Parents Feeling overwhelmed right now, advice?

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Hi everyone! I haven't posted in, say, six months or so, but I'm just going to jump back in with both feet, because I need some advice from you mommies (and dads!).

(This first paragraph is from a re-intro post I just posted): M started gym last fall in the 4yo preschool class, moved up to the 5 yo class a few weeks ago, was invited to join pre-team last week, evaluated last night and invited straight into L3 team. We are going today to try an L3 team class to see how she likes it and take it from there.

1) I'm really overwhelmed, right now. She was going to gym for 45 min once per week. Pre-team meets twice a week for an hour each time and L3's meet twice a week for 2 hours each time. She loves gymnastics, asks me every other day (if not every day) to go to the gym, and loves to practice her hand stands and cartwheels at home, but I just don't want her to get overwhelmed at the jump in practice hours.

2) Money is an issue, and a big one at that. I was laid off last July, so we did not expect to be on one income. The preschool class was $56 for four weeks, of which we paid nothing because a family friend paid for it. I've talked to her about the pre-team and she said she could commit to continuing to pay $56 through June and would have to reassess her finances at that time. Pre-team is $100 for four weeks, so, with her $56, that leaves us paying $44 which DH said we could swing. BUT, unless something changes, when our friend can no longer pay, we can't afford the entire bill. Now, L3's tuition is $122 every four weeks (which is a great deal in that it's only $22 more and you get double the hours of pre-team), so that would leave us paying $66 after the $56 is taken care of. That's before all the competition stuff, however. The competion leo, pants, and jacket is $200, and they have 5 meets, so that's something like $500 (the girl said the actual fees would be figured out closer to fall, but she also said the fees could be put on a payment plan).

So now I'm trying to figure out some way to make some money at home so I can give this great opportunity to my M. I think this would be such a great experience for her, but I just don't know if we can swing it...:confused:
Welcome back!

What I suggest is that if you are comfortable, speak with the coach or owner of the gym and see if they have any scholarships. Occasionally gyms will do this, especially if they feel that your dd has talent.

Or, sometimes the gym has some work that needs to be done and you can barter for gym time. For example, I'm a physical therapist and I consult to dd's team and show up for practice a few times a month and get a huge discount on dd's bill.

Or, does the team have a booster club to assist in defraying the costs??

Just some ideas for you to think about.

Good luck...with both dd and your financial situation!
CONGRATS on your daughter making L3!!! I am also feeling the financial crunch, my DH is not getting any overtimes this past year which helped pay for our DD's gymnastics. Pre-team wasn't that bad and even L4 first year, but when our gym re-structured and re-planned assessment fees, they almost doubled! This year has been a struggle, and L5 hours are changing soon in a couple months and it will only gmean MORE money!

Honestly, if you want her to continue, I would start planning NOW! And, it's great that the friend is helping with some expenses but they will start to increase as your DD will move up thru the levels and compete. You may want to fill the friend in now too. I feel like I am always writting a check for the gym! I do know some moms who help out at the gym (rec classes, office, ect...) to help pay tuition. I don't know of any work-at-home programs that are really worth it except maybe babysitting and that money is under the table. Maybe you can get a PT job that has flexible hours? I know it hard when your DD loves it so much, that is why we keep trying to keep our DD in it. We can't imagine DD not doing gym. Good Luck!
Welcome back , glad you are here.I think the first step is to be put in touch with your gyms booster club. Many times competition fees can be fundraised and if you didn't have that big amount to worry about the rest might seem more doable. But it is an expensive sport and those 5 meet will include travel, admissions, food all the little things that add up so fast. These are very hard decisions to make, when my DD was younger, we didn't take vacations for a couple of years because finances. Luckily we have always been able to cover her costs, but I totally understand your worries.As you have probably already seen from other threads the fees continue to go up as your dd progresses, there is a post out there right now that could give you some idea as to what you may expect. Our yearly team fee is $750 and I know 2 families that are able to fundraise the whole amount, so it can be done.I was on the USAG website recently and I noticed that for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, enrollments have declined slightly, as families have felt the pinch of this economy. Many gyms are finding ways to help families out, I hope yours is one of those.Good luck with your talented DD.
I am a single mom and get no help from my dd's father so it has always been just my income.It can be very difficult .I would take a look at your finances and not count on the help from your friend see what you could possibly do.My dd does not get toys off any kind except on her b-day or xmas all of our clothes are consignment(you would be suprised what you can find at the thrift store) we go to the movies maybe 5x a year at the most if we are lucky food shopping is coupons and for sale items.Bottom line I try to do without alot so she can still do her gymnastics I do not know how I will afford it if she ever gets to optionals .And sometimes the kid just going to have to learn that the parents just cannot afford it .
Definitely check with your gym about tuition breaks or ways that you can possibly work to make some of the tuition. At our gym, some parents babysit the coaches' young children and receive credit on their tuition. Maybe something like that is available. There's no question but that gymnastics is expensive and only gets more so the further you get into it. Your tuition is actually quite a good deal, believe it or not. I know that's not much consolation in your situation. Definitely do check with your booster club too to see if there are fundraising opportunities to help pay for meets and team expenses. Usually these are available.

