Our 3 boys are very active in team sports. Our 14 year old swims year round on a swim team and the 10 year old twins play both in baseball leagues and basketball leagues. Let’s be realistic, they’re probably not going to the Olympics but we seem to spend a lot of money on youth sports.
Take swimming for example. Now there is a sport that should be relatively inexpensive. I mean how much does it cost for a Speedo and pair of goggles right? Actually, the Speedo and goggles are the least of the cost, with pool fees and insurance comprising the majority.
So here is an annual breakdown of our three children’s teams sports. Keep in mind fees increase as they become older and more competitive. And, if they decide to play additional sports such as football and hockey this will become exponentially higher.
Swimming: Swim Team
$2100 Swim Team Membership Sept to June
$270 9 Swimsuits
$60 3 Pair Goggles
$2430 Total not including gas to transport to and from meets/practices
$380 Fall/Spring League Fees for 2 kids
$60 1 Pair per year for 2 kids
$440 Total not including equipment start up for 2 kids
(Add another $410 for mitt, bat, batting helmet, chest protector, athletic support and batting gloves. These items last for a few years).
$100 League Fees for 2 kids
$90 3 Pairs shorts each for 2 kids
$40 1 BB shirt each for 2 kids
$100 1 Pair Athletic Sneakers each for 2 kids
$330 total for two kids
Total $3200 Per year for team sports for 3 children
Here are some tips to cut costs:
1. Shop for end of season bargains on equipment. It’s amazing what you can find at the end of baseball season. Buy a size bigger and put it away.
2. Shop and hold garage sales. Sell your children’s used bats, mitts, etc. and apply that money towards new age appropriate equipment.
3. Accept hand me downs. Because kids’ feet grow so fast, they outgrow cleats very quickly. Most kids wear a pair of cleats for only one season and are generally hardly used.
4. Use league equipment. Does your child really need his/her own bat and helmet? The league does provide equipment from donations if you choose to use this option.
5. Carpool to meets/practices especially when they are not local. With gas over $4 a gallon this can add up.
6. Provide your own snacks and water. Although it’s much easier to stop at the hot dog cart, this adds up when you’re stopping two to three times per week. Bring a sandwich and drink and treat your child to something less expensive like an ice cream.
7. Negotiate. For the most part league fees are what they are but sometimes having multiple children will work in your favor. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
8. Volunteer. Become involved. Number one, it’s a great bonding experience for you and your child and number two, it helps with Number 7 (negotiate) above!
I guess we should be happy they haven’t tried out for the football team yet. How do you minimize cost on your children’s team sports?