sports are expensive for parents
Watching your kid compete on a team can be one of parentingâ€™s great pleasures, but sports can be a real workout for your wallet. While the days of pickup games in the park are not entirely gone, schools are increasingly replacing free programs with â€œpay to playâ€ arrangements. Participation fees, equipment, uniforms, training, and travel can really add up. Putting one child in a team sport for a single season can cost as much as $5,000. Now thatâ€™s taking one for the team!
Thankfully, whether your kid is a novice diver or a varsity soccer captain, there are ways to manage the high costs of athletics. If youâ€™ll pardon the many sports puns to come, hereâ€™s your game plan:
- Talk costs with other parents. Before your kid commits to a particular sport, tally up its associated expenses and consider whether you can afford them. Ask the youth league or school coordinator how much youâ€™ll have to pay in years to come. Is there a huge bump in costs at the next level? Chat with other parents to get a sense of incidental costs, such as chipping in for snacks or travel.
- Take it slow. I donâ€™t need to tell you that kids tend to change their minds, so donâ€™t go all in at first. Find a low-key class or recreational league for your budding athlete to get a taste of a new sport. And encourage them to focus on one sport at a time, rather than spreading themselves (and your own finances) thin over several activities.
- Choose the right team. Teams and leagues arenâ€™t one-size-fits-all. If your kidâ€™s goal is to get a sports scholarship, or to excel on a regional level, then perhaps an elite, traveling clubâ€”with its relatively high fees and travel costsâ€”is the right choice. But if your child just wants after-school fun and exercise with their friends, then a less competitiveâ€”and more affordableâ€”program should fit the bill.
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