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Is it worth it?....opinions needed

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M23K's

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DD's having fun and doing well with the switch but I started thinking about the financial cost and I was blown away. I knew it was expensive because we've had to pay for it in the past but the new gym is 25 miles away and when I figured the cost of gas for a year I was shocked. I can't stay 4 hrs/3x a week so I drop her off, go home and then travel back to get her for a total of 100 miles. I calculated gas for 250 miles each week because I probably could stay most Saturdays to help on gas.

Here's what I came up with:

Tuition:
$210/mo....$2520/yr

Leos/Warm-ups/Etc:
$400/yr

Booster Fees:
$800/yr

Gas ($3.50/gal for 50 weeks):
$2575/yr

Grand Total:
$6295/yr

That comes to an average of about $525/mo!!! That's crazy!!! That doesn't even include meets where we we have to get a hotel room.

Could we swing it? Yes Is it wise? I'm not so sure
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
Tough call, and sadly, not one anybody else can make for you. Here are some things to think about.

Does your child have other interests? Can you keep her busy and happy in other activities or at another, closer gym.

What else would you do with the money? We probably would have put the gym money into other activities for the kids and more/better vacations. Given that we wouldn't have used it for any significant lifestyle changes, we decided gym was worth it. However, with dd1 approaching driving age, we did tell her in no uncertain terms that there would be NO MONEY for a third car while she stayed in gym. It wasn't a threat or an enticement to get her to quit. It was just a financial reality.

What benefits do you see in remaining in the gym? There are many, but could you get the same benefits eslewhere?

How important is your time? You'll be spending a lot of time in the car and sitting at the gym. Should/Could you be spending the time with your other children? working?

At what point can't you afford it? If gas goes back down, it probably won't stay down long.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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Gymnastics, like most sports, is expensive. You have to weigh up the negatives and positives of participation, both financially and family wise.

We too drive a lot for gym, actually we drive a lot for everything. We drive to the town where or gym is at least 10 times a week, the school is in the same town. It is at least a 35 minute drive one way. Hubby works 90 minutes away from home and stays in town one night a week. Nearest groceries are 20 minutes away right next to the nearest gas station!

Our gym fees are also high, compared to city clubs, as we are in a small gym with high running costs. Also the price of country living. But the trade of is I know every girl on team and their parents, every coach knows every kids. One big happy bilingual family.

The girls do sleepaway gym camp and also summer training at their gym, add to that comp leo's and warm ups, hotels and meals for comps. Plus training suits, also never ending physio for oldest girl, ice packs, supports, grips, wrist bands, hair elastics (those just dissapear like socks in a washer!)

Girls compete in two different systems, therefore meets just about every weekend, most of them very early and very far away, this means a ton more of gas, hotels, meals, ice cream afterwords when we don't get anything:). Not to mention that we are a family divided, physically that is, emotionally we make it work, but Dad stays home with whatever kids are there and I go off to the meets.

My girls don't even train a lot (8-12 hours a week), but we do live in the country and therefore everything is a trade off.

Only you can decide if gym is worth the cost, financially and emtotionally.

For us, gym has given our girls a great set of friends, some awesome adult/teen role models, something to do when it is -40 for the thrid week in a row!!!:eek: They have learned to be organised, determined and self disciplined. They love gym, we love what it gives them in terms of health, strength, self esteem and happiness.

It is a huge amount of money, in fact I try not to work out how much. After 8 years of gymnastics I would only stop for financial reasons if we simply had no other choice.

What else would she do if she didn't have gym? For us their are few choices, amybe you have less expensive alternatives, but all activities tend to cost about the same hourly, really the only thing you could save on is gas money, if you could find an activity close to home that would give her some of the same benefits that gym does.

Parenting and balancing family life is often a real challenge, good luck with this one. I feel for you and I totally empathize. My whole family could take a lovely vacation on our yearly gymnastics expenditure!:rolleyes:
 
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nettyinpa

Guest
I try not to think about the cost of gymnastics. I think I'd cry if I did!

Do you have to drive back home every time? Are there errands you could run while she's in the gym? Or work you could do while waiting? Have you looked into the possiblity of carpooling with another gymnast? That's what I do in the summer. I drop dd off at her teammate's house and she goes to the gym from there. I then pick her up in the afternoon at their house. In turn, we've had her sleep-over at our house a lot and I also take her home from practice during the school year.

