Letting your children participate in organized sports is an expensive endeavor. From the cost of the equipment to the uniforms and transportation, the list of expenses may seem never ending. Luckily, there are a few ways you can cut back on costs without making your children choose between activities. Here are four ways you can save on your kids’ sports activities.
Buy Used Equipment
If your child is just starting out in a sport, you can get away with buying used equipment. As they become more advanced, the need for better quality equipment will become apparent. But if you’re lucky you can even score advanced pieces for pennies on the dollar at thrift shops, consignment sales and of course on Craigslist. Don’t forget neighborhood garage sales, especially ones at the homes of your children’s friends.
Another great place to find used equipment is on eBay. The world’s number one online auction site gives you access to all sorts of different sporting goods at reduced costs. Before making a bid, be sure to look at the actual going rate for the item and take shipping costs into consideration to determine if you’re getting a deal or not.
Look For Community Resources
If your children are interested in sports that are not offered through their schools, check out classes at your local community centers such as the YMCA. Often, you’ll find cheaper rates on dance and gymnastic classes than at private centers, and the level of instruction will be just as good for beginners.
You can also take advantage of discounts through AAA, MOMS clubs and other organizations to save on lessons for your children. Shop around and you’ll be surprised what you can find. Don’t feel pressured from other parents to sign your kids up to the most prestigious dance schools or ballet classes, especially if your kids are interested in more than one activity.
Take Your Own Photos
Often, professional photographers show up at sporting events to take photos of the kids which they then try to sell to the parents. If you see a professional photographer, don’t feel obligated to buy the pictures.
When the time comes for the official team pictures and professional pictures of each individual player, get the smallest package available. Buy only the digital copies if possible so you could make your own reproductions from them.
Don’t Go Overboard On Parties Or Snacks
Children’s sports teams usually offer snacks for the kids after the game. Parents can get caught up in one-upping each other on this front. What begins as a parent offering orange slices can quickly snowball into take-out and soda. Don’t get pulled into this game. Instead, bring something inexpensive and simple that the kids will like just as well as an expensive snack. Pretzels, gallon-size juice or fresh fruit all make great post-game snacks.
Keeping a handle on the cost of your children’s activities will help you save money, allowing your kids to participate in more sports. With a little bit of effort, you can find places to trim your spending without sacrificing enjoyment.