If your son or daughter loves learning to dance, of course you want to cultivate that interest by enrolling them in dance lessons. But while the dance lessons themselves are not usually unbearably costly, the cost of participating in recitals can be overwhelming. The glitzy costumes, complete with jewelry and other accessories, can cost hundreds -- and in most cases, your child will only wear the costume for one recital!
Thankfully, the cost of participating in recitals does not have to break the bank if you are smart about it. You may need to reach out and collaborate with other parents or have some heart-to-heart chats with the dance instructor, but there are ways to save. Here's a look.
Look For Discount Jewelry
Jewelry can be one of the most expensive parts of a recital costume. A pair of pearl earrings, a diamond necklace, or a bangle bracelet can cost more than you'd pay for an entire outfit for yourself. To save money on jewelry, start making a habit of browsing discount jewelry sale sites. If you come across a piece that you think would look lovely for a dance recital costume, message a link to the item to the dance coach and the other parents. Emphasize what a great deal it is, and see if anyone wants to buy the jewelry ahead of time for the kids' next recital.
Chances are, you're not the only parent who is trying to stick to a budget, and the other parents will be glad you're doing research on things like discount jewelry earrings. You can even offer to order enough jewelry for the whole class and allow parents to pay you back. This way, everyone is guaranteed to have a matching set.
Make Some of Your Own Jewelry and Accessories
If you are at all crafty, another great way to save is to make some of your own jewelry and accessories. You can find individual gems, plain chains, and other basic jewelry pieces from many retailers online. Get together with some other craft parents, and spend a night making the jewelry for your kids' upcoming show.
Other accessories you can easily make at home include pretty belts, leg warmers, and even hats. Research patterns; you'll be surprised what you can find. The key here is to get other parents on board, since in most cases, the coach will want all of the kids to have matching outfits and accessories.
Order Secondhand Costumes -- And Be Okay With Mismatching Styles
If your child is at a smaller, less-prestigious dance school, you may consider talking to the coach to see whether they would be okay with the children in mismatched uniforms. It could become the school's signature: an eclectic mix of uniforms and apparel seen in each dance number. This change would make it easier for you and the other parents to shop for used costumes rather than having to all buy new. Finding enough of the same used costume for an entire class is often impossible.
If the dance coach is okay with this change, there are a few places you can start shopping for used costumes. Look on online auction sites, check local consignment stores, and contact the parents of older students at your child's dance school to see if they have any hand-me-downs. Since recital clothing is often only worn once, it is usually in great shape even when sold used.
Dance recital costumes do not have to leave you with an empty wallet. Follow the tips above to find more affordable jewelry and uniforms, and you'll have more cash left to send your child for additional lessons.