Just a suggestion. If she wasn't in gymnastics, she'd probably be doing a different sport or activity that would cost you a lot, too. Maybe not as much as gym, but, nothing is cheap anymore! ;) Good luck!
 
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melmonette

Active Member
Aug 16, 2007
636
omaha, ne
I try not to think about gymnastics costs either... However, I was near the baby section at Sams the other day and well diapers are like 45 bucks a box... I am like geezzz.. I always like to say if we still had babies we would be forking that money out in diapers that we just throw in the trash. At least with channeling the diaper money to sports, they get something out of it. I know it is like comparing apple to oranges but makes sense in a way... If they were babies, it would be all the baby stuff that costs 1000s a year and now it is sports...
Gas on the other hand is making me sick... I seriously cannot take another unneccessary 10 cent weekly per gallon increase. Our gas prices have gone up from 3.17 two weeks ago to 3.45 now and I am sure that will be 3.55 next week. When is it going to stop... It makes me wish, we had horses and wagons, lol.
 
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M23K's

Guest
Thank you for the input. The shock had started to wear off a liitle bit then yesterday afternoon gas went up to #3.70/gal. Luckily I had filled my car up earlier in the day but even then it was $81 (my gas light was on).

My husband and I had a long talk about it last night. 6 months ago, when we decided to let her work back up to level 5, he was the one concerned about money but he's let all that go now and feels like if that's what his baby wants, that's what his baby's going to get. So gym it is!!

A major deciding factor was that last year when she quit, it was because she was 'beat down' emotionally. We would love for her to have a positive experience this year and if she decides to quit after this season we want it to be because she doesn't want to do it anymore, not because of a negative gym situation.

Thanks again!!
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
Saw gas prices shoot up again and thought of your post.

Ordinarily, when it comes to my kids' activities, I'm a "right now" kind of gal (don't plan beyond this season). However, another thing to consider is the future. This sport never gets less expensive. The next level brings a tuition increase, another day of practice with another trip to the gym, meets that are further away (by optionals, you should plan on a "fly" meet every year).

If you see yourself not being able to stomach the increases at some point, you may want to consider activity shopping now. I'd have hated to pull my kids out right before optionals--that's just when they start to get good. Yes, other activities cost money, too, but this one is extra pricey.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
I try not to think about the overall cost either. Of course my hubby is at a car dealership as I type looking into trading our suv in for a little car that gets better mileage. Last year I have my dd1 in gymnastics and dd2 was doing competition cheerleading which is just as expensive. When dd2 decided not to cheer anymore and play soccer again I definitely was doing happy dances.

Is the gymnastics worth it? For my dd, I think it is. I look at what it has given her in terms of confidence, self discipline, etc - and you can't put a price tag on that (jeez that sounds like one of those commercials, lol).
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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M23K--Have you checked with the gym about a part time job? I know many gyms hire parents to work the desk, help set up birthday parties etc. in exchange for a decrease in tuition. Since she's there for 4 hours, you might be able to work the desk etc. while dd is practicing.

I don't think there are any simple answers. When we switched gyms, we more than doubled our drive time(still not horrible), but our current gym has a lower tuition(btw--$210 is pretty low) and the booster club pays for all travel/meets etc. for gymmie as long as we work bingo 1 night/month. We also don't have to buy warm ups. The booster club buys them and we give them a $25 cleaning fee when they are checked out. If they are in good shape when returned then the check is torn up.

We have 1 girl who has about a 75 min drive each way. Her mom usually stays and has an ed background. Asked the gym if she could offer some tutoring nights she is there and they said ok. You might just want to think of something to do to offset all those drives back/forth. Not only does it eat up gas, but puts extra wear/tear on the car.
 

Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
I know the cost of gas is ridiculous, fortuantly my daughters level meet season is over. Before when gas was only a little over $3.00 we were traveling 3 hours to meets so it was around $100.00 just in gas. I think you either have to makeup your mind if you are going to have your daughter compete in a private gym it's going to be expensive and you might have to make sacrifices for this. Luckily for me their is a nursing shortages so I frequently pick up overtime when I can. I would feel terrible if I had to have my daughter quit due to finances but she could do gymnastics at the YMCA or the city program. I am sure in time she would adjust and forgive me. Alot of my friends outside of gymnastics think the cost is crazy but as long as my daughter is happy and I can afford it I will let her continue.
 

kristilyn73

Active Member
Jan 17, 2008
1,326
Minnesota
I think this topic is coming up in gymnasts homes across the country. Times are getting tough, everywhere and I have had this conversation with several parents at my gym too...

