How to Handle the High Costs of Youth Athletics
It’s no secret that having a child (or more than one) participate in youth sports can get expensive. From equipment to team fees, to travel expenses and everything in between, the costs really start to add up. So, as a parent, how can you deal with the rising costs without disappointing your child?
Choosing the Sport
When it comes down to it, the sport(s) your child plays will heavily affect the costs. That’s obvious. If he/she wants to play hockey, all that equipment is very pricey. But, maybe the child is into soccer, and simply because of having less gear, the costs may not be as high.
However, no parent wants to tell their kid they can’t play a certain sport because of money. One way to help this issue is only choosing one sport per season. Whether a child plays one sport or multiple, limiting them to one per season may help keep costs down. I am a huge supporter of playing multiple sports as a youth, but that is doable with only concentrating on one per season.
Like I mentioned, equipment carries a big burden in terms of costs for youth athletes. Your child may want the newest cleats or the latest hockey stick, but that’s not always feasible. One piece of advice is to buy used equipment. Whether from friends or an actual local retailer, buying used equipment can tremendously cut down costs. Sometimes used equipment can be in great condition and was only used for one season.
Don’t be afraid to ask around between relatives, friends, and neighbors either. Especially if you know people who have other kids playing sports that are a little bigger or older than your child. Kids grow out of equipment in the blink of an eye. Capitalize on who you know and ask if they have old equipment. I’ve lost count the number of times I have passed equipment on to cousins, nephews, neighbors, etc.
Simply setting a budget or being aware of the costs and tracking them either season can greatly help in managing the high costs of youth athletics. Setting a budget and being aware of all the costs involved will help prepare you as a parent and make it easier as your child moves season to season.
Have you thought about fundraising to help offset some of these costs? No, I don’t mean crowdsourcing on Facebook. Personalized platforms, like SportCoups, that allow individual athletes, or their parents, to fundraise for their own sports-related needs. That goes back to the idea of asking friends, family, and neighbors for equipment. But, if they don’t have the equipment, you can ask for a small donation to help.
Yes, youth athletics are expensive. But, there are ways, more than what I’ve said here, to help handle the high costs. Consider some of these options as you raise kids through youth sports.
If you have some of your own ideas, feel free to share!