Kids sports/extra curriculars and $$$

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by MommyMK, Apr 16, 2019 at 12:28 AM.

  1. MommyMK

    MommyMK Mouseketeer

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    Kids sports and extra curriculars, how much is too much? How much do you spend annually on your child's sports or other extra curricular activities.

    I have two kids - my oldest is involved in a very affordable team sport, season runs from Early Fall - late Spring, the cost for the team is under $200, everyone uses the same standard equipment that is affordable and the cost for each competition is $50 or less and in general there are only 4-5 competitions a year. She also sings in a children's choir which is more expensive, but still reasonable and again runs from September - April. And finally both kids are involved in scouts which is very inexpensive. The total for all her activities is well under $2000 a year.

    My youngest is getting older, has been doing gymnastics for a couple of years now, just a recreational class once a week. Recently she was asked to try out for the competitive team. I called to ask for more information, including information on pricing and it's high IMO. The first year is pre-team - 4 hours a week, year round, $170 a month. Expensive, but do-able, we could swing this.

    However, after that first year on pre-team, they are expected to continue onto the competitive team where the price goes up to $255 a month, the commitment goes up to 9 hours a week and then there are meet fees on top of the $255 a month to the tune of $1300 a year. Plus I assume fees for leotards and uniforms and travel to competitions. Over 4K a year.

    I hesitate to say we could not afford it, but I will say it is way more than I am willing to spend on a 10 year old. She enjoys gymnastics, but she is not a future olympian.

    And that got me to thinking - what do people spend on their kids sports? What is "reasonable" for your family? My kids have never played "typical" kid sports such as rec soccer or t-ball, let alone competitive travel teams. What do these things cost? Is 4K a year for competitive gymnastics in line or out of line for other competitive/travel level sports?
     
  2. SteveH

    SteveH Earning my Mai Tai

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    Yep that 4k sounds inline. Don't forget if you go to meets you run into food and hotel costs too. My kids didn't do sports but we ran into costs with Music, Marching Band and Drum Corps. If she gets in and doesn't really commit or enjoy it, fall back and enjoy the red side of it. IMHO we push kids to hard to be competitive and it ruins them from just enjoying playing.
     
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  4. sk8jdgca

    sk8jdgca DIS Veteran

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    My daughters last year of competitive dance ended up $10,000 for the year.
     
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  5. Neesy228

    Neesy228 DIS Veteran

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    My DS plays hockey. He’s a goaltender. We pay a lot for him to play on two teams each year - his high school team and a travel team. If you include travel costs, uniforms, equipment, it’s probably around $6,000 each season. Which is completely insane to me, but apparently pretty standard for hockey.

    My DD dances ballet. She’s in two different classes. If you include costumes, we probably pay $1,500 each school term.

    I think what is reasonable obviously varies widely from family to family. If at any point my kids weren’t loving what they were doing, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the plug. I also wouldn’t hesitate to stop if I felt like their grades were slipping or if they were just spreading themselves too thin. So, I guess my “reasonable” is more based on their well-being/happiness than the cost.

    I don’t feel like $4,000 is out of line for the competitive travel teams, but i agree that the cost can be hard to swallow.
     
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  6. Magical2017

    Magical2017 DIS Veteran

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    Right now both kids play travel soccer but not club level. The only real "travel" we do is about 45 min to one hour away. The tournaments are local. YDS plays rec baseball as well. As Nessy228 said, what is reasonable varies widely from family to family. I think the costs are reasonable. We will see how long they want to continue.
     
  7. superme80

    superme80 DIS Veteran

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    That sounds in line. My kids did a rec gymnastics class last year. It ended up costing us nearly $180 a month for the 3 of them once a week. So glad they went back to dance. Our studio is crazy affordable.
     
  8. FlightlessDuck

    FlightlessDuck Y kant Donald fly?

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    Marching band was sort-of free. You had to pay for lunch when they went to far away competitions -- but that's just feeding your child. Had to pay for shoes and gloves, which was about $40 per year. You can opt out of the yearly trip -- which can cost a good amount of money, but you can also fundraise for it. This doesn't count the amount of money you spend as a parent going to competitions.

    I think football was in the $200 range for equipment for a year. But that was for the 80lb team.

