The wide-reaching economic implications of the Great Recession have spanned across a number of facets of the American lifestyle. One change that most Americans have experienced as a result of this relatively recent economic downturn appeared in our approach towards the amount of money we allocated to our wants and luxuries. A common luxury given up by many mid to low income families was the desire for their children to regularly attend sporting activities due to the mounting cost of equipment.
In fact, across the board it seems that despite the increasing desire for Americans to remain healthy, the yearly cost of sports whether it comes to equipment, training, and so forth is leading to decline in participation on the whole. This trend is especially true for the 6-17 year old age bracket, as shown below.
An interesting aside to this data is that contact-related sports experienced a slightly greater decrease in participation than non-contact sports. This appears to highlight the significance of the likelihood of injury and the costs associated with hospitalization and other medical procedures as part of the reasons for decreased participation.
The correlation between income and a family’s willingness to spend on sports for their children is pretty strong as well. The case appears to be that the more money a family makes, the greater representation they have in various sports. As tragic as it sounds, participation in sports may be becoming a
Given the nature of this change to the landscape and circumstances of having your child participate in their sport of choice, the reasonable next step would be to think about ways to budget on the potential costs of participation. Let’s explore some of the most common ways and options that parents use to mitigate these costs.
Be Thrifty: Aim to Buy Quality Used Goods
With the advent of the technological and information age, it’s easier than ever to find people who are really looking to get rid of old, used sporting gear that’s in relatively good condition but that they no longer need. The rising cost of sports gear is a dilemma for most people because while participation in sports isn’t arguably a strict necessity to a healthy lifestyle, it has a lot of communal and developmental benefits for children in school.
Striking a deal with the right person for the gear you want is probably an essential alternative to combating sky-high equipment prices that can easily run into the range of thousands of dollars based on the specific brand and sport. However, by utilizing the sorting options and online marketplace offered by services like eBay or SidelineSwap, you’ll be able to quickly pinpoint the product you want and an appropriate pricing range.
If participating in sports is something that your family are struggling to compromise on due to cost constraints, it may be beneficial to analyze how your current budgeting decisions are made.
Most of the time, people will design a budget according to a discrete list of spending objectives and rank the importance of things they need or want to spend their money. Generally speaking, needs crucial to living such as food, utility, and rent will rank very high in comparison to other things such as gifts and similar indulgences.
A useful budgeting strategy that you may employ, if you find it necessary to make some financial sacrifices to make ends meet with respect to the additional costs and fees of sport participation, is, simply, subtracting a small sum of money off all of your other optional spending choices. For instance, if you organized the list of all of your disposable spending on wants into seven categories, and needed to pay $500 dollars for sports equipment, you could budget in a way that subtracted off $72 dollars on average from each of those categories to make up for the cost.
In any case, successful budgeting depends for sports participation depends on a mixed set of considerations. You can begin by significantly reducing the cost of equipment by buying new instead of used gear. Afterwards, you can re-prioritize your spending on inessential goods and services in order to account for the remaining budgetary difference.