Don’t Let Kids’ Activities Break the Bank

Dear Mary,

My biggest budget busters are enrichment activities for my four children. I want to spark their joy for living and have them sample different sports and hobbies.

Currently they attend a private school that is academically aggressive, and each takes piano lessons. The boys take karate and the girls, ballet. They are also involved in sports, as well as theatre productions at school―none of which is free. We are a one-income family and I stay home with our four children. Our finances are very tight and we end up using credit to make it through the month. It sounds simple enough to just put my children in public school and drop all the extras, but my mommy-guilt says NO. I want the best for my kids. Any advice? Tricia, email


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Dear Tricia,

The definition of “guilt” is “remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense.” You have not committed any offense so I don’t think this is about guilt. You are experiencing fear of failing as a parent. The best way to get rid of fear is to replace it with power. And power comes through knowledge.