Saving money on kids sports

AmandaIt's that time of year again when kids start signing up for organized sports.  Football, baseball, soccer, and cheerleading all have one thing in common: They can get pretty expensive.  Here are some ways that our family has managed to save some money on kids sports:

EQUIPMENT: Buy used when possible

  • Garage sales are great places to look for used sports gear.  I have found baseball bats, gloves, football pads, helmets, and cleats  at very low prices.  I usually find cleats for less than $1.  I throw them in the washing machine and they look like new.   Many times sports equipment can be found that looks like it has never been used.  Kids usually only use equipment for one season before outgrowing it.
  • Play It Again Sports sells used sports equipment.  You may also be able to trade in your child's gear from last year for some extra cash.
  • Other good places to look are your local newspaper, Craigslist, and Freecycle.
  • Often, you have the option to rent equipment rather than buy it.  With three boys, we prefer to buy used and hand it down.

FOOD AND DRINKS: Bring your own

We always bring our own snacks and drinks to practices and games.  Our ballpark charges $2 for sports drinks and bottled water. ($2 per drink   X   6 family members = sorry not gonna happen)

  • For drinks, we bought each person a sports bottle and put his/her name on it.  Before games and practices, we fill them with Gatorade mixed from power or Crystal Light.  For cold games,  we bring a thermos of hot chocolate and styrofoam cups.  (Warning: This makes other shivering spectators jealous.)
  • For snacks, we bring small baggies of things that I have pre packaged myself.  We find it easier to bring snacks that are not too messy like goldfish crackers, graham crackers, grapes or chips.  It takes some planning to prepare snacks and drinks and make sure they are loaded into the vehicle, but money wise, we think it's worth it.

Extras: We choose not to purchase these items

  • Portrait Packages are usually offered for every sport our kids participate in.  These are expensive.  We choose instead to bring our digital camera and take lots of pictures at games of  both our kids individually and some of the entire team that we enlarge and hang on our kids'  bedroom walls.
  • Team shirts for Mom and Dad are also something we choose not to buy.  These shirts with our children's names and numbers on them are nice, but they are only used for one season because team colors change each year.
  • Car Window Decals are another extra that we don't purchase.  These are offered to us for $8 each , and we don't feel like we really need these.  I also enjoy being able to see out of my back window while driving.

Our kids don't care that their equipment isn't brand new, that their snacks and drinks are brought from home, or that we opt not to buy the extras.  They do care that we attend their games and practices, and see them run plays or make goals.  Cheering our kids on and teaching them to be good sports win or lose is priceless.  What are some other ways that you have found to save on kids sports?

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  1. Thanks Joyce. I pack as much as I can the night before games. I do the same for school. I have my kids get their backpacks ready and clothes picked out so we don’t have to be in a big rush in the morning.

  2. Great tips, Amanda! It always a struggle packing food and drinks for the kids and getting everyone out of the house on time. :) Maybe it would help to pack the night before so everything isn’t such a rush.

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