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How to Save Money on Your Kids’ Sports Activities

Sports are a great way for kids to stay healthy, have fun and learn new skills. But they can also be a big drain on your family budget. According to a survey by Solutions Research Group, Canadian families spend nearly $1,000 annually per child on sports, and some activities can cost up to $10,000 a year. How can you support your kids’ passion for sports without breaking the bank? Here are some tips to help you manage the cost of kids’ sports.

Plan Ahead and Set a Budget

Before you sign up your kids for any sports program, do some research and find out how much it will cost. Factor in the registration fees, equipment, clothing, travel, tournaments and any extras that may come up. Then, set a realistic budget for each child and stick to it. You can use a budgeting app or a spreadsheet to track your spending and see where you can save money. You can also look for ways to reduce your expenses in other areas, such as entertainment, dining out or vacations.

Choose the Right Sport and Level

Not all sports are created equal when it comes to cost. Some sports, such as soccer, basketball and track and field, are relatively cheap because they don’t require a lot of equipment or facilities. Other sports, such as hockey, dance and water skiing, are more expensive because they involve more gear, coaching and travel. You can save money by choosing a sport that suits your budget and your child’s interest. You can also opt for a lower level of competition, such as house league or recreational, instead of elite or rep, which can be more demanding and costly.

How to Save Money on Your Kids’ Sports Activities

Look for Discounts and Subsidies

There are many ways to get discounts and subsidies for your kids’ sports activities. For example, you can register early and take advantage of early bird rates, or sign up for multiple programs and get a bundle deal. You can also look for coupons, vouchers or promotions from local businesses or organizations that sponsor sports programs. Another option is to apply for financial assistance from government or non-profit agencies that offer grants or scholarships for low-income families or underrepresented groups. You can also claim tax credits for your kids’ sports expenses, such as the Children’s Fitness Amount and the Children’s Arts Tax Credit, which can save you up to $225 per child per year.

Borrow, Swap or Buy Used Equipment

One of the biggest expenses of kids’ sports is the equipment. Kids grow fast and their equipment can become outdated or worn out quickly. Instead of buying new equipment every season, you can save money by borrowing, swapping or buying used equipment. You can ask your friends, family or neighbours if they have any equipment that they are willing to lend or trade. You can also check out online platforms, such as Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji or VarageSale, where you can find used equipment for sale or for free. Another option is to visit local thrift stores, consignment shops or sports equipment exchanges, where you can buy or sell gently used equipment at a fraction of the cost.

Volunteer or Fundraise

Another way to reduce the cost of kids’ sports is to volunteer or fundraise for the sports program. Many sports organizations rely on volunteers to help with coaching, officiating, administration, fundraising and other tasks. By volunteering your time and skills, you can contribute to the success of the program and also get discounts or waivers for your kids’ fees. You can also participate in fundraising activities, such as selling chocolates, raffle tickets or merchandise, and use the proceeds to pay for your kids’ expenses. Volunteering and fundraising can also be a great way to meet other parents, build community and have fun.

Sports are a valuable part of your kids’ development, but they don’t have to cost a fortune. By following these tips, you can help your kids enjoy their sports activities without blowing your family budget.

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