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Managing the high cost of high school
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They rented their son's bass, "since a halfway decent one would be about $6,000," Haskin said. Other music expenses piled high: replacement parts for instruments (for a bass that can be a whopping $100 per string), money to enter and attend competitions, uniforms for bands (orchestras usually require tuxedos and black dresses) and private lessons.

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The experts say
Combine some of the money-saving tactics described earlier. Mine for gold in kids who are leaving orchestra or band -- do they really still need that tuxedo or uniform? For girls, unless there is a certain style of dress they need, check consignment shops.

Many kids rent instruments, but good, used ones can also be found at online auctions such as eBay or in pawn shops. Make sure you check out sellers on auction sites before bidding on an instrument. And, unless you're music-savvy, take an experienced musician along to pawn shops to make sure you're buying something suitable and in good repair.

Look online for stores that sell strings, replacement parts and accessories. Need an instrument, but can't afford one at all? Check with the school guidance counselor. Sometimes organizations will help keep kids in the arts.

Miscellaneous school projects
You probably never thought you'd shell out $80 to $100 to buy materials for a school assignment, but lots of honors classes require students to complete complicated projects. It's hard to get around the cost, but you can do it if you put your head together with your teen. Scour the Internet for craft recipes and make your own modeling clay. A bucket of clay that costs $20 at the craft store can be made in your kitchen for pennies.

 
 
Next: "Graduation expenses can be out of this world."
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 RESOURCES
Community college: a stepping stone
Work more, get less free money?
Accepted at several colleges: Now what?
 TOP EDUCATION FINANCING STORIES
Video: Tax breaks for students
Tax breaks for students
Combine 529 plan with other credits
 

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