Raising a child can cost more than a well-meaning parent can ever imagine. Add in the expense of hobbies and sports, and you may end up with a much larger bill than you bargained for. These six sports are popular among kids, but cost much more than many of their athletic counterparts. (For a look at the other side of the coin, check out The Most Economical Sports For Kids.)

IN PICTURES: 8 Money-Saving Tips For Sports Fans

Ice Hockey

The equipment costs of this popular sport can start out hefty. The price for skates, helmets, shin guards, elbow pads, shorts, shoulder pads, and sticks are overwhelming, and growing children can require many replacements before their career ends. Add in the cost of rink time, and parents may find themselves wishing for a more affordable hobby. While some items can be purchased used, it isn't always of the best quality, and some leagues may frown upon it. The total price tag for this sport can near $1,000 or more per season.

Riding a bike as a sport has one obviously large expense: The bike. New bikes can start at around $500 and go up with the level of features and the brand that you wish to purchase. Serious cyclers can spend thousands on a bike, and cycling shoes, helmets, and clothing will run an additional hundred dollars or more. Each race will require a fee, usually $15 to $30, but the transportation to the race costs extra. This sport, which used to be considered obscure, is growing in popularity, but events can still be spaced thousands of miles apart and require much time and effort to get there. (For a related reading, check out The Surprising Salaries Of Fringe Sports Stars.)


While the type of team will vary by age level, location and desire to compete, soccer has the potential to drain a parent's wallet for years. According to mom blogger Jessica Gottlieb, even "modest soccer" has its fees. While the regular season may cost no more than $30 a month and the cost of equipment (shin guards, cleats and sunscreen), the travel season is another story.
"You can plan on about $400 a month in travel and registration fees from January to May," she says. In addition, some parents will fork out an additional amount for private coaching, at a cost of around $35 for a half hour.

IN PICTURES: Top 6 Mindless Money Wasters


Equestrianism is one of the top mentioned "expensive" sports among parents of today's competitive youth. In addition to the cost of lessons, usually $30 to $50 per hour, there is the cost of proper riding attire and the use of a horse, which can run well over $1,000. If a parent wants to provide a child with their own horse, the sky is the limit for how high the bill may rise. Horses cost from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, but their boarding, grooming, feed, medical and transportations costs are the bulk of the costs. One parent we talked to admitted to spending over $25,000 a year on their child's equestrian career!


Like many sports that have the potential to lead to Olympic accomplishments, gymnastics can start out with a simple once-a-week lesson - and turn into something with a much more frightening price tag. Professional private coaching can run into hundreds of dollars a month, and this doesn't include the cost of warm-up and performance clothing. Since each meet is likely to involve travel costs and registration fees, children in the older levels will incur more costs than those in elementary school. Many parents find that it is easy to pay $1,000 to $5,000 a year for basic expenses, not including additional skills camps and Olympic circuit training. (For more, see 5 Tips For Saving On Kids' Sports.)


With a lifespan that can start with children as young as three, and the potential to continue until college or longer, this sport has a high potential to break the extracurricular budget. In addition to the uniform, which can run $150 to $800, there are the costs associated with warm-up clothing, shoes, accessories and travel clothes. Even if your school team covers the cost of training and gym rental, there is still the expense of competition fees. These can range, depending on the level, and must be added to the cost of traveling to each event. Parents have spent thousands per year on this sport, even with the fundraising that many teams require of their members.

The Bottom Line
While many children have thrived in the environment that even the most expensive sports have provided, not all parents can realistically budget for the financial burden. Check the total bill against your own budget before committing to that first lesson. You may be able to find an alternative passion for your child to follow, one that could potentially leave a little more on the table for their college fund. (For tips on how to pay for your kids' hobbies, check out 7 Ways To Fund Your Child's Athletic Pursuits.)

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Super Savings for Your Super Bowl Party? Bet on It

    Prices for wings, avocados and TVs are all coming down, which will make your Super Bowl 50 festivities less costly.
  2. Investing News

    Are Super Bowl Ads Worth Their High Cost?

    Are Super Bowl ads worth the investment? A look at the cost and how they're received.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Top 4 Entertainment ETFs for 2016 (PEJ, XLY)

    Learn more about the entertainment sector, the companies that are included and the four ETFs that provide investors with exposure to this industry.
  4. Markets

    Top Investment Banks in the Sports Industry

    Find out why the top investment banks in the sports industry tend to be smaller niche players and are prepared to battle the Wall Street giants for business.
  5. Retirement

    How Pro Athletes Can Choose the Right Advisor

    When it comes to finances, professional athletes can be vulnerable. Here's what they need to look for in a financial advisor.
  6. Investing

    How FanDuel and DraftKings Work

    DraftKings and FanDuel lead the daily fantasy sports industry, supported primarily by advertising, entry fees, media companies and sports leagues.
  7. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Five of the Best Yacht Clubs in Seattle

    Seattle doesn’t have a year-round sailing environment, but there are lots of opportunities for boating enthusiasts, from modestly priced to high-end clubs.
  8. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Four of Miami's Best Yacht Clubs

    Choices abound in Miami for boating enthusiasts, from high-end, high-priced yachting clubs to no-frill groups that still offer races, cruises and more.
  9. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Finding the Right Yacht Club: A Quick Guide

    Hello, Commodore! Everything you ever wanted to know about these gathering sites for boat owners and renters, and how to do a shipshape search for one.
  10. Budgeting

    Six Most Popular Hobbies You Can Do For Free

    Does your budget not allow you to have expensive hobbies? Here are six great ideas for occupying your free time without spending money.
  1. Why is Manchester United (MANU) carrying so much debt?

    The takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family beginning in 2005 saddled the historic club with substantial amounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are Manchester United's (MANU) largest revenue sources?

    Manchester United is one of the most popular U.K. soccer teams. Its principal stadium is Old Trafford, located in the heart ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Does Manchester United (MANU) own Old Trafford stadium?

    Old Trafford Stadium was built for and is currently still owned by Manchester United Football Club (Man Utd.). This means ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What's the biggest sports endorsement deal ever signed?

    According to Forbes, basketball player Derrick Rose holds the largest endorsement deal as of 2014; the deal is for more than ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the biggest stadium naming rights deals of all time?

    The top three stadium naming rights deals of all time were all for stadiums hosting New York City teams. The largest was ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between a mutual fund and money market fund?

    The Herfindahl-Hirschman index can be used to determine competitive balance in sports. Competitive balance is desired in ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center