No one ever said having kids would be easy on your wallet. And if you’re a parent with a brood of young athletes, this is something you probably know all too well.
Youth sports is an estimated $5 billion annual industry, says Mark Hymann, the author of The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today’s Families, in an interview with Reuters. Some families find themselves spending $10,000 a year on their kids’ extracurricular athletics.
If Hymman’s estimate surprises you, consider that he calls this figure very conservative. The amount begins to make more sense when you consider that some parents spend $300 on an aluminum bat for their little slugger, or $1,100 on golf irons for their aspiring Tiger.
But it’s not just the cost of equipment you need to factor in. New uniforms, private instructors and travel are all expenses that parents of sports-minded children face year after year.
The most expensive kids’ sports? Those would be horseback riding, gymnastics, lacrosse, ice hockey and figure skating, according to Yahoo. A lacrosse stick alone can cost as much as $250, and ice skating lessons for beginners are about $100 an hour.
So, is there a way to keep these costs down? Reuters says there is.
Local recreation leagues generally have fewer road trips than more elite teams, making them a less expensive option. And if you’re not sure you want to spend upwards of $1,000 on golf clubs for your child, consider buying used equipment, or even guiding them toward a less pricey sport. Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price or — if your child is enrolling with friends or siblings — ask for a group discount.
Do you have a child who plays sports? How do you keep the associated costs under control?