With kids growing out of gear, physicals, and registration fees, the cost of keeping your kids active in sports can add up and be financially exhausting. We consulted mommy experts from all over the world to bring you the best tips to keep sports affordable.
Trade Up Your gear
Equipment can be one of the most expensive aspects of getting your kids involved in sports. Look for sporting goods shops that offer programs which allow you to “trade up” your used and outgrown gear in exchange for credit towards new or repurposed equipment. This is a great idea for bats and helmets!
If you know that your child is going to grow out of their bat or helmet within a season, don’t bother investing in the most expensive brand. Save your money for items that will get used for a much longer period, like a pair of gloves or a mouthguard.
“If you are on a travel team, designate a travel coordinator and book early, otherwise you have to either drive for several hours, or pay $450 and stay in a dump,” says SISU’s Marketing Coordinator and sports mom, Lisa Edwards. “The second you know about the tournament, start planning the logistics.”
Use Reusable Water Bottles
Save money and the environment by buying one good quality water bottle. Bottled water can be up to 10,000 times more expensive than tap water. If you spend $1 per 16 oz. water bottle, 1 gallon (128 oz.) will cost you $8! Over the course of the season that will add up to as much as $250 just to keep your kid well hydrated. Instead, buy a reusable water bottle and a bring a gallon water jug for refills.
If you spend a lot of your time and money being the family chauffeur, consider working with 2-3 other families on the team to arrange a carpool schedule. Not only will it give you more freedom with less stress, but it’s also a great way to stay connected with other parents.
Save with Parks and Recreation
Although most teams have great training for kids who are aspiring to play in high school and college, it can be very costly. If you’re searching for a simple team to get your child active, look into what your city’s parks and recreation department has to offer.
Label your stuff
When the entire team uses similar equipment, items are bound to get lost. Prevent spending money on replacement gear by labeling your kids’ belongings. Granted, kids can get pretty creative at losing things, despite your best efforts, but it doesn’t hurt to make strides towards recovering them.
Buy in Bulk
For non-perishable snack items, buy in bulk. Pull your resources together with other parents and buy snacks for the whole team. This will also help you keep the kids away from doughnut and bagel binging after the game.
In 2013 alone, 1.24 million kids were seen in the ER due to sports related injuries. While parents worry (or don’t worry) about aggressive play from the opposing team, most injuries occur during practice: wipe outs, stray balls, flying elbows. Compared to a hospital visit or a trip to the dentist, mouthguards and padding are a good investment in your child’s safety.
The bottom line? Don’t invest in expensive sporting equipment for your child until they become more committed to the sport. Remember why you got your kid involved with sports in the first place: teamwork, sportsmanship, responsibility, and FUN!