Do you have children? These sports can cost you an extra $2,000 a year

An adult male crowded with young soccer players.

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the main points

  • Winter sports and those with lots of equipment tend to be more expensive, including ice hockey, ski/snowboard, and field hockey.
  • Travel costs are another huge factor, especially in team sports that have “away” games.
  • The least expensive sports are those with minimal equipment, as well as some of the more popular sports where equipment is inexpensive or easy to find.

Most kids are like the Energizer Bunny. They just kept going – it’s a long time ago when their parents are ready to take a nap. This is why giving them a proper outlet for that energy, such as in organized sport, is practically essential.

Unfortunately, this necessity begins to look very much like a luxury when you start to dive in personal financing influences. The average cost of playing just one children’s sport (for one child) for a year is approximately $700. Most children actually play two or more sports.

The price of playing can vary slightly from one sport to the next. Many of the less expensive sports also require the least amount of gear. But this is not the only factor. The popularity and ease of finding used equipment and travel needs all play their parts.

Winter sports top the list

In a survey conducted by the Aspen Project Play Institute, parents provided cost data for 21 sports. At the top of the chart—that is, the most expensive sports—are ice hockey and skiing/snowboarding.

The five most expensive sports for children:

  1. Ice hockey: $2,583
  2. Ski/Snowboard: $2,249
  3. Field hockey: $2,125
  4. Gymnastics: $1,580
  5. Lacrosse: $1,289

The first two sports are a good example of how costs depend greatly on different factors for each sport. Ice hockey, with an average annual cost of $2,583 per child, seems expensive across the board. Registration and travel costs far outweigh the costs of equipment or lessons.

On the other hand, skiing/snowboarding seems to be near the top of the list based on equipment cost alone. Of the $2,249 average annual cost, $1,174 of it—52%—comes from purchasing or leasing equipment. Which makes sense. Simply purchasing the layers needed to protect against freeze can get expensive. And that’s before adding the high cost of skis or snowboards.

At the other end of the spectrum, the least expensive sports tend to be those that require minimal equipment. Track and field, cross country, and sponsorship soccer—all sports where the dress code is basic and you likely don’t need pads, sticks, or other expensive equipment.

Five sports for children that are the least expensive:

  1. Track and field: $191
  2. Football flag: $268
  3. Ski: $380
  4. Cross country: $421
  5. Basketball: $427

However, sports that require a lot of equipment but are very popular/popular can also be quite affordable. American football, for example, can have a lot of gear requirements. However, soccer is so ubiquitous that not only is gear very affordable when new, but it is also very easy to find used.

Equipment is expensive, but travel can be worse

While equipment costs may be the first thing that comes to mind when considering a new sport, it is actually not the driving factor for the total cost of most sports in the survey. No, the cost of travel is actually the largest cost of many sports.

For example, field hockey costs an average of $2,125 per year. Only about a quarter of that cost comes from equipment. The $934 spent annually on travel to and from games makes up the majority – 44% – of the cost of playing.

(And we’re not talking about the kind of fun travel that makes you so happy Travel rewards. These are often hours of driving in a truck full of kids who’ve spent the last couple of hours sweating through their pads. Talk about a labor of love.)

Of course, even just getting your kids on their sports teams can get expensive. It is said that ice hockey scoring alone costs an average of $634 per year. There are also two other top-five record-expensive sports: field hockey at $409 per year, and lacrosse at $411 per year.

Even if your child would prefer to play a sport without bands, you’re not off the hook. Most non-team sports are the type that require some type of class or lesson.

Gymnastics, for example, costs an average of $1,580 a year, and more than a quarter of that (27%) is just the cost of classes. But this is not even the worst. More than 40% of the $1,170 average annual cost of playing tennis is from semester costs. And more than 60% of martial arts-related costs come from lessons.

Preservation methods

Participating in sports can be beneficial for children in myriad ways. It helps them develop self-confidence and athleticism — we need fewer losers in the adult world, that’s for sure — as well as providing a healthy outlet for excess energy.

But when you’re on a budget, an extra $700 a year can seem like a lot; Raising children is already expensive No additional cost. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can lower your kids’ sports costs without having to cut them out completely.

  • Hire first: Most parents have experienced shelling out hundreds just to have your child decide at three weeks where he doesn’t like sports anymore. If possible, see if you can rent expensive equipment to make sure your child sticks to it.
  • Buy used: Kids can outgrow gear long before its useful life ends. Try to pick up used equipment from friends, family, and colleagues. Many independent sporting goods stores will also sell gently used equipment. (Do not buy used helmets. They can lose efficacy.)
  • Carpool: Travel costs for overseas games and tournaments can get prohibitive. When you can, share travel expenses with other parents to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Package categories: If your child plays a sport that involves attending a lot of classes, ask the gym/dojo/etc. About chapter packages. Many places will offer package deals at a lower cost per term than you would pay for one semester at a time.

If nothing else, think of the cost of your kids’ sports as an investment. Your baby is likely to be happier and healthier. Plus, you get to have some fun too. You never laugh until you watch 7 year olds in full hockey gear trying to skate!

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