When the economy slows most of us are forced to re examine our spending. And I dont know about all of you but my bank account doesnt have tens of thousands of dollars in it!

DD is an optional gymnast, is I were to pull her out now.. it would be devistating.

At the same time, I have a second DD who is a competitive Dancer. It is also not fair to spend all my money on DD1's Gymnastics and then tell DD2 she cannot do dance.

So we prioritized our spending.. and found that Extra Curricular activities were a necessity. Therefore, we need to cut back in different ways, dinners out are the first to go.:( (too bad for me.. More cooking). No frivilous leotards or shopping trips... makes those Meets a little tough.

Bottled Water is another way to cut back. With all this talk of gas prices, the prices of a gallon of bottled water is ridiclous. If we make small changes, the money for the gym is there...

Gym Law Mom had a good idea - I actually started coaching when DD made team. I got some great training and now am able to coach girls up through Level 6. I used to get a discount on my tuition but the accountant didnt like that very much. So now I just get a paycheck. Even though I only work 2 hours a week, that $35 pay check every 2 weeks pays for DD's Dance tuition.

We have a 3 year old Boy... and I always joke - DS is going to do something that doesnt involved, Uniforms, costumes, accessories, grips, shoes, Coaches fees, travel fees, etc. How does chess team sound?????
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
Chess sounds nice and cheap, lol - my ds decided he just loves hockey :eek: What is it with my kids inability to pick a cheap sport !!!!
 
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Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
Chess sounds nice and cheap, lol - my ds decided he just loves hockey :eek: What is it with my kids inability to pick a cheap sport !!!!

Oh, no! I've heard hockey is worse than gym. Go get the seeds and plant that money tree . . . now.

Kristilyn, you make a good point about giving all of our children more or less equal resources.
 

kristilyn73

Active Member
Jan 17, 2008
1,326
Minnesota
Flippy - We live in Hockey State USA - Minnesota!! And the one thing my DH and I have decided, is that DS will NOT Play hockey. I think we are the only Minnesotans that have said that.

But to be honest, I will put any hockey parent dollar for dollar and hour for hour of practice.
 
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Billy

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There is a caveat to the equal resources policy in our house. We spend what we need to for DD's gymnastics because she is very dedicated and works very hard. In contrast, our oldest DS has "tried" a lot of things but puts no effort into any of them. Thus, we stopped paying for things. Piano, for example, was costing us $100 per month and he practiced only when forced to and even then, he only practiced what he wanted to, not what his teacher told him to. We can't afford that much money for him to go hang out with his teacher once a week, and we told him so. He has also tried hip-hop dance, choir and karate but was enthusiastic about none of it. At some point, we had to stop throwing money away.
 

Blackie6

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Mar 1, 2007
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I ask myself this question ...oh about a gazillion times a week. My DD completed her first year as a level 4 and will do another L4 season and right into L5 probably (I say probably because that is the plan for a couple of us w/younger DD's who opted to hang back) but I hate to think that far ahead. I am not sure how the experienced gym moms feel, but I suppose I feel more frustrated becasue all I can see my DD do since Jan (end of states) is TOPS conditioning and some skills. No more competitons, no more routines and frankly maybe it's because I have nothing to "watch" right now it seems like she has not improved much since last year, LOL. Yes, the coach assures me she is but still I would like to feel that she is moving along at a normal pace since so many others from her team (who moved into L5) seem to be so much more talented. I guess it would help me justify that huge expense that will probably go up in about 6 months when she will start to train L5 too. Yes, I don't mind the expense for something my daughter loves, but that idea creeps into my head all the time about what I could use that tuition money for each and every month. Not only tuition, but all those other things on your list that add up to $$$$ every year. I try to take it in baby steps. I would like to see better scores in Sept for her 2nd L4 season and also see if she can tackle some of those harder skills expected in L5. If she continues to like it, the money is there even if it means working more hours. In another year she will be 8 and maybe can also decided for herself where she wants to go with gymnastics. If she decided not, thats fine too because I wonder everyday how I got suckered into this sport so quickly since it is so expensive. But I have 2 boys too (aged 9 & 12) who do baseball, regular season, fall ball, all-stars.... and the cost for uniforms, pitching lessons, batting cages, sports camps, gas to get to tournaments, ect...all adds up too!

