If you or your child plays a sport you already know how expensive it can be. Gear, uniforms, meets, and travel expenses add up quickly, and there are hidden costs as well: fuel, meals while on the road, travel teams, and team events such as dinners and fund raisers all take cash to participate. With that in mind, here are some tips on ways to save money so your sport doesn’t break your bank account:
Look for gently used equipment. Whether it’s at school, yard sales, or online there are always people in the opposite boat: they have all the stuff and need to unload it. You can find great deals, and after the first use it won’t matter that you didn’t buy it new.
Shop smart: look for sales, specials, and online discounts and coupons to save even more. Sites like Groupon make it their business to promote other businesses, and you can download the app and have instant access to coupons on everything from sports equipment to home décor that shows off your favorite sport.
Plan ahead: just because most of the team is staying at the arena hotel doesn’t mean you have to. Often an affordable alternative can be found nearby and you can save a bundle making a short commute.
Carpool whenever possible. Fuel savings may seem minimal, but when you multiply that by trips to practice and add wear and tear of your vehicle it adds up fast!
Pack your own food. You may have to attend the sports banquet, but you can forego many food stops while traveling by simply making a habit of packing a cooler. Bring a lot of water and other drinks, sandwiches, fruit, and snacks and you can really save a lot of money you’d otherwise spend on fast food and restaurants.
By using your imagination before pulling out your wallet you’ll be amazed at how much you save without sacrificing your favorite pastime. Keep in mind, if you’re really in a financial crisis ask your coach for advice. There may be scholarship or sponsor monies available for team members who can’t afford to play, and you never know unless you ask!