[EBM] The Dance Recital

“Perhaps I’m just feeling surprised and beat up as line-item after line-item shows up for this thing like a mechanic calling throughout the day to tell you he found another thing wrong with the car.”

The Wife has taken dance classes since she was two and danced professionally into her twenties. I, on the other hand, had almost no paid hobbies growing up. With those differences, it should probably be no surprise that we need an Emergency Budget Meeting about the kids’ upcoming dance recital.

To The Wife it is expected that we budget for costumes and recital tickets and, hey, I’m cool with that. My kids rocking a stage? Awesome. It’s all the other things that are starting to freak me out; maybe I need some perspective from other parents.

It’s not just costumes and tickets, honey.

What caught me off guard at first was the video. You can’t tape your kids yourself, but you are welcome to pay for the video the studio shoots for you. I should have remembered this one, we ran into it two years ago. I don’t mind paying for quality, but listen, they pan all over the place and you’re lucky if you can spot your own kids in that mess.

Next, photos. Two 5x7s of your little dancer and a group shot. Hmm. Can’t I just pull out our point-and-shoot for free? Judging by the video policy, maybe not.

Commemorative t-shirts! What the hell? I know, I’m being a caveman here, but really? The Wife (who I hope chimes in) says this is the way the studio raises money and she’s happy to support them. My feeling is I support them every month when I pay the $35 per child tuition plus the annual sign up fee.

Lastly, dinner. The Wife totally caved on this one and agreed to come home for a nice dinner instead of taking the family out after the recital. I should probably do the cooking, I’m thinking, to make up for being a tightwad.

I wanna blow $300 too.

So there you have it. Not counting the monthly tuition to class, this recital thing is going to dent the budget by about $300 and last night’s Emergency Budget Meeting remains unfinished.

Listen, I love my kids. I adore them. Perhaps I’m just feeling surprised and beat up as line-item after line-item shows up for this thing like a mechanic calling throughout the day to tell you he found another thing wrong with the car.

The great part of an EBM is that The Wife and I can communicate about this stuff. Especially since any kind of money talk used to completely scare the poop out of her. She’s ready and willing to bring this stuff up and talk about it openly; that’s what budgeting together does for a family. Thanks, Dave Ramsey.

And the truth is, I love watching her dance.

the Dad

11 Responses to this post.

  1. Kellie's Gravatar

    Posted by Kellie on 08/04/10 at 5:51 am

    Oh… I feel your pain! I hate it when our kids are doing organized activities because STARTING them is cheap. Only $45 to play a whole season of rec baseball. Oh wait, then there is Fun Day… pictures, food drive, cake walk, snow cones, etc. Then coaches gifts, snack fee, end of season trophies and party… UGH! Oh… and they’ve outgrown their equipment from last year… so new cleats, gloves, etc. Oh, oh… and then the birthday parties for all the kids on the team that my kids don’t know well and probably won’t see after the season ends! Yup… I totally feel your pain!!!

    Personally, we skip the t-shirts and the professional photos. The only photo I get for baseball are really cool “trading cards” that look like real ball players with all their stats. They are only $8. I take recital pictures out in front of our house on the way to the recital :) No 5 x 7 unless I print them :) I love candid photos of the team better anyway.
    One other tip for your budget… remember to get your girls flowers for after the recital! (I didn’t know about this for the first one, I felt terrible!)
    After your home cooked dinner… make them a $1 boxed cake to celebrate!

  2. the Dad's Gravatar

    Posted by the Dad on 08/04/10 at 6:03 am

    Thanks for commiserating, Kellie! So, what’s a $1 boxed cake??

  3. Maggie's Gravatar

    Posted by Maggie on 08/04/10 at 8:14 am

    IN my case it is sports – football,baseball, soccer, wrestling, basketball – Oh the team goes out to eat after football games. Dad decided the kids need their own baseball bat, catcher’s gear (ok, when Dad started coaching #2, #1′s catching gear was in much better shape than the team stuff.

    For pictures I alway go for the Memory mate – team and one individual. Last spring’s soccer team, we were able to purchase the digital rights to the individual picture, which I did gladly, buy one copy and the digital rights to assist the photographer to make a little bit of money and scan it in and print/send it everywhere.

