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Budgeting for School Trips and Activities

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 16 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Budgeting For School Trips And Activities

Once kids are school aged, most families have to find room in the budget to cover the expenses associated with school trips and other activities. When the family budget is already tight, as is the case for many people, it can be difficult to imagine being able to stretch the funds even further, but with careful planning, most parents and stepparents find that they can accommodate at least some of the activities that their children hope to enjoy.

Understanding the Household Budget

Most families must live within a budget in order to meet their financial obligations, so it’s important for kids to have a basic understanding of budgeting and finances. They don’t have to be ready to seek employment as accountants, but they should be given a few simple facts about being on a budget. First of all, they need to know that the money supply isn’t limitless. After that, they should be given a general idea of all of the things that parental income must cover, from housing, food, transportation, clothing, and school to the little extras, such as toys, outings, lessons, and pocket money.

Prioritising how Funds are Spent

Obviously, some expenditures are more important than others, but to kids, the things that they want can sometimes feel like needs. Most adults can remember feeling that way at one time or another and it can be truly difficult to look at the faces of one’s children and know that it is impossible to grant their every wish.

Rather than feeling guilty about all of the things that they cannot give to their kids, however, it is far better to take a good look at the family’s budget to see where cuts can be made in order to fund some of their children favourite activities and to set aside money for school trips. Most families have some degree of flexibility when it comes to discretionary spending, and by re-prioritising their non-essential spending, they can make room in the budget for a few of the things that their children want most.

Looking at the Big Picture

Most families would benefit from sitting down to prepare a formal budget, although few people find this to be an enjoyable endeavour. Knowing just how much income the family has to work with and making a list of the assorted financial obligations can go a long way toward helping parents and stepparents to live within their budgets, though, so it is well worth the effort.

Keeping track of where the family’s money goes, on both large and small purchases can be enlightening; most of us find that we waste more money than we might think when we look at the figures in plain black and white. The little, everyday things that many people buy for themselves and their children can add up to a large chunk of money at the end of the month.

Learning to Say No

While it can be hard to do, most parents must occasionally turn down their children’s requests for money. Especially in today’s uncertain economic atmosphere, many families are finding the need to take a hard look at how they spend their money and sometimes, kids will need to understand that as much as they may want to, Mum and Dad cannot always afford to fund every school trip and activity that the children may hope to participate in. Kids may balk at first, especially if they’ve been used to getting everything that they want, but in time, they will come to understand that their parents have simply had to make the decisions that they felt were best.

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