Dad Who's 'Drowning In Debt' Wants To Cut Off His Daughter From Her $600 Monthly Gymnastics Program

Should his daughter be punished because he mismanaged his money?

girl doing a split cottonbro studio / Pexels 

Having kids is inevitably expensive, from the rising cost of childcare to ensuring their basic needs are met. 

Another factor affecting a parent’s income is the cost of after-school activities, which could be viewed as a lower-level necessity, providing kids with social interaction and building skills that supplement their education. 

A dad who’s ‘drowning in debt’ wants to tell his daughter to quit her $600-per-month gymnastics program.

The dad to three kids wrote into the r/Money subreddit, wondering what to do about this particularly expensive activity. 


He described his financial situation, explaining that he makes $87,000 a year at “a good job,” but he’s still “drowning in debt.”

man paying bills with credit card AleksandarNakic / Canva Pro

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While he didn’t get into details, he shared that he has a $750 mortgage and a second mortgage of $500. He used a $40,000 home equity loan to pay off his credit card debt, then “proceeded to rack up an additional 40k in credit card debt on top of that.”

He also has a $500 car payment for his wife’s car. He noted that his mortgage will increase by $750 after his tenant, his in-law, retires. 



“The next largest expense is the one that kills me the most,” he said. “My oldest daughter’s after-school activity cost me $600 a month, plus travel costs during competition season.”


“She enjoys it. I just can’t afford it,” he continued. 

The dad hates the idea of telling his daughter he can’t afford for her to do gymnastics, but he can’t see another option. 

He noted that his wife would “hate [him] for it too because she doesn’t seem to care that we come up short on the bills every single month because of this.”

The comments the dad received were of the tough love variation, as most people told him he had to get his own spending under control, instead of penalizing his daughter. 

little girl doing gymnastics travnikovstudio / Canva Pro


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The dad came to the comments section to provide additional context to his financial woes, acknowledging, “ I spend more than I make.”

He mentioned his extra expenses, having spent $11,000 on a trip to Disney and “a few thousand on a down payment for the car.”

One person told him the brutal truth: "You don’t make enough money to spend like you do. Full stop.”



Another person noted that the credit card debt should be his main focus, not his daughter’s activities. 


“Put together a budget that prioritizes debt paydown,” a different person recommended. “Your wife needs to be included in the creation and have a voice in the solutions. Stop the bleeding and pay that down with your current income level.”

“This is not an issue of gymnastics,” someone else said. “You have significant consumer debt liabilities (credit card and vehicle loans), make a modest salary (sounds like single income), and on top of that, gymnastics is expensive.”

“Your daughter's activity has very little to do with your financial trouble,” one person commented. “If you do tell her she can't do it ... Don't lie and say it's because it's too expensive. Tell her the truth —  that you blew the money on less important stuff.”

young girl on balance beam Helgy / Canva Pro


The dad edited his original post, noting that his problem “goes deeper than my daughter’s gymnastics,” yet he didn’t share how he planned to tackle that problem, which is, of course, his prerogative to keep to himself.

Often, money issues aren’t actually about the money itself. They’re about the behaviors that we have around money and how we feel about our finances and our lives. 

All people should be granted grace for making mistakes, including financial ones, which carry a heavy amount of shame. 


While the dad might feel like his only option is to cancel gymnastics, it seems vaguely unjust that his daughter should be denied her favorite activity due to her parent’s actions. 

What’s clear is that the dad should re-examine how he navigates his finances, which he can hopefully do in a way that doesn’t harm his daughter’s dreams.    

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.