Extracurricular activities are important for kids growing up, but they shouldn’t put parents into debt.
Every parent wants to see their children get involved and learn valuable life lessons from sports, music lessons, or another extracurricular activity. We know that these activities can help kids build communication skills, learn to work on a team, and set them up for a more physically active, healthy lifestyle -- but these activities can be costly.
So, let’s take a look at what we’ll discuss in this article to keep you from going broke while your kids participate in sports:
The Surprising Stats About Debt and Sports
Parents everywhere want their kids to get involved in sports and be the best that they can. That often leads them to spend a good bit of money on their child’s sport, or sports, of choice. With the cost of registration, uniforms, equipment, extra practice, and travel, these costs can start to add up quickly.
Here are a few of the surprising stats around how much parents are spending on sports for their kids and how it is putting many parents into debt.
Why are parents letting their child’s sports put them into debt? Because 81 percent of parents believe that their child will eventually make money or have a career in their respective sport. But in reality, only a small portion of people make their hobby an actual career.
If you look at students in middle and high school, it’s been shown that 18 percent don’t participate in any activities -- a number that is even smaller in lower-income families. Many kids are held back from learning the skills and getting physical activity because of these high costs, but how high are they really?
Many kids who are in middle school or high school miss out on being apart of a team and making new friends through sports because their parents can’t afford it.
Understanding the Average Cost of Club and Travel Sports
any children who are very involved in their spots participate in club and travel sporting options. These are more demanding than just a typical seasonal sporting team and can require parents to fork out even more for participation. But, knowing that 81 percent of parents believe that their child will go on to make money in their sport, it’s very likely they are encouraging kids to participate at this level.
Let’s take a quick look at the average cost for some of these sports teams. These costs consider the cost of registration fees, equipment, and uniforms. They also take into account some of the expenses that come with travel teams -- but that all depends on where you will be traveling with your team.
Here’s the average cost for each of these teams:
Keep in mind that this is the cost for one child. Imagine if you had multiple children involved in these sports or a child that participates in more than one activity. It’s much easier to see how sports can put parents into debt.
But we’re here to tell you that your children can participate in sports without having to go into debt. We have a few different ways to save you money while letting your children still benefit from playing sports.
Pick One Sport and Stick to it
Let’s start with the big one. We all know how hard it can be to say no to your kids, but in some cases, it’s the only option to keep you from drowning in debt. If you have multiple children participating on numerous sports teams, you’re going to start racking up a pretty hefty bill. So, have your kids pick one sport they like the most and stick with that. It will save you time running from one sport to the next and money by only having to pay one registration and equipment fee for one sport.
By volunteering to coach the team you may be offered a discount on registration fees, another way to save some money -- something to consider!
Don’t Miss Early Registration Deadlines
Most sports programs will give offer a discount for registering for the season early. This means, the longer you wait, the more expensive the season will get for your child. It’s such a simple way to save, yet many parents lose track of time and find themselves paying a premium to get their child on a team.
Don’t set yourself up for failure! Make sure to take advantage of this simple cost-saving step. If you need to, set a reminder on your phone or circle the deadline on your calendar to act as a reminder to get your kids registered.
In addition to early registration fees, if your child plays year-round sports, it’s possible to receive a discount for paying the year in full. Now, this may not be an option for some families, but if you can plan ahead to save a little extra leading up to the start of the season, it could pay off in the long run.
Get Involved In Community Centers and YMCAsMany local community centers and YMCAs have options for kids to get involved in sports for a minimal, or no cost. These are great options, especially for children who are just starting out and trying to find the sport that they like the most. Taking advantage of these sporting options will help you save a ton of money and allow your children to stay physically active, make friends, and learn all of those great life skills from sports that may cost thousands of dollars.
Use Hand-Me-Down or Discounted Equipment
For sports that require equipment (let’s be honest, they all do) one way to save is to find a way to avoid purchasing brand new equipment. Do you have a niece or nephew, or even a neighbor who grew out of their hockey stick or has an old basketball you can use? This is a great way to save a ton of money on equipment costs.
If everyone you know has gotten rid of their old equipment, don’t worry, there are other options out there. Many thrift stores and even equipment resale stores exist and have used the equipment available at a lower price. Don’t forget, every penny helps! So even if you’re only paying $15 or $20 less, it adds up quickly.
Equipment can get very costly, but why waste money purchasing new when there are plenty of slightly used options out there? They are just going to get dirty and worn out anyhow.
Cut Cost, Stay Out of DebtSo there you have it. These are just a few ways to help save money while still getting your children involved in sports and extracurricular activities. Don’t find yourself swimming in debt just to make sure your kids are involved in a sport, be smart about it and find ways to cut costs wherever you can.
Allan Flott is a former collegiate and professional soccer player who believes in the powerful role that sports play in helping children develop confidence and a strong sense of self. After his playing career, he applied his passion for youth sports to coaching children’s soccer, but was unsatisfied with the early education programming he encountered and wanted to create something better. So in 2016, he launched The Players Sports Academy to provide “service through sports” by creating healthy, fun and organized sports programs for kids.
Allan Flott is a former collegiate and professional soccer player who believes in the powerful role that sports play in helping children develop confidence and a strong sense of self. After his playing career, he applied his passion for youth sports to start The Players Sports Acadmey.