    By far the most expensive was dance and Tae Kwon Do, since both were considered classes. I don't remember what they were, but both were in the $100 - $180 range, per month. Dance was, by far, the most inconvenient. Competitions were long distances away and took all day. You had to pay for class but also for costumes. And then they still wanted you to fundraise???
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 9:03 AM
  9. Trinity88

    Trinity88 Mouseketeer

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    Doesn't sound out of line to me. I have 3 kids, 2 of them do competitive dance. I pay over $1K a month for the 2 of them, sometimes as high as $1.5K a month. It is very expensive, but I pay it because I love what it's teaching them and who they are growing up to be. There have been so many good lessons and experiences for them through dance. But I do look forward to my oldest graduating in 2 years to cut the costs a little (of course, those costs will just shift to University).
     
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  10. AgentMama

    AgentMama Mouseketeer

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    I don't think the assessment should be "will she be an Olympian, if not, the cost isn't worth it." There are so many other things children get out of extra-curricular activities. Working in a team, physical exercise, how to deal with adversity, how to handle winning and/or losing gracefully, social interaction with peers, how to push through something hard and succeed at it. For our family those things are invaluable, so if our kids show an interest in expensive hobbies/sports/extra-curricular actives, we'll pay what we can afford to give them those important life experiences. If the activities seem to not be fun anymore or the time commitment is interfering with school, we re-evaluate.
     
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  11. dish rag

    dish rag DIS Veteran

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    These extra curricular expenses have gotten out of control. I think many parents fall into the trap of not wanting their kids left out somehow and many parents do it for themselves. I somewhat fell into that trap. My brother, who had a daughter very late in life really has, they have spent a fortune on her and she’s only 14. Now that mine are grown and gone I can see the folly in it, the going over board.
     
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  12. sa cheermom

    sa cheermom Earning My Ears

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    Just curious, why is it out of control if the parent and the child is enjoying it and can afford it? I don't see it any different than an adult indulging in expensive hobbies like taking hunting trips, cars, shoes, spending a few thousand a year on season tickets, anything that brings pleasure costs money. How much money each person is willing to spend is completely up to them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 9:09 AM
  13. FlightlessDuck

    FlightlessDuck Y kant Donald fly?

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    I think it depends on the cost.
     
  14. iivye

    iivye DIS Veteran

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    We pay $200 a month for softball pitching lessons and her travel team costs around $800 a year for registration. I estimate we spend around $4,000 a year for all of it, including out of town travel, uniforms, and replacing gear. We thought she would just transition to playing in high school but the school couldn't get enough people to have a team so she's stuck with club softball. As long as she enjoys it I'll continue to pay. There are other more expensive travel teams here that play more but this about my limit.
     
  15. sa cheermom

    sa cheermom Earning My Ears

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    My children cheer cheers.

    This season we will spend:
    $415 a month x 12 = $4980
    drop fee at start of season $1000 (includes uniform, shoes, practice wear, registration fee for USASF, misc stuff)
    travel min 3 out of state comps = approx $5,000
    Worlds if bid earned - $3,000
    private lessons -$160/month = $1,920
    min $12,000 - $16,000 per year for 1st child, 2nd child gets a 25% monthly discount + travel costs go down because you share the same room.

    And cheer is not an Olympic sport....yet. (It is a provisional sport for the next summer Olympics) so we are not doing it because she may be a future Olympian. Also, cheer scholarships are not exactly the greatest, so not doing it for college scholarships. We are doing it because she loves it and because we enjoy the people and enjoy watching the sport.

    It seems very expensive but our gym has a great booster club. The organizers are wonderful and have so many fundraisers you can participate in. And all money you raise goes to your child. There are booths at every professional football, baseball, lacrosse, hockey game, every concert, anything that has booths. You do 1 a week and you almost have your monthly fee paid for. They have all the normal stuff you can sell like butter braids, wreaths, you name it. There are other community things you can do that earn money like bingo. If you are willing to put the time in, cheer can be free.
     
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  16. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

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    I have friends who’s daughter’s do competitive gymnastics. They are 16 and level 10, and have been doing this since around 4. What does you Dd want to get out of it? This late in the game, she’s not going to end up at the top, but if she loves it? Enough to go from school to the gym for several hours a day?

    We’ve spent some big money on kids activities, but for the ones they loved. Ds16 has played club soccer for years, about $4000 a year not including uniforms and tournaments. Irish dance for 2 came out to about $10,000 a year, not including travel, including overseas travel (for 11 years). Dd22 voice coach was $70 a week, plus a professional summer camp that was a few thousand.

