Cut Costs on Your Kids' Sports
With the country facing an obesity epidemic, parents everywhere are trying to get their children involved in as many sports as possible in order to keep them active. However, once you figure in league fees, uniforms, equipment, trophies and coaches’ gifts, you can easily spend several hundred dollars per kid per sport.
In fact, according to a TurboTax analysis, the average parent spends $670 per child per year on sports. Expenses are tight for many families and these expenses can actually deter parents from registering their children for sports. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your child gets plenty of exercise while keeping costs down.
Kids who are playing a sport for just a few months do not need the latest and greatest (and most expensive) equipment. If you opt to buy used gear, you can save big. Play it Again Sports offers gently used sporting equipment for low prices. Garage sales are also great places to find inexpensive items. You may even want to try Amazon or eBay. Amazon offers frequent sales and you can score big by bidding low on auction site eBay.
Some parents force their children to play every sport possible. Not only does this lead to burnout, but it is also very expensive. Playing three or more sports at once is too much of a time investment for both parents and children. Instead, invest your time wisely by allowing your children to choose one or two sports that they are interested in. They will have more time to practice their chosen sports and you will not waste money on fees and other expenses for multiple sports that your child will decide he or she wants to quit.
Volunteer Your Time
If you volunteer to coach your son’s baseball team or spend weekends working in the snack bar, you may be able to score a discount on league fees and other expenses. This, of course, varies by league and region, so ask before you sign up and find out you will get nothing in return for your time.
Seek Financial Aid
Many leagues offer some sort of discount or even a full scholarship for children who really want to play but come from a low-income family and cannot afford the cost. Check to see if this is the case for whatever sport your child wants to play.
If you search creatively, you will likely find inexpensive or even free alternatives to the $100+ fees you will likely pay for a season of soccer or Little League. The local YMCA may offer sports to children in the neighborhood. Set up a basketball hoop or some goals in the backyard and invite your child’s friends to come over and play. Maybe you can even gather family, friends and neighbors and organize sporting events of your own. Spend a Saturday at a local park and organize a soccer, basketball or football game. You will not have to spend a lot of money, you will not need any fancy equipment and best of all, your child will get to exercise and have fun – isn’t that what sports are about?