Real-life money lessons

Why Your Kids Should Pitch In for Their Activities

In the spring, J will be eligible to test for his black belt!

The cost of this particular test is $430.

Hold the phone. What?!

Cost of Karate

J has been training for about four years now. There are lots of costs associated with karate including:

  • Tuition ($95 per month)
  • Testing fees ($60-$75 each time; initially four times per year, then later two times per year)
  • Tournaments ($50+ each; around twice per year)
  • Uniforms ($40+ when he needs a new one, about every two years)
  • Other incidentals like patches, bags, fundraisers, parties, etc.

I split the costs with J’s dad and so far we’ve footed the entire bill.

Benefits of karate

There’s no denying that karate is a great activity. J learns responsibility, leadership, personal protection, coordination, focus, how to get along with others, commitment, personal development — the list is endless.

Because karate is important to us and because J gets a lot out of it, we’re fine with the cost.

Pitching in towards the test

But because he’s getting older and I want to engage him, I told him that he was responsible for 10% of the testing fee.

Based on when he needs the money, he calculated how much he’d have to save each month. $43 / 5 months = about $8.60 per month.

He adjusted his allowance split in FamZoo, adding karate to the mix that already included savings, spending and Christmas (next year).

Allowance split in FamZoo

He can also add additional money to the pot at any time, which he’s already done.

Why I’m having him pitch in

There are a lot of reasons why I’ve asked him to contribute to the cost of the test.

  • It gives us a chance to talk! If we pay for the entire test, it’s less of a conversation and more of a lecture.
  • I want to give him a realistic view of what activities cost. It’s hard to grasp that stuff when you’re a kid, and it can be startling to find out when you become an adult.
  • It may help him realize how fortunate he is to be able to participate in this activity.
  • Often we show what is important to us by what we spend money on. By him pitching in, it’s showing us (and himself) that karate is important to him.
  • He’ll have some skin in the game. What we pay for, we take more seriously.
  • It will give him additional practice saving up; kids (and adults) can get creative when there’s a goal in mind.
  • As he gets older, I’d like to give him opportunities for increased responsibility.

Do your kids participate in big budget items? Share in the comments below!

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