If you have kids that have reached soccer or T-ball age, you already know the expenses you’re likely to encounter with each new sport they choose to try. Considering that children change their minds often, it makes sense to save money where you can. Today, Landon Buford shares some tips on how to give your kids the experience of sports without overspending.
Register for community or church leagues.
Most cities offer community recreational leagues for the vast majority of sports. These programs, which may also be hosted through your local church, are typically affordable and give your children an opportunity to participate without being overly competitive. As an added bonus, recreational leagues offer many of the same benefits for kids as they do adults, such as fitness opportunities and learning new skills.
Create a safe play space at home.
Does your child want to play an outdoor sport, such as football or baseball? If so, consider giving them a safe space to play in your own backyard. Start by adding a fence, and then work with a landscaper or a lawn aeration specialist (Google “aeration companies near me” to see who’s local, available, and insured) to make sure you have a lawn healthy enough to handle the beating of running children. Before you hire someone, ask for referrals as well as the types of equipment they use.
Schedule games with kids from the neighborhood.
Even if you haven’t met the other parents in the neighborhood, it’s high time you start making friends. This is a great way to network with families that have children your own child’s age so that you can plan outdoor game nights. If your neighborhood has a basketball goal, tennis courts, or swimming pool, get together with other families, bring the equipment you need, and let the kids play for free.
Shop the clearance aisle.
Most sports equipment shops, even big-box stores, such as Academy, put off-season gear on clearance shortly after the last game of the year. If you know your child wants to play a new game next season, start shopping as soon as the red stickers go on. As a side note, you can also trade in your used sports equipment at different stores, depending on where you live. Play It Again Sports is one example of a used sporting gear store that buys and sells gear at a discounted price.
Never pass up hand-me-downs.
If you have multiple children, you already know the money-saving benefit of hand-me-down clothing. Think about their sports interest as well. Save everything, and don’t be shy about letting younger siblings have their older sibling’s bats, martial arts gear, or other sports equipment. The only real exception here is shoes as, as Patel Podiatry explains, shoes tend to adapt to the original foot in them.
Enroll them in a summer sports camp.
Summer sports camps are a rite of passage for children across the country. There are camps available for just about every sport, from golf to softball. Nike is one of the country’s largest sponsors and promoters of youth athletics, and its website USSportsCamps.com is an invaluable resource to help you find affordable and fun places for your kids to dip their toes in the proverbial waters of their sport of choice.
T-ball, basketball, hockey… There are so many different sports out there today. Let your child try them all without overspending on each. The above tips can help, and they are also useful when your child settles on their favorite and it’s time to invest in additional equipment.
Landon Buford is not only Washington State’s most decorated athlete, but he’s also a journalist who has masterfully authored articles about such names as Dwyane Wade and Daymond John.