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Wallet Watchers: Helping You Save Money

Keeping down cost of kids' extracurricular activities

Between school supplies, electronics and new clothes and shoes, families with school-aged children will likely spend an average of $634 this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Even though that number is lower than last year, it doesn't give the total picture of how much money families will shell out during the first few weeks of school. We're talking about extracurricular activities. Sport leagues, music lessons and clubs can also be costly. Here are a few tips to help you afford all the after-school fun.

Start small

Have your child pick one activity per season, especially if it's the first time he or she child is participating in extracurricular activities.

Sports physicals

The checklist is endless for those participating in sports activities and it includes sports physicals. Physicals can be done by a family physician but if your insurance doesn't cover the cost, look for drug-store clinic specials, which usually pop up in late July and August.

Sports equipment

If your kid's schools do not offer materials for free, or at all, try to gather what is needed from other family members. If you're going to have to buy, Craigslist, eBay and other online sites can be good alternatives. Make sure the used items are safe for use. Secondhand stores can also help save money. Monitor ads for sporting goods stores.

Musical instruments

Music can be an expensive hobby. Try renting or buying used instruments and seek the advice of music teachers to analyze any maintenance requirements. Buying new could leave you with an unused instrument if your children decide music is not for them.

Carpooling To save at the pump, organize carpools with other parents. Use grocery-store loyalty cards that reward you at the pump.

Household budget

If it's a struggle to afford extra-curricular activities, work it into the household budget. Shorten the family vacation by a day or eat in for a month.

Involve your kids in budgeting

Encourage your kids to save part of their allowance or other money to put toward a special purchase, bet it the trendiest basketball shoes, horseback riding lessons or private swim coaching. Involving kids in financial planning is a good way to and learn the value of money and savings.

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About the Author


Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.

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