How spoiled are your kids?
November 20, 2005 8:41 PM   Subscribe

How much do you spend on your kids?

I have the luxury of not watching my money that closely (I make enough, and neither I nor my wife are prone to spending binges) so I was recently surprised to find out how much we're spending on activities for my kid. Really surprised. So I wonder, is it just us? Just Southern Californians? Just Americans? It's way more than I estimate I cost, even adjusted for inflation. So:
How much do you spend on activities? It might be most helpful to format answers as:
Location   Amount-per-week
before any explanations or comments.
For example:
Los Angeles     $75
I'm not including special occasions, presents, necessaries, school tuition, or anything like that. Just weekly/monthly bills for things like sports teams, lessons (music, cram school, etc), art projects, online fees, cell phones, for your kid.
posted by spacewrench to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
Ages of children could be just as important as place.

Southwest - elementary age child - sports only, about $75 (including photos) per sport, per season, 1 allowed each season.
posted by LadyBonita at 8:50 PM on November 20, 2005

And shouldn't a kid pay for their own cell phone? (assuming it's not for just emergencies) - same for car insurance/gas/upkeep.

Btw, in our city, arts and assorted summer and after school programs are provided free of charge or at a nominal fee. We will begin private music lessons soon but I don't yet know the cost.

And I forgot Boy Scouts - probably an yearly average of $20 per month, max. So make my total about $45 per month. If you would count the 'mother's morning out' program that would be another $8 per week.

Music lessons, sports, scouts, and the occasional arts/crafts sort of thing is more than enough for our schedule.

I have no idea what "cram school" is about.
posted by LadyBonita at 9:02 PM on November 20, 2005

i'm not a parent, but speaking as the now-grown child of parents who didn't watch their money very closely and were firmly middle-class, they spent a LOT of money on my sisters and i. as a kid i had piano lessons weekly, played league soccer, softball, basketball, had swim lessons, was in girl scouts, took ballet/tap/jazz dance classes... all in the course/throughout just one year. in high school they paid for me to have a pager, to play jv tennis, and probably spent $100/month just on books i wanted to read.

it seems ridiculous looking back on it, but i think if you can afford it and can still manage to save for their college fund or for your own retirement, you shouldn't feel bad or be horrified by how much you spend. the more they experience when they're younger, the more well-rounded they'll be as adults.
posted by booknerd at 9:27 PM on November 20, 2005

We spend a fair bit I suppose, and money is semi-tight around our house. Him, 7, Her, 5. Us, in Canada.

Music lessons: Him: $100/month, Her: $50/month
YMCA/Swimming lessons: $50/month for the two (approx)
Choir: Him: $250 for the year (approx)
Summer Camps: Maybe $200-300 each in the summer

Then there's clothes, gifts for friend's birthday parties, plus the indirect costs, like the extra gas to drive them everywhere (I talk transit to work). And if you're a real economic hard-ass, there's the opportunity cost of my wife staying at home to look after them. She could probably make $40K-$50K if she worked. But I don't think that's what you meant.

It may seem like a lot, but even though our school has a relatively good music program, it would be hard to imagine giving music up. Both kids seem to get a lot out of it. My son is a fidgety 7-year old (which is normal) and huitar really gives him a chance to focus and improve his fine motor skills. Plus music is great, etc.
posted by GuyZero at 4:36 AM on November 21, 2005

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