My advice to you is do what I do, baby steps...take it one step at a time. Things may change down the road and you may have to decide whether to continue or not, but as long as she likes it and you can afford it try not to look at it as one huge expense. Try to see all the other benefits being in gymnastics has to offer.
 

Bay Valley

Member
Jan 2, 2008
104
Bay City, MI
I am paying $290 a month and live 1 hr 20 min away. DD will probally going higher level which is $350 a moth and another day of training. I do have carpool with 2 others at 5 days week will help. They will be leaving in 2 years for college and I dread this thought. With gas at $3.75 a gallon here it is getting harder o everyone. Our booster club is going to have some major fundraising to help with the costs for everyone.
 
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Billy

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I am paying $290 a month and live 1 hr 20 min away.
Wow, I must be very spoiled if your costs are typical. I drive 35 minutes each way and pay $165 per month (level 4, 11 hours per week). That doesn't include competition costs of about $1200 but that's for the entire year so it's actually about $100 per month, still less than your $290.
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
I ask myself this question ...oh about a gazillion times a week. My DD completed her first year as a level 4 and will do another L4 season and right into L5 probably. . . . I am not sure how the experienced gym moms feel, but I suppose I feel more frustrated becasue all I can see my DD do since Jan (end of states) is TOPS conditioning and some skills. No more competitons, no more routines and frankly maybe it's because I have nothing to "watch" right now it seems like she has not improved much since last year, LOL. Yes, the coach assures me she is but still I would like to feel that she is moving along at a normal pace since so many others from her team (who moved into L5) seem to be so much more talented. I guess it would help me justify that huge expense that will probably go up in about 6 months when she will start to train L5 too.
I know the feeling you're describing exactly, Blackie. Funny story. My dd2 had a pretty good lvl 4 season. Our head coach wanted to move her up to optionals for the next year. I said no, but did let her score out of 5. That first lvl 6 season, she came in last place at just about every single meet. She repeated lvl 6 (duh!). She did better the second time, but still left plenty of meets, including state, with no medals. I did tell that kid there were considerably cheaper ways to have fun. Wouldn't she like to try martial arts or something? Nope. She didn't care if she was winning or losing. (Old mom can pick up a lesson or two from the kids now and again.)

She did lvl 7 this year. You know, of course, that every level gets tougher because those who stay in from year to year are likely to be your better gymnasts. So, I went to the first meet hoping she'd get a medal. Um . . . dd2 won floor, beam, and AA! Holy cow. WHERE did that come from? She had a "no fall" meet season. Her bar scores were averaging about 9.5. She won the vault title at state. Who is this kid?

When you watch your dd, especially if you watch every day, you may not see improvement.

Those other little girls who seem so talented as compulsory gymnasts, even those who win all the time, do not necessarily become the best optionals. I'm sure I wasn't the only one wondering what hole dd2 crawled out of.

Half the girls in at level 4 are out by level 6. Ninety percent are out by level 10. If repeating the level gives your daughter a good year and fosters the desire to stay in the sport, so much the better. Even if she doesn't pick up a bunch of new skills this year, she may well outlast those kids who seem so talented today.

Try not to get discouraged because you don't see much progess right now or because you see former teammates moving ahead faster. This sport really is about survival, and the girls who move slow and steady seem to be the ones who can stay in long-term.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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Flippy - We live in Hockey State USA - Minnesota!! And the one thing my DH and I have decided, is that DS will NOT Play hockey. I think we are the only Minnesotans that have said that.

But to be honest, I will put any hockey parent dollar for dollar and hour for hour of practice.
Right now the hockey isn't too bad b/c he is only 6 - of course we did just get an email for evaluations for a more intense travel league - I couldn't hit that delete button fast enough, lol. Maybe in another year or two if he still wants to play I'd let him try out - but not yet. It's bad enough that when I was filling out the direct deposit form at work I was thinking 'wouldn't it be easier to just have it deposited straight into my dd's gym account'.
 
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