Don’t Let Lack of Funds Keep You From Your Dream

Don’t Let Lack of Funds Keep You From Your Dream

Before my husband (then-boyfriend) and I became unexpectedly pregnant with our daughter, we always talked about how if we had kids, we wanted to plan out our finances so they could do whatever activities they desired. We came from lower-middle class families—we lived in the same trailer park growing up—and we could not afford such things until we got jobs in high school and paid for them ourselves. I understand that my parents could not afford these activities and am not bitter about it, but I still think about how cool it would have been to, say, learn to play the saxophone or something as a kid.

Of course, like they say, there is never a perfect time to have children, and though we were financially secure for her first three years, for the last three we have been broke due to two layoffs, a subsequent garnishment, and plenty of other financial worries. That still, however, does not stop us from helping our daughter to follow her dreams. We simply have to do the best we can.

When it comes to finding the best and most affordable programs for children, sometimes you just have to keep an eye and ear open. When my daughter did dance class (very briefly!) we found studios with fees up to $150 per month! We ended up paying only $30 per month, however, for the close-to-home program that we discovered. She is still able to take musical classes and do sports because we work out payment plans when we can. Most instructors will work with you if they know your situation; you can also look around for the best tuition. For example, the first place I sought piano lessons from wanted $17 per weekly lesson; we held out until we found a lovely teacher holding lessons out of her own home for $10 per lesson.

That said, you also don’t have to do lessons these days if you want to. With the Internet at hand, you can learn almost anything without a teacher. Between YouTube, Instructables, and Khan Academy—not to mention all of the dozens of colleges offering free courses now—anyone with constant Internet access can get a free education. Perhaps that’s why those degrees on paper have decreased in value.

Just keep these options in mind when it feels like you can’t finance your child’s dreams—or your own, for that matter. After all, while my daughter learns to play piano, there is no reason why I cannot along with her.