Today’s economy is forcing people to be financially creative in many ways. Some people have decided to lower their standard of living by cutting down on eating out, buy purchasing non-name brand items, by limiting shopping sprees and the like. Parents can easily adjust financially, but kids are a different story. If a child is used to certain types of clothes, toys, and activities, it’s going to be difficult for that child to limit the number of toys, to limit or not have those name brand clothes, or to cut out certain activities that they enjoy. Activities are a child’s window to the world; so don’t break that window. A child’s activities help to keep them active and help build strong minds and bodies. There are creative ways to pay for a child’s activities instead of possibly cutting out some. Most parents would choose to cut costs on toys and clothes for keeping their child’s activities. So how do you keep your child’s activities going on a budget? Let’s take a look at what parents can do to fund their child’s activities.
1. Bartering is still alive and well. You and/or your child may barter to fund some activities. Make a list of products and/or services that you and/or other family members can offer. Think about the needs of certain people and/or organizations. What do Mom’s need? What does an organization need? Think about the following:
- Can you cook a meal for a meet-up group in return for your child’s participation in a Mastermind group?
- Are you a great seamstress and can create costumes in return for your child’s spot in the theatre club?
- Are you a great painter and can paint classrooms in return for your child’s participation in soccer?
- Can you teach a class in return for your child’s tutoring sessions?
- Are you a handy man or woman? Someone who is great at home repairs in return for your child’s music lessons?
- Can you provide administrative support in return for your child’s instrument rental?
- Do you mind cleaning offices or bathrooms in return for your child’s ballet lessons?
- Can you do research for a company in return for your child’s participation in that company’s after-school program?
There are some Mom’s who clean bathrooms and offices while their child is participating in ballet class or in other activities, and they don’t have to pay one dime for their child’s activities. That’s a sweet deal, free activities and exercise for Mom.
2. Ask. You have not, because you ask not. Don’t let pride stand in your way. When girls scout cookies come around parents aren’t shy about asking for sales, so why not seek funds for your child’s activities? Yes, it’s hard asking people for money, but there’s a way to do it, and here’s how. Develop a cover letter that might say something like this:
- “Hello Mr. and Mrs. Carlisle, this letter and program information serve as your invitation to have a part in my growth and development. I take part in a program at The Children’s Cove that gives half scholarships to students, but my family must come up with the other half. The Children’s Cove teaches advanced math, second languages, website design, and more. I am pursuing learning Chinese and the program for the entire year is $250.00. That means The Children’s Cove gives $125.00 and my family and I have to sponsor the other half of $125.00. You are one of five sponsors Dad, Mom and I are asking to give $25.00 that would help fund the entire year. Checks and money orders are to be made out to The Children’s Cove with my name and program name on the bottom of the check or money order. My Mom has enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelop for you. For next year’s participation, the deadline for finances to be received by The Children’s Cove is December 5th. At the end of the program I will receive a certificate of completion and the certificate will display the names of my sponsors. All sponsors will receive a recognition letter from The Children’s Cove. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your generosity. Sincerely, Michael Long (student) and Rachel Long (Mom). PS. – please e-mail Mom if you are able to contribute; her e-mail address is below.”
3. Ask with Funding Websites. If letter writing isn’t your thing, then try funding websites. The sites are easy to use and will allow parents to see funds grow each time a sponsor gives. The funding sites let you set up the requested amount, a minimum amount, and the start and finish date of the giving period. When your funding period ends and you have not reached you goal, the finances go back to the sponsors, but if you have reached your goal and more, you get the funds. Here are some funding websites to consider:
4. Have a Yard Sale – physical or virtual. Now if it’s snowing out you’ll have to do the virtual yard sale on Ebay, on Etsy or on other selling websites. Clean out and clear out unwanted items. Repair, sand, repaint, and screw an item back to use. When you have your virtual of physical yard sale, e-mail friends and family to let them know you have things to sell. If you have a friend or family member that likes a certain item of yours let him or her know that, if they’re still interested, the item is for sale. Get your kids involved and see if they want to sell something to help fund their activity. Facebook your yard sale as well.
5. Bake. If your baked goods are to die for then capitalize on it. Bake some cakes, cupcakes, make some chocolate covered pretzels. Take photos of your baked goods, place prices on them, send out e-mails to friends and family. Come up with unique offerings like Cakes-in-a-Jar. For the chocolate covered pretzels wrap them up in clear wrap – roll the chocolate covered pretzels with nuts, M&Ms, Gummy Bears, or Cinnamon Cherrios. Participate in festivals where you can sell your baked goods, and put up a sign saying, for example, “Help Fund Football.”
6. Design Banner Ads. Individuals with a business are always looking to advertise their business and what better way to advertise is with banner ads. If you are skilled in graphic design then design different size box and banner ads. Etsy is a great place to open a shop and sell your services. Use these funds to pay for your child’s activities.
7. Write Articles for Blogs and other Websites. Yes, there is money in article writing. There are loads, and I mean loads, of blogs and other websites that look for great content, and if you’re a good writer and have something to share then those blogs are willing to pay you for your work. Look here.
Don’t be ashamed to ask, barter, bake, design or write to help fund your child’s activities. These funding avenues teach children to be creative and that there is more than one way to skin a cat.