Sports Fees Punch a Hole in Family Wallet

Sports Fees Punch a Hole in Family Wallet

We all know that kids are expensive.

First the hospital bills, then the diapers, clothes they outgrow before they wear them, and ultimately college funds.  Add into the budget that the little buggers expect to eat occasionally and they are budget busters for sure! Per this calculator, a family can expect to spend $500,000+ to raise a child from birth through 4 years of college.

In my opinion this is low considering average day care costs run about $12,000 in Colorado, but let’s assume that the $500,000 is accurate.

This calculator doesn’t account for optional items such as sports fees, summer camps and vacations.  I’ve chosen to involve our kids in organized sports and summer camps, so perhaps I’m biased.  But, do you really think sports are optional for today’s children?

Let’s face it, kids today are expected to participate in extracurricular sports.  Soccer, little league, gymnastics, dance, etc  are all staples in most family budgets.  If we can swing the costs at all, we want our children to have the same advantages as their peers.

But these activities don’t come cheap.  Assuming you want to prepare your child to be able to play on a high school team, you likely need to get them involved in club sports by 8 (at least).  I know many families that start t-ball at 3.

Let’s just follow baseball for an example:

Age 3, 4, 5 – Tball – $100 per season (usually includes tshirt and hat)

Ages 6, 7 – Coach pitch – $100 per season + $100 for pants, belt, shoes, glove

Ages 8, 9 – Kid pitch, rec league – $200 per season + $100 for equipment

Ages 10, 11, 12, 13 – Competitive – $350 per season x 2 seasons per year + $100 for equipment

Ages 14, 15, 16, 17 – High School – $700 per season x 2 seasons per year + $150 for equipment

Total for one sport/child:  $10,700

Yes, there are sports that are less expensive than baseball – track and swimming for example – but there are also sports that are much more expensive – hockey, figure skating, and gymnastics for example.  So, for purposes of discussion, I’m saying that you can expect $11,000 on average per sport per kid before you spend a dime on hotels, tournaments, gas, or private coaching.

Some are lucky enough to be able to pay these costs without a second thought, but there are plenty others that will find it prohibitive to squeeze these fees out of an already tight budget.

I’m feeling like I need to set up a sports savings fund to handle the expected future expenses.  What about you?  How do you handle fitting these fees into your budget?

7 Responses to Sports Fees Punch a Hole in Family Wallet

    • It is a sticker shock for sure! I assume by high school my kids will have picked one, maybe two sports to pursue, but for the time being we are trying to expose them to as many as possible so they can figure out which ones they like and have an aptitude for – soccer, baseball, diving, drama, art, music, basketball – they’ve all been tried this year. Next year we intend to start our 3 year old in dance and our 7 year old in karate – plus soccer as the staple. When we were both working we could make it work. When it was just me working, we could squeeze it in – but with both of us unemployed, it is hard to justify sports fees as a necessity. I still think they are though, so continue to keep the kids engaged, but it sure hits the wallet hard!

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