8 ways that parents can cut the costs of youth sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 1/30/2017

There is no doubt that the cost of youth sports continues to increase each passing year. However, while it can be difficult to manage these costs, there are ways to save money in youth sports.

Here are eight simple was you can cut costs:

  1. Be selective when choosing sports. Although children may ask to play multiple sports, it may be best for your budget and your child to only try one sport at a time. Overloading a kid’s schedule will tire them out, leave little time for creative free play and is a quick way to drain your wallet.
  2. Start simple. If your child is a beginner, choose a sport with less expensive equipment like soccer or basketball. If your child is set on playing football, look for a flag football league to introduce your child to the sport without all of the associated equipment costs. I would recommend staying away from tackle football or ice hockey until you are sure that your child has a genuine passion for these sports. After all, why would you spend a lot of money on a sport your child may play for only one season?
  3. Purchased used equipment. You can source used equipment from many different places, such as, thrift/consignment stores, yard sales, Craigslist, eBay or used sporting goods stores. This is a great option when your child is young, since they are smaller, they don’t really need elite equipment yet.
  4. Borrow equipment. Ask friends and family if you can borrow equipment they may not be using at the moment. You can also try an equipment swap with other parents in your community.
  5. Purchase last year’s model. If you know your kid will play a sport next year, then figure out when the end-of-the-season sales are and buy new equipment at a steeply discounted rate.
  6. Compare the costs of community versus club leagues. When your children are young, the local community league or YMCA-sponsored programs will give them a chance to play and develop their skills, without as large of a cost as club leagues.
  7. Carpool to practice. If practice is five miles away and you drop off and pick up your child two hours later, then you are driving 20 miles per practice. If you are driving to all three practices per week, then you will drive 240 miles per month. That is a lot of extra mileage on your car, time out of your day and expense. If you can carpool with other parents, then it will save you both time and money!
  8. Craig Haworth from Winningyouthcoaching.com produced an interesting video that provides unique ways to help your child make the middle school team, without increasing your costs.

I often speak with parents who are paying enormous fees for their child to play travel ball and end up spending way too much money on equipment.

If your wallet is feeling the pinch, then stop letting youth sports drain it and begin looking for smarter ways to support your child in sports.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.