Finally, if it's really not do-able for you right now, consider staying in preteam for a bit longer. Your dd is very very young and has tons of time yet to get into competition. Level 3 is not even a required Level (we don't start competition til Level 4 in Virginia and some states start at Level 5). She Your circumstances may change in a year and your dd still will be only 6 years old.

Best of luck to you and your dd!

No advice, but sending some hugs. Everyone had some great ideas for helping find funds. Gymnastics is extremely expensive. I agree with Meg that if you can't do it right now, maybe keep her on pre-team for awhile longer. She is very young and still has plenty of time. I sometimes wish my DD hadn't found gymnastics at the age she did. For money reasons, other reasons as well.

Definitely talk to the gym owners about bartering. Maybe they need the bathrooms/common areas cleaned. Our gym SOOO needs to do this, but they don't. Our bathrooms are frequently out of paper towels and toilet paper. I wish they would let someone do it for tuition reduction. I know moms have asked, but no one has gotten to do it. You never know though! :)

Maybe if they know that you are struggling right now, she can train with the L3s and not compete. Though that is hard to explain to a kid as well, you would be amazed how much they really understand.

Good luck figuring this all out.
We have friends who know that their gymmies will never be elite or colleege gymnasts, but they love the sport and competing. So what these friends do is simply ask their family and friends to help "sponsor" their kids' gymnastics. A "warning" about sponsors tho'....they are a "no no" to anyone considering college gymnastics in the future.

we have other friends who's parents foot the bill for the grandkids extra-curricular activities. One set of grandparents do it 1 year, the other set the next and then they start over again. The things the grandparents pay for are: girl scouts, boy scouts, summer camp, musical instruments and music lessons, travel soccer team and gymnastics.
I'm very sorry to hear of your tough situation. The suggestions about talking with the gym are good ones. You might also see if they would work out some payment plan with you(if no work available). With tough economic times, I would think some gyms would rather have you pay although not all at once rather than no money coming in because the child has left.

As someone else suggested I would do a budget for dd and not include the friend's assistance since you mentioned she would be looking at things again in a few months. Yes, basic tuition would go up for L3. Then there is the cost of a team leo, warm ups(let everyone know you'd be open to buying used), meet fees and the associated costs of traveling to meets---gas, meals, possible hotel if early session and meet is far away, hair stuff----it adds up quickly!!

Don't know your family situation(other kids??) because you would have to weigh is it fair to siblings to scrape money together for 1 child. I think the suggestion of staying on pre-team for awhile might be good. It might not be ideal, but better than to move dd up to a team and find out in a few months you can't swing it and have to pull her out or put her back on the pre-team. If she never competes L3 or even L4 it won't ruin her gymnastics.

Hope things work out for all of the family!
Most people who have kids in gymnastics have felt the pinch at some point (I try not to begrudge my DD that if she weren't in Gym, I would not be driving my old clunker)

I would definitely talk to the gym about tuition breaks, booster club, etc (sometimes gyms hang banners on the walls of the gym, and you can sell ads to local businesses to raise funds) also ask if you might be able to do office work, or cleaning for part of the tuition (we have two moms that clean the gym to keep their kids in classes) I bet if you talk to the gym they will give you some good suggestions.

The suggestions the other parents have made may help, but in reality this is an extremely expensive sport probally one of the most expensive sports out there. I know where I live there are other options besides a private club such as local rec centers and YMCA's. I kind of wish I checked into these before my daughter got involved with the whole private gym competing USAG. I feel now she has been their and loves her gym and team that it would be very difficult to take it away. I have not had overtime and am currently looking for a second job to help pay for gym. I also agree that competing level 3 is probally unnecessary because it will just add to your expenses meets cost money in travel and then they sell stuff there and you also have to pay admission. I do not mean to sound negative but you are talking paying for level 3 being a struggle that is nothing compared to what you will be paying down the road. I pay over 200 dollars a month without competion fees which are close to another 1,000 and summer tutition is around another 1,000 and that was just for level 4.

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