Paying For Extra Curricular Activities

Reader Question: We have two girls in competitive gymnastics, and it’s costing $12,000 to $15,000 a year at a professional gym to do all this. My wife and I both work, and we make about $115,000 a year, but virtually all of her income goes toward paying the gymnastics bill. We’re also trying to get out of debt and get better control of our money at the same time. Should we focus more on our finances right now?

dave_ramsey If I were in your shoes, I’d be asking myself why the kids are in gymnastics. Unless you guys are trying to send them to the Olympics — and they’re actually good enough to reach that level — teaching them things like discipline and to master their bodies through physical training can be done at a local amateur level. And at a much lower cost.

My son played ice hockey in local leagues for years when he was growing up. We did it as a family thing, and he had lots of fun and we all made great new friends. He even played some in high school, too, but he wasn’t NHL material. It didn’t change his life that he didn’t play on a traveling team or with pro trainers, so we had to ask ourselves, “What will it matter when he’s 30 years old?”

You make good money, so that’s not really the big issue. If you guys made $50,000 or less, I’d be yelling at you. But with your income, the gymnastics thing probably isn’t going to slow you down too much when it comes to getting your financial house in order. In other words, it’s a parental thing. Ask yourself why you’re investing so heavily in this, and what the goal is when they’re adults. I think that will help you make the smart decision.

Dave Ramsey

Dave is the author of The New York Times best-selling book Financial Peace. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show, and is a regular guest on television. All of his financial counseling is based on biblical truths. You can hear Dave from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays online at www.daveramsey.com. Send your questions toaskdave@daveramsey.com. He resides with his wife Sharon and their three children, Denise, Rachel, and Daniel, in Nashville, Tennessee.

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