    I never expected for these passions to really continue after HS, but my kids learned the value of hard work, time management, failure, stayed in shape, and had fun with other kids outside of their school friend crowd.
     
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  17. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

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    That doesn’t sound out of line, our dance classes were $175 a month, plus private’s and mandatory workshops (where you got the choreography), plus solo and team dresses. And mandatory fundraising.
     
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  18. Minnesota!

    Minnesota! Shoeless in Minnesota

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    I guess I don't really add it up, because, to me, my kids sports are as enjoyable to me (them) as traveling is, so I just pay for it.

    Both kids bowl from September - April. It's $5/week since they are scholarship. It would be free if they weren't (because my husband is the coach). They each get a new ball each year, typically - about $150 each.

    Older son is baseball - he plays high school ($300/year), which is 5 days a week from March - June. He also plays rec league ($200 or so) which goes from April - July (typically 3 - 4 nights/week). Each year brings about new cleats, uniforms, sometimes bats depending on regulations, etc.

    Younger son is in soccer and basketball - both of which have nominal fees to join. And uniforms have, so far, been included. Cleats/shoes and assorted gear notwithstanding.

    Both are involved in drama through school/church. One program is free, one is about $40. The paid one is 3/week for 2 months, then 2 weeks of tech. The free one is about a month long and is 2 days/week.

    We have looked into and considered the traveling leagues, but we already dedicate so much time to it...I don't want to add more. And, neither one of them have aspirations to be "the best at" it. I mean, the one kid wants to be an NFL punter - I refuse to put him in football, though, which is why he is in soccer. Maybe at 18 when I have no say, he can go join a football league ;)

    It is not about "being the best" - it is about enjoying the sport, staying fit and active, honing your skills, social skills, and having fun..
     
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  19. momto2girls

    momto2girls DIS Veteran

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    That doesn't sound out of line to me. My younger daughter dances. We spend $450 a month on the classes. She attends at least one summer intensive which usually costs about $5,000. If she attends a ballet competition, it typically costs about 2,000 (for fees, costuming, travel costs, etc.). Then, there are pointe shoes ($100 a pair and she usually goes through at least one pair a month), leotards, tights, etc.

    My other daughter rides horses competitively. We own two horses. She shows at least 20 weekends of the year. It is $$$$. It makes my other daughter's dance look like a bargain.
     
  20. Boardwalk Jedi

    Boardwalk Jedi Mouseketeer

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    I don't think it's out of the ordinary to ask if you should pay for these things just because you can afford them. With youth sports there's also just how much time gets taken away from the other kids, family time/dinner, parents' sanity, etc.

    We're a family heavily involved in sports and have drawn the line at times for all the above reasons. So the AAU basketball tournaments we attended were sparse and limited to the tri-state area, the premier soccer we held out on until 10th grade and the tourneys were select, no club sport was to interfere with school sports or other school activities, swimmer only did Y meets and not USA, volleyball child found a perfect Sunday morning only clinic. That schedule sounds insane enough for most people, but it was minimal compared to many others.

    I was recently talking to a doctor who used to spend up to $20,000 per year on his daughter's soccer. Cost wasn't a problem with him but he and his wife one day asked themselves "what are we doing?". He wasn't just talking about how much money he was spending, but how much time they could be spending doing other things, was it worth it to keep their daughter's level of play where her friends' levels were. It all lead back to the comparison of what youth sports were when we were kids and I think you'd understand that. (I've written on here before my feelings on youth sports :rolleyes1)

    Yes it's great that kids can get more technical coaching and opportunities, but it's also made youth sports more exclusive. I've pondered that and it was nice to see someone else who did too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 9:48 AM
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  21. tvguy

    tvguy Question anything the facts don't support.

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    Travel teams can be crazy expensive. My son was offered a slot in a Travel Baseball Team when he was 12. The buy-in was $7,500. One of their games was in Dallas, 1800 miles away. They ended up winning the traveling league world series, and by the end with the added travel, hotels and food, the tab came to $15,000 per kid. We passed on that.
    His High School team did go to an Easter tournament in Las Vegas, 600 miles from home. After donations it ended up costing about $300 a kid for 8 days, bus cost, hotels food and tournament fees
     

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