Signing your kids up for organized sports is a fun way to keep them busy and active. It’s also a great opportunity to teach kids about teamwork and sportsmanship. We’ve gathered some ideas on how you can save money on kids sports starting this Summer.
If you’re thinking about putting your kids in sports this year, one of the biggest factors to consider is the cost. Participating in organized sports usually comes with a fee and you may also need to pay for equipment, uniforms, travel costs (to play against other teams), and other materials.
If you’re on a budget but don’t want your kids to miss out on all the fun, here are some practical and creative ways to help you save money on kids sports throughout the school year.
Take Advantage of Early Bird Discounts
Some sports teams allow you to get a discount if you register early. Plan out which sport your child would like to play and start budgeting for it in advance.
Add specific deadlines and due dates to your calendar so you know when things are coming up each year. This extra step is worth the effort if you can save anywhere from a few bucks to $100 or more. Register early so you can get the discounted rate and if you’re enrolling other kids, see if they’ll offer a sibling/family discount.
Look Into YMCA and Park District Programs
Joining a private Little League team may cost more than the fees associated with joining a team through your YMCA or park district. Community centers already offer residents a discount in terms of fees.
You can likely register your child to participate in a sports team for a few weeks for anywhere from $50 to $100. This includes practices. A few weeks is plenty of time for kids to learn a new sport or get a chance to develop more skills.
Local park district programs make it possible for everyone to participate in a sport no matter what your household budget is. Another benefit of these programs is that there might be scholarship opportunities for your kids to utilize. Eligibility is often based on household income but if you qualify, your kids could play sports for free or a very discounted rate.
See What Programs the School Offers
This is another easy way to save money on kids sports. Some schools allow kids to participate in organized sports teams for cheap or even free. If there are free after-school sports programs, it won’t hurt to try them so your kids can test out different things.
If the school has its own teams, your child may prefer playing alongside their friends so long as the price is right.
Practice During the School Year, Play During the Summer
This is a unique strategy that can actually save you quite a bit of money. It’s easier to find free organized sports teams to join during the summer, so you can use the school year to help your kids practice and develop their skills.
You may even want to see if your local park district offers a skills program for a few weeks. This can help your child learn basic fundamentals to play basketball, baseball, football, soccer and so on.
Then in the summer, seek out free sports team opportunities through local churches, organizations, and other groups. Visit your library or community’s website to narrow down these free opportunities and resources so you can take advantage of them when the time is right.
Volunteer to Coach or Help
Another way to save money on kids sports teams is to volunteer if they need a coach or helper for the team. By volunteering to help, see if you can get your child free or reduced registration in exchange for your time.
This can also be a great opportunity to bond with your child and even score some exercise for yourself.
Borrow or Buy Used Gear
When it comes to sourcing gear, realize that you don’t have to buy everything brand new from the store. Ask around to see if friends or family have items you can use like basketballs, baseball bats, soccer cleats, tennis rackets, and so on. You can always buy new and upgraded equipment as time goes on and your budget allows.
Stop by your local thrift stores to see if you can find athletic apparel that would be good for practices. If you have to buy a uniform or jersey, ask if the team has any extra from the previous season that you can buy at a discount.
Summary: Save Money on Kids Sports and Stick to the Budget
If you really want to save money on kids sports, don’t let your budget hold you back. There are plenty of ways to avoid paying several hundred dollars for the experience.
Narrow down which sport they want to play, then shop around and see what the best registration fees are in the area. Be open to trying out free opportunities as well.
At the end of the day, kids will care most about getting to play on a team, learning all the fundamentals, and simply having fun.