Tuesday, October 2, 2012

When Unemployed, Expensive Frivolities Must Go On The Waiting List

Dear Tazi:

My Daughter is six years old and wants to take cheerleading lessons like all of her friends.  I have nothing against cheerleading except that the cost is out of my league.  I am a single Mom and am currently unemployed, so every dollar counts!  Cheerleading lessons are $250 for an eight week session, plus the cost of the uniform, which is an additional $65. 

I have tried to tell my little girl that I cannot afford to give her cheerleading lessons, but she responded that I should ask Santa to bring her an early Christmas gift, and if he can’t do that than to give her the gift of cheerleading lessons for the Winter Session instead.  I do not wish to spoil my daughter’s belief in Santa while she is still so young, but how else will I explain to her why she is not going to be getting cheerleading lessons?  She has her little heart set on taking them, and nothing I say will make her see that cheerleading lessons are not in her future.

I have asked my friends and family for advice, but they all tell me the same thing: start cutting back where I can and hope that I find a job soon that pays for my daughters cheerleading lessons.  Tazi, I have tried to cut back by quitting smoking – I have even switched to the generic brand – but my cigarettes are how I relax.  I have already given up Starbucks coffee and am making coffee at home and I cancelled my Netflix subscription.  I don’t think I have anywhere else to cut without affecting our quality of life.  Do you have any suggestions how I can find the money to pay for my child’s cheerleading lessons?

Losing Cheer

Dear Losing Cheer:

Your daughter seems to put an awful lot of faith in Santa to bring her everything she wants – even if it means delivering early.  Is this something she has learned from past experience or is this hopeful attitude something new?  If you have raised your daughter to expect receipt of everything she asks for, I think it is time that she learns what disappointment feels like. 

You are currently out of work and as you say, “every dollar counts”.  Why would you want to spend over $300 on cheerleading lessons?  Furthermore, why does your daughter need a uniform if she is only taking lessons and is not part of a squad?  Broken down by lesson, it comes to around $30 each.  Unless she is receiving private lessons from an NFL cheerleader, I cannot fathom paying so much!  There are more affordable ways to provide cheerleading lessons than through whatever organization is offering them for the price you quoted.  I am certain that somewhere in your town there is an enterprising young cheerleader who would be happy to make a couple of extra dollars by teaching your daughter the basics of cheerleading.  If not, your town might offer them on a sliding payment scale as a part of an after-school program.  I suggest you look into all of your options before buckling to your child’s demands or disappointing her.  There needs to be a middle ground somewhere, even if it means putting off cheerleading lessons until you are fully employed.

Should you decide to further cut your expenses, quitting smoking would be a great starting point.  There should be some kind of “stop smoking” support group in your area; if you need help finding one, the American Lung Association can assist you; there are much healthier – and cheaper – way to relax than lighting a cigarette.  I suggest yoga.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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