  4. Wendy's Gravatar

    Posted by Wendy on 08/04/10 at 8:49 am

    I agree with you, Dad. Yes, the kids should be able to have their hobbies. But, the no video / no photo policy is bull, in my not so humble opinion. And the T shirts – oh come on (a bit over the top)?!?!?
    I am all for supporting the arts / academy’s – also agree with you that you are doing so by paying tuition and fees. We pay about double for Chloe’s dance lessons, and both kids take swim lessons, so I totally feel your pain.

    Hugs to all,

  5. the Dad's Gravatar

    Posted by the Dad on 08/04/10 at 10:11 am

    I like your “not so humble opinion”!

    It’s hard because I know this is an important part of The Wife’s past and probably the happiest part of her childhood. I want the kids to have the love and spark that their mom does too.

  6. Sharon's Gravatar

    Posted by Sharon on 08/04/10 at 10:23 am

    I’m writing this from YEARS of experience and wasteful spending….

    The DO’s and DON’T's for your dilemma:

    DO take your own photos of your precious daughters at home, in a nice location. You can blow them up into 5X7′s on Snapfish, or other internet photo site. You will capture them in their costume, and together. And, you are not going to care about all the other dance students in the photo….

    DON’T purchase the video. (Big waste of money and space in your home…you won’t watch it.)

    DON’T buy the T-shirts. (They have the costumes to commemorate the occasion) How about donating $10.00 to the studio instead? They’ll make more money that way, and it’s a tax deduction for you.

    DO purchase one rose for each daughter to give to them after the recital! Or better yet, purchase a dried flower and a vase, and after each recital, concert or special event you can add a flower to the vase. After many years they should have a beautiful bouquet, and you will be only on the hook for one flower each time!

    DON’T go out to dinner, your cherubs will be tired. DO take them for an ice cream cone …much better results.

    Just so you know, there will be many, many other special events. I’m about to give my daughter her last big event (from us)…her wedding…Now there’s an expense that can get out of control….. good grief!


  7. Tutu's Gravatar

    Posted by Tutu on 08/04/10 at 12:10 pm

    what a GREAT subject! My very patient husband sat through years of recitals of his wife who discovered Tap Dancing at age 50!!! We now have a drawer full of Videos that we have NEVER watched – should I repeat that? Never. Now I know, it’s probably a lot more painful to watch a 50 year old tap dancing woman than 5 year old adorable little girls, but still!
    The other wonderful thing this situation gives you all, is the chance to demonstrate that you don’t have to get all the “stuff” to make the event memorable.
    Loved reading all the comments – so many great ideas.
    By the way, the cost of my costumes from my tap dancing “career” were horrendous – wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, though – it was great, great fun! Dancing to Chorus Line was a life long dream of mine.

  8. Mysti's Gravatar

    Posted by Mysti on 08/04/10 at 3:37 pm

    I think that schools (even extra curricular) have taken privacy a little too far. Not letting you tape…making you buy their tape….too far.

    I am not a dance mom, so my first thought was WHAAAAATTTT? I think beyond classes and costumes, the rest is gravy. And would you be doing it for your girls, or for yourselves? Think about it…..if your parents died and you were cleaning out their house, and you found a t-shirt they bought….would you keep it?\

    Also, if you do it for this recital….won’t you be setting a standard? Then you have to do it for ALL of the recitals?

    I love the idea of the one rose per girl, and making a bouquet over time. Very sweet.

  9. Kellie's Gravatar

    Posted by Kellie on 08/06/10 at 5:32 am

    ~~~ The $1 boxed cake. I mean buy a cake mix and make it together. Let them frost and put sprinkles on it! You’ll make fun cooking memories and have the wonderful cake to look forward to when you get home from the recital :)

  10. the Dad's Gravatar

    Posted by the Dad on 08/06/10 at 6:44 am

    Ah! Got it! Thanks, Kellie.

  11. Kelly's Gravatar

    Posted by Kelly on 10/07/10 at 7:35 am

    I am in the same boat and no way in heck would I pay for pictures, t-shirts, or the video. (I am the type who would sneak my video camera in anyway, LOL). The recital fee and tutu costs are exhorbitant enough. Just do the minimum, and you’ll be fine. Wouldn’t you rather send all that money in to your credit cards? Also you can get flowers really cheap at Walmart or the grocery store. I wouldn’t skip the flowers because all the other little girls get them and you don’t want her to be left out. My daughter’s ballet is $48/month (only 4 lessons, bah), and it’s an $88 recital fee, about the same cost for the costume…did I mention she’s only THREE!?

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