Youth sports can sometimes lead to a scholarship for college and other times they are purely for recreation. Ultimately, there will be some sort of cost for every sport out there. Every sport requires some sort of equipment, even cross-country runners will need a nice pair of shoes. Many ways exist to avoid some of the costs depending on the sport and choice of club, school, or community teams. There are plenty of ways your kids can enjoy the benefits of playing sports without going broke or ignoring your retirement goals.
Here are a few ideas:
Many teams offer fundraising or volunteering opportunities to help with cost. If your athlete’s team does not, make the connections yourself. Have a team-wide garage sale, car wash, or silent auction and ask for donations from local businesses. If you do not have the time, ask a student that you know that could use the volunteering time. If your work schedule conflicts with fundraising needs, bring them into your co-workers and distribute at work.
Carpool and share lodging for practices/tournaments
Start a group email with other parents if you need rides for practices or to share a hotel room for tournaments. This is one of the most costly expenses to some sports teams and is an unexpected cost as the schedule for the season typically comes out after uniforms have been paid for and commitments have been made.
Borrow, swap, or buy used equipment
Another reason to start a group email would be to ask if any has any equipment that could be passed on to another athlete. This expense is mandatory in order to continue with the sport and other parents will definitely understand the need to cut costs. These things can also be shared on Facebook to your other family friends or local organizations.
Bring meals for all day tournaments
All day tournaments get expensive after admission and multiple meals a day at concessions. Bring a cooler for quick, easy, and cheap meals that will most likely be a healthier alternative.
Opt out of team costs by looking into recreational leagues
Your community’s Parks and Recreation Department or churches probably offer seasonal sports programs. Although coaches are usually volunteers, these leagues are considerably cheaper than the club route and provide an opportunity for anyone to try a sport.