I always try to work within our bands budget trying to cut costs and financially work things so that no student has to pay to be in Band.
That being said, I work in a very poor community where $50 could break the budget for some people. The only thing our kids have to pay for is if they break an instrument due to neglect or stupidity. We also give 2 free reeds to Clarinets and Saxophones per 6 weeks. Anything above 2 we charge $5 simply to have them try to take care of their reeds
To be able to do that we tend to try to fix as many broken instruments as possible ourselves. Our Ag teacher is able and willing to solder our instrument joints if they come apart. If we need new instruments we hit pawn shops first and see if there are instruments we can buy cheap from there and refurbish. I one time bought a Buffet clarinet from a pawn shop for $50 (they didnt know what they had!) and refurbished it for $75. Boom! A $800 clarinet as good as new for $125
I am also lucky that we have good boosters who work hard to provide as much as they can and our school values the band so we have a pretty decent budget for our size (3A with about 55 in the HS Band and about 200 Beginners/JH Bands, $40,000 a year)....our administrators have a very great attitude of our students come first always so whatever we can do to provide what we can we will do it