As a dance mom, you’re constantly running around with your dancers making sure they get to practice, are prepared for recitals and have all of the essentials they need to be at their best. In short, it can be exhausting and take up a lot of your time. It can also take up a lot of your money. Between studio fees, the cost of transportation and costume prices, things can add up quickly, and you might not have the money to spend on all these items. So what are dance moms to do? Budget, of course! Consider these five money-saving tips if you’re on a tight budget.
1. Lay out the Costs
The first thing you need to do as a dance mom is determine the cost of each necessary expense. For instance, you might want to lay out the monthly cost of studio tuition, as well as the average costs of shoes, costumes and hair and makeup products. Creating a monthly budget will help keep you on track in the long run and allow you to determine whether certain costs are worth it or need to be cut from the budget. Factor in other bills that you might have, including daily living and housing costs.
You don’t want to be short on your mortgage payment because you splurged somewhere else. Over time, you’ll become mindful of where you should and shouldn’t be spending money, helping you save money as you avoid spending on unnecessary items. With a firm budget in place, you might notice you’ll have money left over each month that can be added to your savings account.
2. Pay Yourself
At the end of the day, it’s important to pay yourself too, according to Dance Moms’ mom Melissa Gisoni. She noted in one money-saving video the importance of saving up when you first are given your paycheck. Her move? Envelopes.
Gisoni will stow away any extra money in envelopes, and then will hide them to avoid spending the money elsewhere. Eventually, the money will add up and can be used toward any extra expenses, such as a last-minute costume or a new pair of dance shoes. This is a good way to force yourself to save money, as you will not think – or see – the extra money you might have, preventing you from spending it.
3. Don’t Say ‘Yes’ to Your First Option
When shopping for dance, it’s important to not settle for the first item you find. This is especially crucial if you have to buy more expensive costumes through your studio. Look online and compare prices for dance shoes, leotards and other items you might need. Use websites such as RetailMeNot, which gives you the latest coupons and savings on websites.
If you’re really on a tight budget, consider getting gently used dance items from a local dance store, a consignment shop, dance community groups, Craigslist or EBay. You’d be surprised by the quality items you can find through these secondhand retailers. This way, you’ll save money by finding affordable, budget-friendly costumes that prevent you from spending money you might not have.
4. Pay up Front
Your budget may vary from month to month, especially when the holidays and recital week come around. If this is the case, it may be smarter to pay up front, especially when it comes to big payments such as monthly studio membership dues. Find out what financial plans are offered through the studio, and whether they would let you pay the full value up front.
Many dance studios will actually offer parents a discount if they choose to pay in advance. That way, each month is taken care of without you having to worry about late bills or trying to find the means to pay. Of course, make sure you have the means to cover this payment before going through with it.
5. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead can also help you save a lot of money on dance costs. For instance, if you know your dancer will need new shoes within a few months and you have a little extra money now, buy them and wait to give them to him or her down the road. The same goes for buying other items out of season, which can really help you cut costs as these items might be discounted or more affordable. Anticipating costs down the road can help you plan and make the right decisions now.