Child Versus Checkbook - The Economics of Enrichment
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Of course, the balancing act becomes simpler when you know your data. Pay attention to where your money is actually going, and it is that much easier to replace a low priority expense with one that’s more important to you. If ordering sushi for a family of four costs the same as a session with a master SAT tutor, the swap becomes academic, as it were. When the renewal period comes around for a class your child professes to despise again and again, maybe it’s time to finally let it go and have a little money to spend on spontaneous activities.
Another angle that adds up fast for the saving-savvy is to systematically follow the freebies. Little explanation is required here; libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions constantly provide educational opportunities at no charge. These include museums, public parks, cultural institutions like Lincoln Center, the library, zoos and aquaria — the list goes on and on.
Tough times do call for a certain amount of belt-tightening, though there’s a distinct upside to limiting your options to what you care about most, as opposed to everything you might like, for your child. No one knows your child like you do, and consciously managing your priorities for him is a profound opportunity. Ultimately, in making your financial choices, you must trust your instincts about who your child is and where she might be headed over the next several decades, well beyond the college admissions process.
WILL CRAIG is educational director at Partners With Parents, Inc., which offers educational consulting and tutoring services in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. He can be reached at 212-928-5016 or [email protected]. For more information: www.partnerswithparents.com.