Home > Personal Finance > The Most Expensive Sports Your Kids Will Quit

Comments 1 Comment

An allowance, clothes, food, toys, games, electronics, movies. You buy your kids lots of things. But one of the biggest expenses can be equipment and apparel for the after-school sports they’re dying to join one day and then are totally over the next.

The kids’ sports industry is estimated to be around $5 billion annually, according to a recent Reuters report. That means there are a lot of moms and dads out there dropping major cash (or many cases charging on a credit card) on all of the necessities for their kids’ athletic adventures without the promise that their children will stick with the sport.

Ian Somerville, the owner of Play It Again Sports in Novi, Mich., says the price of equipping your child in new gear for their sport of choice isn’t getting any cheaper, thanks to rising fuel and manufacturing costs.

[Free Resource: Check your credit score and report card for free before applying for a credit card]

Check Your Credit For Free“Last spring for example, the cost of cotton and wool doubled from the year before” Somerville says. “This caused prices to increase this spring on everything from baseballs to umpire pants, anything with cotton or wool in their assembly.”

So, we asked Somerville to give us the scoop on the sports that would take the biggest chunk out of your savings and some tips for how to get around the costs.

Somerville says the most expensive sports include hockey, lacrosse and snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. Here are the general prices you’ll be looking at for brand new equipment for these sports, Somerville says.

HOCKEY

  • Helmet = $50-$80
  • Pads from neck to shins = $150-$200
  • Skates = $60-$100
  • Stick = $20-$100
  • Miscellaneous items (hockey bag, stick tape, blade guards, etc.) = $50
  • Total = $330-$530

LACROSSE

  • Helmet = $100-$140
  • Pads from shoulder to waist = $90-$150
  • Cleats = $25-$50
  • Stick = $30-$50
  • Miscellaneous items (bag & mouthguard) = $50
  • Total = $295-$440

SKIING

  • Skis = $200
  • Boots = $100
  • Poles = $25
  • Helmet = $50
  • Goggles = $30
  • Ski pants = $40
  • Ski jacket = $60
  • Ski gloves = $30
  • Total = $535

[Credit Cards: Research and compare credit cards at Credit.com]

If these sports are cost-prohibitive, then look into sports like disc golf, tennis, soccer, basketball and volleyball. The start-up costs for these sports range from $16 (for disc golf, which requires only two discs to start playing) to $110 (for basketball, which requires new sneakers and a ball). Somerville says that disc golf is really growing in popularity in his area.

“New disc golf courses are opening nationwide, and participation levels are way up,” he says.

If your child really has his or her heart set on playing one of the pricier sports, there are some ways to shave money off the total cost.

1. Buy used.

The easiest way to save on your equipment cost is to opt for used products instead of new. Somerville’s store offers both new and used sports equipment and he says that going used can mean savings as big as 50%.

“Sometimes pre-owned items have an added benefit: for example new hockey skates need to be worn 8 or 10 times (painfully) before they are really broken in properly,” Somerville says. “When you buy used skates, somebody else did all the hard work of breaking them in, and you know if they fit or don’t fit immediately when you first try them on.”

The other perk of buying used is that it’s a green way to help other parents like you.

“Families are bringing more of their pre-owned equipment to stores like Play It Again Sports, so more pre-owned equipment is available to other families just getting into the sport,” Somerville says.

2. Use “cross-over” equipment.

Just because your kid decides to play T-ball instead of soccer doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a different type of cleats for the new sport. The same goes for lacrosse and hockey, Somerville explains.

“The helmet, gloves, and pads that are used for lacrosse are definitely different than hockey equipment, but they are similar,” he says. “Many of the summer lacrosse camps will allow first-time players to use hockey equipment at first, to help limit their investment before they know if they really like the sport. Then later if the child wants to actually play in a league, they will require actual lacrosse equipment.”

[Free Resource: Check your credit score and report card for free before applying for a credit card]

3. Shop in the off-season. 

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to shopping for seasonal sports. Somerville says buying equipment for next year when the season ends (for example, going shopping in August for swimsuits, caps, goggles, etc.) can be a great way to save, you just have to be cautious of two things: selection and size.

“Equipment needs to fit properly for it to be safe and usable. It can be hard to predict how fast your child’s feet or hands or head will grow in the next year. If you buy equipment early and it turns out to be too small, then you wasted your money. If you buy equipment early and it turns out to be too big, you are sacrificing your child’s safety and their ability to enjoy playing the sport,” Somerville says. “The other risk of buying at the end of the season is that stores usually run out of the most common sizes before the end of the season. So when you buy during clearance time, you might not find the sizes or styles that you really want and need.”

As long as you recognize the catches to the “buying early” plan, you can be in for some big savings.

Image: Horia Varlan, via Flickr

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team