Youth sports can be very expensive. Depending on the sport or sports your kids play, the money spent on sports equipment, uniforms, team fees and all the associated travel can easily cost a family $2,000-$5,000 per kid per year.
Follow the tips below to save money on youth sports
- Buy used equipment. Kids grow out of equipment before it’s barely used. Go to garage sales, Play it Again Sports, Craigslist or Ebay and find the equipment you need at a huge savings.
- Look for free equipment. There are several organizations that collect donated sports equipment and offer it to communities in need. Pitchinforbaseball.org and the US Soccer’s Passback programs are great examples.
- Sell your own used equipment. Sell the equipment your kid grew out of last year to fund the purchase of this year’s equipment. You can sell your equipment on Craigslist, Ebay or at Play It Again Sports.
- Buy last year’s model. Manufactures of sports equipment upgrade their products every year with the latest and greatest improvements. Often the minor improvements are more marketing and hype than actual advancements. If you prefer to buy new, opt for last year’s model and save.
- Earn shopper points by buying at the same store. Your growing athlete will be buying sports equipment season after season for years. If you prefer new equipment, buy all of it at a store with a shopper loyalty program. You will earn points that will save money for next season. Make sure you use the coupons you receive before they expire.
- Buy new equipment after the season ends. If you know your kid is going to play the same sport again the following year, buy any anticipated new equipment at the end of the season when that equipment goes on sale.
- Save money on travel. If your kid plays on a travel team, you know that a big chunk of money goes toward travel-related costs. Look for deep discounts on hotel accommodations at Priceline.com or Hotwire.com. Also, spend slightly more on a hotel that offers free breakfasts, refrigerators in the room and an outdoor grill to cook on. You will save a lot money by not eating in a restaurant every night.
- Choose recreational sports over select. Select sports clubs often have several levels of competitive play. The top talent plays on the top team and gets the best training. This can be worth the money. The lower competitive levels in a club may not be any better than local recreational leagues and therefore may not be worth the extra money. See the Differences between Select and Recreational Sports.
- Carpool. If several neighborhood kids are on your kid’s sports team, arrange a carpool with the other parents. If practice is 10 miles away and you are like many parents who drop off, go home and return to pick up your kid two hours later, you are driving 40 miles per practice. With two practices per week you will drive 320 miles per month. Given the high price of gas these days, you’ll spend more than $50 per month. That cost does not include oil or wear and tear on the car, which according to government estimates, is $.40 per mile. Cut costs by 50% by carpooling with one other teammate.