounds and both your children can enjoy it together.