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Ways to save on your child's sports

Any parent with a child involved in sports knows that fees and equipment costs add up. Since you want your child to enjoy his adolescence, you are eager to help him stay active no matter what. Fortunately, that doesn't mean you have to shell out tons of money. 

Recreational versus club
Private leagues, club sports and travel teams can all be very costly. With travel costs and membership fees, it soon becomes hard to justify.Sarah Lorge Butler of CBS recently wrote that she spends up to $4,000 a year for her son's traveling sports team. While clubs may put your child with the best of the best players, recreational sports may be a better option for your family finances. Park district leagues cost significantly less money while still offering regular games and practices. Your child will get the coaching he or she needs without the high price tag. 

If, however, your child is bored with the local talent, you may want to adjust your budget to get him or her into a more competitive league. Whether you do or not comes down to your family's priorities in sports. A child who isn't very competitive or just plays for fun doesn't need to be a part of a more advanced - and more expensive - club. 

Equipment
Another monetary drain comes from the equipment your son or daughter needs to play the sport. If your child constantly decides to try a different sport, well, that adds up even faster. Because children are growing, their equipment probably doesn't last long. The best way to save is to buy used sports equipment. At dramatically reduced prices, secondhand sporting goods are a great way to cut costs. And you won't feel as bad when your son's feet no longer fit in the cleats you bought him two months ago. 

You can also reach out to friends and neighbors with older children. Chances are, their kids have played sports and still own equipment they no longer use. Ask to buy or borrow these items if they fit your child. Organize a swap with other parents in your child's league. Not only will you be able to find cheap used fitness equipment, but you'll get to know other families involved in local sports. 

Halftime snacks
Most kids' leagues have snack time that is usually provided by a parent. The roster rotates so everyone gets a chance. When it's your turn, take the time to put something together at home. Instead of buying a premade snack tray, cut up local produce. You can also bring cups and a pitcher of lemonade rather than juice boxes. 

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