If you are a parent, you understand how important it is to get your child out of the house and moving around. Physical activity is extremely important for kids growing up! It helps them stay healthy, engage with others, and strengthen many different skills.
Exercise can range from taking walks to jumping around on a trampoline. In fact, NASA says that 10 minutes of jumping is actually a better cardiovascular workout than 30 minutes of running.
One of the most common forms of exercise for children is after-school sports. In fact, during the 2016-17 year, participation in high school football reached 1.09 million. Youth sports are a great way to get your child off the couch and running around, but what happens when the sports are too much for your family’s income to handle? You don’t want to force your child to give up their favorite hobby, but your budget is slowly shrinking.
If you find yourself in this situation, there are numerous options out there that can help your child to continue their activities while helping you save a few dollars.
Look for used sports equipment.
U.S. News says equipment is often just as expensive as the sport itself. If your child likes to play hockey, they’re going to need pieces of gear like skates, sticks, helmets, pads, gloves, and jerseys, just to name a few. These seemingly small things can add up in no time flat, especially as a child gets older and grows out of their equipment. Websites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist are great places to look for the equipment your young one will need. Or you can shop at a secondhand store like Play It Again Sports.
Count on growing pains.
The Simple Dollar says if you don’t want to buy used equipment, but are worried about your child getting too big for their uniforms, always go a size up. Getting your child a sports uniform one or two sizes bigger than you normally would allows for them to grow into their gear. This will allow for you to save money over the span of a few years. You won’t have to worry about running to the store and shelling out hundreds of dollars on something that could have been prevented in the first place.
Set participation limits.
According to PRBC, Allowing your child to get involved in too many different sports can be harmful to both your wallet and their health. While it’s important to get your child up and moving consistently throughout the week, too much exercise can actually do more harm than good. Limiting your child to one sport per season can not only help them find physical balance, it can save you a few dollars. Take a look at your finances and see what you can afford, but don’t go over that. It might be hard to say no to your child who wants to be involved in soccer, tennis, and dance, but you need to know what is best for you and your family.
Making sure your child is leading an active lifestyle is very important. You can ensure this by getting them involved in youth sports, instead of just sending them to the gym (where the largest demographic is those ages 20 to 64). While these sports can add up negatively against your bank account, taking the steps listed above can help keep the costs low.