Here’s how to creatively fight high costs while your child plays.
1. Be choosy. Try one sport at a time per kid. Overloading kids’ schedules drains our energies and wallets.
2. Start simple. If your child is a beginner, choose sports with less expensive equipment like soccer and baseball; stay away from football or ice hockey. Why spend more money on a sport your child may play for one year?
3. Investigate the sport. If you think your child might change his mind about an expensive sport like ice hockey or football, attend a couple practices with him the year before and let him decide if he really wants to play.
5. Sell equipment. If equipment is in decent shape, sell at the places listed in #4
8. Rent Sports Equipment. Personal equipment should be new, but look for places that rent equipment like football shoulder pads or softball bats.
9. Buy last year’s model. If you know your kid will play a sport next year, buy new equipment at end-of-the-season sales.
10. Bring drinks. Drinks can cost $2 per bottle at a snackbar. Buy your own bottles at bulk prices or make drinks from powder, which costs under $10.
11. Pack a lunch. It’s cheaper and healthier. If you’re going to a tournament with other families, take turns providing a team meal.
12. Compare City vs. Club. When your kids are little, city or YMCA-sponsored programs will give them a chance to play and develop their skills, without a large cost.
13. When traveling, look for hotel discounts. As your kids become more serious about their sport, you may opt for travel ball. But it does not come cheap. If you have to stay in a hotel, look for group discounts or online deals. Some hotels have programs which earn you free stays. Look for hotels with free breakfasts and refrigerators in the room.
14. When traveling, try camping. Bring an RV or tent-trailer for weekend tournaments and camp near the ball field.
15. Carpool to practice. If practice is 5 miles away and you choose to drop off and pick up 2 hours later, you are driving 20 miles per practice. At 3 practices per week you will drive 240 miles per month. If your car gets 20 mpg with gas prices at $3.75, you will spend $45 per month on gas. Carpooling saves money and time!
As a coach’s wife for 27 years and a sports parent for 17, Janis Meredith writes a youth sports blog for sports parents to help them make sports a character building experience for their kids. Check out her blog jbmthinks.