*We hope this collaborative article on Budgeting for Your Children’s Sports Activities is helpful and informative*
Sports activities are a crucial part of growing up. Enrolling your child in sports teams, groups and lessons has so many benefits. Childhood sports help your children to build strength and maintain a healthy weight, but they also help them to build social skills and confidence and to develop a healthy relationship with exercise and activity which could stay with them for life.
Even if your child never excels and has little chance of playing or practicing at a higher level, these sports activities are an important part of their childhood. As parents, we want our kids to have every opportunity to enjoy sports. But, let’s face it, all these classes and activities can be very expensive. As well as the classes and tuition themselves, there’s equipment, uniforms, and travel, as well as the other associated costs.
Many of us that live on a tighter budget worry about how we’ll afford to give our children these opportunities, and even parents with more disposable income can be concerned about the mounting costs, especially if their children start to take sports more seriously as they get older. The good news is, there are plenty of tips to help you budget. Here are some of the best.
Budget for Everything
A common mistake that many parents make is failing to realize just how many associated costs there are when their children join a sports club or class. For some, the costs are relatively low. You may only have to pay for coaching if they can practice in their own clothes, they don’t compete, and the equipment is provided. However, these are the minority, not the norm. Make sure you’ve researched and budgeted for all of the costs before signing up. This could include coaching, venue hire, uniforms, equipment, parking and gas, overnight stays, competition fees, badges and certificates, food and drink, and enrolment fees.
Don’t just look at classes that have been heavily promoted, are close to home, or that your friends use. Explore sports activities as smaller, local venues, which can often be cheaper. Look at classes run by schools and community groups, as well as the more well-known options. Then, shop around for equipment such as wooden bats made for kids online, as well as in-store. Shop for second-hand uniforms, and ask if they need to have logos, or if generic clothes are an option.
Get Involved in the Community
There are many advantages to becoming more involved in the community of your child’s sporting activities. Get to know other parents and carers and you’ll help your child get more from the experience while making it more interesting for yourself. It also opens up the chance to save some money. Become part of the community and you can start carpooling to save on gas and parking. You can arrange for everyone to chip in for minibus hire to competitions and events. You might be able to get help with childcare, pick-ups, and drop-offs, and you’ll have a chance to buy outgrown uniform and second-hand equipment and to accept gifted hand-me-downs.
As parents, we want to give our children everything, but sometimes this isn’t possible. To keep the costs of sports activities down sometimes you may have to set boundaries, perhaps limiting them to one or two different sports or explaining that they may have to miss out on other things, such as large birthday presents or parties instead.
Youth sports are so important, but you should never get into financial hardship to afford them. Remember, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with kicking a ball around a park or playing bat and ball in your garden. All activity counts.